Coinciding with this year’s 22Under22 concept, each voting fan had the chance to win the ultimate players’ prize pack awarded to the side that best resembled the final 22.
And we’re happy to announce that one fan was able to select the final 22 of 2018’s 22Under22 side, with only one position incorrect on the field.
Che Hardwick is this year’s winner and he told AFLPlayers.com.au how he selected his team.
CHE HARDWICK — 14, STUDENT, MELBOURNE
I watch all the Thursday, Friday and Saturday games, and all up, I think I watch five games each week, so I feel pretty across the young players in the competition.
The toughest selection decision probably came down to the bench for the midfield I’d have to say. I put in Christian Petracca and Tom Phillips, because at the time Toby McLean was coming into some good form and I had a bit of a dilemma but I stuck with Petracca and Phillips.
The starting midfield — Angus Brayshaw, Clayton Oliver, Zach Merrett and Marcus Bontempelli — are all stars of the game in my eyes. A few of them had already picked up All-Australian selections so that was a no-brainer.
The ruck position was a little difficult, because they both played a similar amount of games, except I felt like with Tim English, he wasn’t the most ideal ruckman, he’d pick up 10 touches a game but he wouldn’t get that many hit-outs. With Sean Darcy though, he racked up the hit-outs.
With the interchange on the backline, I considered starting Ed Langdon ahead of Jayden Short. I guess in the forward line, there were some ones that almost stuffed me up. Alex Neal-Bullen has been pretty solid most games, and he’s been playing pretty well, that was an iffy one, but in the end I kept him out and selected Jade Gresham instead.
It was pretty easy selecting Bontempelli as captain because is a leader of his team. He leads the Western Bulldogs so well in the midfield, and in games he’s a match winner in the fact he can get four goals if he wants to, he can get 30 touches in the midfield, he’s one of the elite players in the competition.
I was kind of in the middle with my overall team selection. I thought I had the midfield pretty down pat, and I thought most people would take a similar route, except I wasn’t sure with the backline and the forward line.
I didn’t think many people would put in Conor McKenna. As a Bombers fan and watching him every week, I think he’s very good off half back with Adam Saad, so I didn’t many people would pick him but I held on to him and it paid off.