Thousands of votes have been cast from all corners of Australia to select the AFL Players’ inaugural 22Under22 team.
The team has now been finalised, with Dyson Heppell from the Essendon Football Club named the 2013 22Under22 captain and Jack Ziebell from North Melbourne the vice-captain.
Both players were present at the 2013 Be The Influence AFL Players’ MVP Awards to collect their 22under22 New Era hats from the captain of the retrospective 2012 22Under22 team, Patrick Dangerfield.
Footy fans were asked to help select a team showcasing the competition’s best young players by voting via social media. To be eligible for selection, players had to be aged 22 or younger for the entire AFL season, including finals.
Gold Coast had the most representatives, with five players selected in the final 22.
Rory Thompson and Trent McKenzie were selected in the back line, while Dion Prestia (named on the bench) and Rising Star winner Jaegar O’Meara were picked as midfielders. Tom Nicholls – who played eight games for the Suns this season – was chose ahead of Mark Blicavs to do the ruck work.
O’Meara, McKenzie, Prestia, Nicholls & Thompson have all been named in the @AFLPlayers inaugural 22under22 team!
— GC SUNS (@GoldCoastSUNS) September 10, 2013
Richmond, Fremantle, Essendon and North Melbourne each had two players picked in the final team.
Young Tigers Dustin Martin and Brandon Ellis were selected in the forward line and back line respectively. Fremantle’s Nathan Fyfe was picked in the midfield, while Walters was nominated as a forward and has been named on the bench.
Bombers Jake Carlisle and Dyson Heppell were picked in the backline and midfield respectively, while Kangaroos Aaron Mullett and Jack Ziebell were both selected on the interchange bench – Mullett as a defender and Ziebell as a midfielder.
— Essendon FC (@EssendonFC) September 11, 2013
Adelaide’s Daniel Talia and Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom were rewarded for consistent seasons with spots in the defensive six.
Bulldog Tom Liberatore was considered unlucky not to be selected in the All Australian squad but was recognised in the 22Under22 team with a midfield spot, alongside tough Swan Dan Hannebery.
West Coast’s Jack Darling and Greater Western Sydney’s Jeremy Cameron have been selected to hold down key position posts in the forward line, with Geelong’s Steven Motlop, Hawthorn’s Luke Breust and Port Adelaide’s Chad Wingard to play alongside them.
Those unlucky to miss out on selection included Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston, Geelong’s Mitch Duncan and Brisbane’s Jack Redden.
Brisbane was one of four teams without a representative in the 2013 22Under22 team – the others being Melbourne, St Kilda and Carlton.
The 22 players selected in the final 22Under22 team were recognised at the 2013 Be the Influence AFL Players’ MVP Awards on Tuesday night and were awarded a limited edition 22under22 New Era cap, presented in a perspex box, produced by former North Melbourne player Daniel Pratt.