All-Australian team named at AFL awards night
Toby Greene has been named captain of the All-Australian team, and Zak Butters and Marcus Bontempelli have claimed individual honours at the AFL awards night.
Greene, captain of the GWS Giants, was rewarded with All-Australian captaincy for his ability to win games off his own boot in a season which saw his Giants defy all expectations and finish 7th on the ladder. Greene kicked 60 goals and added 23 goal assists while also racking up 17.9 disposals per game.
The 22-man All-Australian team is usually the source of controversy, and many fans often disagree with the experts' decisions, but this year's team has seen an overwhelmingly positive response from fans.
At 33, Adelaide forward Taylor Walker became the oldest player to earn his first All Australian selection since the AFL era started in 1990 following his 77-goal season, while his team captain Jordan Dawson was named on the bench.
Coleman medallist Charlie Curnow was unsurprisingly the other key forward named in the team, while North Melbourne's Nick Larkey was recognized for his 71-goal season with a spot on the bench despite North winning just three games.
Port Adelaide's Connor Rozee and Melbourne's Christian Petracca were named on half forward flanks, rewarded for their brilliant seasons as mid-forward hybrids, while Brisbane's lone selection was Charlie Cameron in the forward pocket.
St Kilda allowed fewer points than any other team this season and defensive pair Jack Sinclair and Callum Wilkie's selections were representative of that.
Geelong's Tom Stewart made his fifth All-Australian team, and with 148 AFL games to his name he now holds the record for fewest games played to make the team five times.
Hawthorn and Collingwood's captains, James Sicily and Darcy Moore, were easy selections in the team while Port Adelaide's Dan Houston scored the last spot in the back line.
The selections of Errol Gulden and Josh Daicos on the wings were popular, as fans were happy to see true wingmen named in the team. Brownlow Medal fancy Nick Daicos was named in the midfield, as he and his brother were the first brothers named to an All-Australian team since Chad and Kane Cornes in 2007.
Tim English edged out Rowan Marshall for the ruck spot, his Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli and Port young star Zak Butters rounded out the starting midfield.
Caleb Serong and Zach Merrett edged out other contenders including Tom Liberatore, Harris Andrews and Dustin Martin for the final bench spots.
Bontempelli claimed two other honours on the night, he won the AFL Players' Association MVP award and his peers also voted him as the best captain.
Butters won the AFL Coaches' Association champion player award after polling 17 of a possible 20 votes in the last two games to replace the injured Nick Daicos at the top of the tally. Butters was also was named as the most courageous player.
Runner up in both the Players' and Coaches' association awards - and a good chance to have won both if not for his late season injury - Daicos won the best young player award in a landslide ahead of Essendon's Nick Martin.
North Melbourne defender Harry Sheezel predictably won the AFL Rising Star award - presented to him by Daicos, last year's winner.
Sheezel had an outstanding debut season to poll 54 votes, with Brisbane's Will Ashcroft and St Kilda's Mitch Owens rounding out the top 3.
ALL AUSTRALIAN SIDE
B: James Sicily (Haw) Callum Wilkie (StK) Tom Stewart (Geel)
HB: Jack Sinclair (StK) Darcy Moore (Coll) Dan Houston (PA)
C: Errol Gulden (Syd) Marcus Bontempelli (WB, v/capt) Josh Daicos (Coll)
HF: Connor Rozee (PA) Taylor Walker (Adel) Christian Petracca (Melb)
F: Charlie Cameron (Bris) Charlie Curnow (Carl) Toby Greene (GWS, capt)
R: Tim English (WB) Zak Butters (PA) Nick Daicos (Coll)
I: Jordan Dawson (Adel) Nick Larkey (NM) Zach Merrett (Ess) Caleb Serong (Fre)