2013 saw the birth of a new AFL Players’ Association concept – #22under22. #22under22 is a purely fan-voted team comprised of the best 22 players in the AFL aged 22 and under.
The AFL Players’ Association Board compiled a list of 40 players and invited fans to decide the final composition of the team by nominating their team, selected in-position, on social media.
After fans, players and media had their say the 2013 #22under22 team was announced at the Be The Influence MVP Awards. Essendon’s Dyson Heppell and Kangaroo Jack Ziebell were named captain and vice-captain respectively.
“I would love to have the chance to play alongside some of the guys who I have admired from afar, such as Jeremy Cameron and Chad Wingard” – Dyson Heppell
I was rapt to be selected as part of the inaugural #22under22 team and to be the captain. It’s a very strong team and I would love to have the chance to play alongside some of the guys who I have admired from afar, such as Jeremy Cameron and Chad Wingard.
Selection in #22under22 is a great reward for how well these guys have performed at such a young age in a hugely competitive industry. There is no doubt there’s a massive gap between the TAC Cup, other junior competitions around the country and the AFL, but every year there are young players who make this transition look easy.
We don’t play the game to win individual honors, and there are many on offer nowadays, but what separates #22under22 is that the fans select it. To be recognised by them, the people you go out every week and play before, is a great feeling.
The selection process via social media and the New Era hats we were presented with meant the concept really resonated with the young guys.
Ultimately the 2013 #22under22 team shows that the future is bright for AFL fans.
This article was originally published in the 2013 AFL Players’ Year In Review, which can be accessed here.
Who will be this year’s #22under22 captain? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below!