Many AFL players grew up playing footy in the winter and cricket in the summer, and the 11 names chosen in the AFL Players’ XI could certainly have pursued a career in cricket.
AFL Players’ First XI in batting order
1. Marc Murphy (Left hand batsman and medium pace bowler)
Murphy represented Australia at Under-17 level and played in Premier cricket with Melbourne University at just 16.
2. Shannon Hurn (Right hand batsman)
Hurn gave up a rookie contract with South Australia to play AFL football. His ability with willow in hand is in line with his ability to thump a football. They are still talking about some of the sixes he hit during the 2004 Under-17 state carnival.
3. Luke Ball (Right hand batsman)
Ball captained the Xavier College First XI to a premiership in 2000/2001. He is second on the all time run scorers list in the 114-year history of Associated Public School (APS) cricket, with 1436 runs, including a whopping six APS centuries.
4. Bradd Dalziell
The now former Eagle has played first grade Cricket in WA and made a century during the 2005-2006 season.
5. George Horlin-Smith (Right hand batsman and off-spin bowler)
Horlin-Smith captained an Australian Under-16 team to the Caribbean in 2008.
6. Nick O’Brien (Right hand batsman/keeper)
O’Brien also went to the Caribbean with Horlin-Smith as a part of an Australian Under-16 team and represented Victoria at Under-17 level.
7. Stephen Coniglio (All-rounder)
There was still a mystery over which sport Coniglio would choose until late in his final year of Under 18 football. He represented WA at Under-17 level and there was talk he might be offered a senior contract before eventually being selected with the first pick in the National AFL Draft.
8. James Gwilt (All-rounder)
A mature-age recruit into the AFL, Gwilt played First XI Premier cricket for South Melbourne.
9. Nick Smith (Leg-spin bowler)
Smith is one of only four APS cricketers to take 100 wickets, remarkably he made his debut in the Scotch College First XI as a Year 8 student.
10. Brett Deledio (Medium-fast bowler)
As a 16-year-old Deledio was famously offered a two-year Cricket Victoria contract by the late David Hookes. The fast bowler was a standout for Victoria at Under-17 level and sub-fielded for the senior side on the MCG during a first class game.
11. Jake Carlisle (Fast bowler)
Carlisle took a year away from football to concentrate on his cricket as a 17-year-old and scared plenty at the Under 18 State Championships during that Summer.
12th Man. Jonathan Brown (Fast bowler)
With a Merv Hughes inspired action, Brown almost knocked Ricky Ponting’s head off with a bouncer on The Footy Show one night. Who better to carry the drinks?