Consistent with Brisbane’s meteoric rise up the AFL ladder, a pride of Lions cubs have earned selection in the AFL Players’ Association’s 22Under22 squad, which honours the game’s most exciting young talent.
Hugh McCluggage, Harris Andrews, Alex Witherden, Jarrod Berry and Eric Hipwood join big names Clayton Oliver, Josh Dunkley, Andy McGrath, and Jade Gresham in the 40-man squad selected by the AFLPA Board, with the support of Champion Data.
Carlton also has five representatives, with Zac Fisher, Harry McKay, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Jacob Weitering and Sam Walsh recognised for their consistency across the 2019 home and away season.
Eight players in this year’s squad have previously been selected in the final 22, with Andrews, McGrath, Oliver, Hipwood and Callum Mills looking to be selected in the final side for the third time.
To be eligible for selection, players must be aged 22 years or under for the entirety of the season, including the finals series.
AFL Players’ Association president, Patrick Dangerfield, said the concept is great recognition for a young player’s influence and consistency during the early stages of their career.
“This 22Under22 squad features the future stars of the game, who are already having a sizeable impact on the competition,” Dangerfield said.
“Having crossed paths with a lot of these guys on the field over the last few years, I can see that the future of our game is in great hands and these guys are only going to get better.”
GWS Giants midfielder Jacob Hopper, who was nominated in 2018, said it was great to be acknowledged among the other talented youngsters.
“It’s a nice little accolade and great to get some recognition for your work,” Hopper said.
“It’s such good company being surrounded by other talented young players and mates who you’ve entered the AFL system with. Seeing them playing good footy adds to it.”
Now in its seventh 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 Thursday, August 29.
Fans who submit a team that matches the final 22Under22 team will automatically go into the draw to win a limited edition 22Under22 jumper signed by the captain and vice-captain.
Voting closes on Tuesday, August 21, 2019.