Monday night saw the 2012 All-Australian team announced and it featured a number of debutants plus a few big name exclusions. Here is the new look team and a look at some of the controversial choices/exclusions.
Sean Dempster made his first AA team after averaging 17 disposals and seven marks in 2012. He was joined another debutant, Luke McPharlin from Fremantle, and West Coast full-back Darren Glass. At nearly 31 years of age, McPharlin led the league in marks and was vital in Fremantle’s resurgent year. Glass makes his fourth AA appearance after fantastic year in defence.
A totally new half-backline this year with all three choices earning their first selection onto the AA team. The honours go to Beau Waters from West Coast, Ted Richards from Sydney and Grant Birchall from Hawthorn.
Trent Cotchin has made huge improvements in each on his five seasons in the league and in 2012 he propelled himself into the conversation as one the top players in the game this year. Jobe Watson was top 10 in kicks, handballs and clearances and remarkably makes his first AA team. Rounding out the centre is breakout superstar Dayne Beams who was third in total disposals and fourth in handballs. All three are first-year selections.
Patrick Dangerfield was rewarded for his breakout year with his first nomination while two Hawks, Buddy Franklin and Cyril Rioli join him.
St Kilda small forward Stephen Milne makes his second consecutive AA team and is joined by breakout big Tom Hawkins and West Coast ruckman Dean Cox.
Nic Naitanui made his first AA team and chosen alongside him was Gary Ablett and Scott Thompson.
Four quality midfielders round out the interchange: Brett Deledio, Josh Kennedy, Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury. None had elite Brownlow worthy years, but each played some fantastic footy.
Matthew Pavlich was the big exclusion. The Fremantle forward led Fremantle to arguably their most successful season in club history and although quiet at first, completed a massive season in front of goals. Dean Cox being selected into the forward line was controversial while teammate Nic Nat was also an iffy pick, as was Cyril Rioli’s selection, especially considering his very slow start to the year.
Coleman Medallist Jack Riewoldt also wasn’t a forward line selection, but that decision is more slightly more defendable. Riewoldt didn’t make the greatest of contributions, despite his goal kicking, to what was a disappointing 2012 for the Richmond Football Club.
Joel Selwood was exclusion worth noting. Sam Mitchell wasn’t great early on this year and Eddie Betts wasn’t as consistent as others. Selwood averaged 29 and a half disposals per contest and was top 10 clearances and inside 50s for a Geelong team that blooded 10 rookies and still made the eight in a tough year for the club.
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