As they prepare for their first Qualifying Final in two decades, the good vibes continue for the Demons, with three of their youngsters selected in the 2021 AFL Players’ Association 22Under22 team, presented by Snaffle.
Kysaiah Pickett, Luke Jackson and Trent Rivers feature in the final 22Under22, the equal-most of any AFL club, alongside the Gold Coast Suns.
The initial 40-person squad, which was selected by the AFLPA with support from Champion Data, was narrowed to the best 22 players aged 22 and under, as voted by footy fans.
Of the final 22 selected from the 40-person squad, Sam Walsh and Aaron Naughton were selected for the third time, while Jordan Ridley, Adam Cerra, Andrew Brayshaw, Jack Lukosius, Bailey Smith, Ben King, Max King, and Jaidyn Stephenson feature for the second time.
Smith was selected in a whopping 97 per cent of fans’ teams, while Naughton was picked in 91 per cent of teams and Brayshaw in 90 per cent.
Walsh, who was named as the side’s captain, with Brayshaw his deputy, said he was humbled by the experience.
“It’s an honour to be selected alongside so many great young players in the 22Under22 team – they’ve all had such a significant impact on the competition so early in their careers,” he said.
“Thank you to the fans who voted and I’m proud to be selected as the team’s captain among so many other worthy leaders.”
To be eligible for selection, players had to be aged 22 or younger for the entire AFL season, including finals, and played a minimum of 12 games throughout the 2021 season.
The fan who selected the team that best matched the final team won a 22Under22 jumper signed by the side’s captain and vice-captain, while 22 fans who entered their sides also won a Snaffle prize.