Fans Partnerships

22under22 for 2017 revealed

Marcus Bontempelli has become the first player in history to be selected four times in the 22Under22 team.

The Western Bulldogs star will skipper the 2017 fan-voted side that recognises the best 22 players aged 22 or under, with Bomber Zach Merrett his vice-captain for the second year running.

Adelaide’s Jake Lever and Port Adelaide’s Ollie Wines joined the likes of Chad Wingard and Brandon Ellis by earning their third 22Under22 cap.

The Swans and Bombers have the most representatives in this year’s side, with three players from each club voted in by the fans, while Adelaide, Melbourne, Hawthorn, Brisbane and Gold Coast received multiple players in the 2017 team.

Essendon’s Andrew McGrath capped off a brilliant debut season by gaining selection in the back pocket, being the sole first-year player chosen in the line-up.

The 2016 No. 1 pick said that he was honoured to be viewed as one of the game’s best youngsters.

“To be selected is a massive honour for me because there’s so many great players included,” McGrath said.

“Being in a side with the likes of Zach Merrett and Josh Kelly is pretty amazing.”

After the release of the 40-man squad, more than 6,000 team entries were created by fans across the country

Hawthorn’s Ryan Burton enjoyed a stellar second season at AFL level, finishing third in Rising Star voting and being selected on the half-back line.

The classy defender marvelled at the 2017 team.

“There’s some outstanding players there this year, and to think that a few of them are still under 22 is incredible,” Burton said.

This year’s 22Under22 side features 13 first-timers and three All-Australians (Josh Kelly, Zach Merrett and Matt Crouch).

2017 is 22Under22’s fifth year since its inception and is the only recognised AFL award voted by the fans.

The initial squad of 40 players was selected by the AFL Players’ Association’s Board, with the final 22 decided entirely by the fans. The likes of Nat Fyfe, Dan hannebery, Dyson Heppell and Dustin Martin have been 22Under22 representatives and continued on to dominate the competition in recent years.