The 2014 AFL season has seen a new generation of superstars make their mark on the competition – to celebrate, the AFL Players’ Association is calling on all footy fans to help pick this year’s 22Under22 team.
The 22Under22 concept was launched in 2013 to recognise the AFL’s best young talent. To be eligible for selection, players must be aged 22 or younger for the entire AFL season (including finals).
The AFL Players’ Association Board, led by President Luke Ball, has picked a preliminary squad of 45 players, from which the footy public will decide the final team by voting on the AFL Players’ Facebook page.
The captain of the inaugural 22Under22 team in 2013, Essendon’s Dyson Heppell, is encouraging all supporters to get involved by making and sharing their own 22Under22 team.
“I think it’s a fantastic initiative from the Players’ Association to have a 22Under22 side,” Heppell says.
“There are a lot of fans that watch the game quite intently and there was a good spread of players from across a lot of different sides in the team last year.”
All AFL clubs are represented in this year’s 22Under22 squad, with at least one player from each team selected in the group of 45. Gold Coast have the most players represented, with eight Suns selected in the squad.
Acting AFL Players’ CEO Ian Prendergast says 22Under22 is a great way to acknowledge the performances of the competition’s next generation of superstars.
“Often, players don’t get recognised for outstanding performance until later in their careers. Of the 22 players picked in last year’s All Australian team, only four were under the age of 25,” Prendergast says.
“22Under22 is a fantastic way to celebrate the extraordinary efforts of players who come in and have a huge impact at such a young age.”
The final 22Under22 team will be announced at the 2014 AFL Players’ MVP Awards on Tuesday, September 9. Players named in the team will receive a specially designed, limited edition New Era cap.
Fans can vote now by selecting their 22Under22 team through the AFL Players Facebook page – entries close on Thursday, September 4.
Fans who submit a team that matches the final 22Under22 team will automatically go into the draw to win the ultimate 22Under22 prize pack.
The 22Under22 squad of 45 can be found below.