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Behind the scenes: picking the 22Under22 squad

Is he a lock? Who do you leave in? Who do you take out?

Each season, All-Australian selectors ask each other these questions hundreds of times before reaching a conclusion – often, one that’s highly criticised. In recent years, the AFL Players’ Association Board has faced a similar challenge, selecting the initial 22Under22 squad from which fans decide the final team.

“A lot of the guys in this squad are fast becoming their team’s most important player” – Chris Dawes

Melbourne spearhead Chris Dawes told that selecting the best young players in the competition was no easy task, given the quality of talent on show throughout 2015.

“A lot of the guys in this squad are fast becoming their team’s most important player.”

The 22Under22 concept was launched in 2013 as a means of recognising the game’s young stars, many of which fly under the radar in their first few seasons.

“It takes time to find your feet at AFL level, so it’s really astounding what these guys have been able to do – not just to get games but come in and perform well in games,” Dawes said, before highlighting the efforts of one of his young teammates.

“I don’t know if it’s bias or if he’s just the best player going round, but Jesse Hogan’s one that springs to mind. He’s a young teammate of mine who makes my life a lot easier on the weekends, because he generally attracts the best defender.”

Fans can cast their votes by picking a 22Under22 team via the AFL Players’ Facebook page. Voting opens next week.