22under22 is here

22under22 is here

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One of the things that makes AFL football so great is the abundance of young talent on show each and every week. They thrill and shock. They are the cream on top of the best teams. They are the only hope of the worst. They are the future.

Consider the jaw-dropping joy one feels watching Jeremy Cameron fly for the ball, hit the ground running and then finish from beyond the 50-metre arc. How did he do that? He’s built like a baby giraffe, but he crashes a pack like a boar, he’s as fast as a cheater but as cunning as a fox. Put simply, he’s dangerous.

Or the shake your head moment prompted by Dan Hannebery’s gut running bursts of endurance. The kid in the number 4 bloods guernsey will often start with the ball in the back pocket, touch it three more times en-route to the other end of the ground and finish with a goal. He’s too stuffed to celebrate – hands straight onto the back of his head, blue Powerade stained tongue hanging out of his mouth, lactic acid pumping through his body – what possesses him to work so hard?

And what about Jaeger? Or the kid formerly known as Jaeger O’Meara? You know you’ve made it when people can identify you with a single name. Has there ever been a first year player who has looked so assured? He can do it all… and without a hair out of place.

These three provide just a snapshot of the quality enclosed within the AFL Players’ Association 22under22 squad. Forty players nominated by the AFL Players’ Board for consideration by the fans who will decide the 2013 22under22 team.

22under22 serves to celebrate the young guns, fresh on the scene and hot, but not yet the hottest; the average age of the 2012 All-Australian team was 27-years of age. 22under22 will act as a form guide for who the next elite is.

When Hannebery took ‘that’ goal and kicked ‘that’ goal in the last quarter of the 2012 Grand Final, people were shocked by his competence on the big stage. It seemed some had forgotten his brilliance in the two years since winning the 2010 Rising Star Award.

It recognizes the progress these young guns make in-between earning a rising star nomination and stepping into contention for All-Australian or the Brownlow Medal.

It recognizes the progress these young guns make in-between earning a rising star nomination and stepping into contention for All-Australian or the Brownlow Medal.

What about Tom Liberatore this year? He is the best clearance player in the competition, in his third season he should be All-Australian, but if he isn’t and it’s a competitive field, he deserves recognition nonetheless.

The 40-man squad is made up of 12 forwards, 12 defenders, 14 midfielders and 2 rucks; players must be picked in position. You won’t find a ruckman selected in the forward pocket or an inside midfielder on the half forward flank.

The best bit is, fans have the ultimate say who is selected in the final 22. Via Facebook and Twitter fans have the opportunity to submit their team, and in position.

The 2013 22under22 team will be announced at the 2013 Be the Influence AFL Players’ MVP Awards on Tuesday September 10. In keeping with the fresh contents of this concept, the winners will be presented with a 22under22 New Era hat in a Perspex box.

On the night Patrick Dangerfield, the captain of the 2012 retrospective team, will present a hat to the incoming captain – a process that will continue perpetually.

Remember, it’s you who makes the ultimate decision. It’s your game and its your team – make your vote count!

2013 22under22 squad

Defenders (choose 7)
1. Rory Thompson
2. Daniel Talia
3. Jake Carlisle
4. Steele Sidebottom
5. Paul Seedsman
6. Jordan Roughead
7. Trent McKenzie
8. Aaron Mullett
9. Dylan Roberton
10. Mitch Golby
11. Clancee Pearce
12. Brandon Ellis

Forwards (choose 7)
1. Allen Christensen
2. Jack Darling
3. Dustin Martin
4. Steven Motlop
5. Luke Breust
6. Jeremy Cameron
7. Jack Gunston
8. Aaron Black
9. Michael Walters
10. Jamie Elliott
11. Luke Dahlhaus
12. Chad Wingard

Midfielders (choose 7)
1. Dan Hannebery
2. Jaeger O’Meara
3. Nathan Fyfe
4. Luke Parker
5. Ollie Wines
6. Dion Prestia
7. Ben Cunnington
8. Tom Liberatore
9. Jack Ziebell
10. Jack Redden
11. Adam Treloar
12. Mitch Duncan
13. Tom Mitchell
14. Dyson Heppell

Ruck (choose 1)
1. Mark Blicavs
2. Tom Nicholls

What do you think?

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