The AFL Players’ Association is proud to unveil the 2017 22Under22 squad, which honours some of the game’s most exciting young talent.
Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Kelly, Matt Crouch and Zach Merrett are the in the 40-man squad that was selected by the AFLPA Board for their performances across the 2017 home and away season.
To be eligible for selection, players must be aged 22 years and under for the entirety of the season, including the finals series.
AFL Players’ Association president Matthew Pavlich said finalising the squad of young stars was a difficult task given the standard of talent on display.
“There’s quality in every position and given the impact some of these players are already having on the competition, it’s hard to believe they are still in the infancy of their careers,” he said.
“This concept gives us the opportunity to recognise the young players across the competition who are the next generation of stars. It’s also something the fans can genuinely impact, so make sure your vote counts.”
Essendon’s Zach Merrett, who was voted in for the first time in 2016 and selected as vice-captain, believes the concept is something for younger players to strive for.
“It’s a good initiative from the AFLPA to do something like this,” he said.
“I think it’s great for young players to be recognised and as it starts to grow it’s something for them to aim for as an individual accolade.”
Now in its fifth year, 22Under22 is the industry’s only recognised fan-voted award and provides the footy public with the power to select the final 22.
Fans can now visit 22under22.com.au to cast their vote, before the final team is revealed at the AFL Players’ MVP Awards on Tuesday, September 12.
Fans who submit a team that matches the final 22Under22 team will automatically go into the draw to win an AFL Players’ prize pack.
Voting closes on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.