Blimey, those Hawks can play a bit.
The trip down to Launceston is one I look forward to every year. Such a calm and pretty town.
I woke early on Sunday morning and snuck out the door, careful not to wake my new roommate, Dale Morris, and went in search of a coffee. Armed with little more than my warmest clothes, a beanie and my book, Jasper Jones, I walked the foggy downtown streets for close to an hour. There was barely another soul around.
‘as a kid I was obsessed with writing up teams, footy teams of my own creation that could beat anyone.’
It seemed there were cosy-looking pubs on every corner, and all around me tree-lined streets that snaked their way up steep hills. It’s my kind of town. If only things were as serene out on York Park.
It’s hard to imagine the Hawks not being a part of this year’s grand final. Like all great teams, they seem to move as one, whether they have the ball or are trying to get it off you. We battled hard for most of the game, but when the Hawks tightened their grip, it felt hard to breathe.
They say a champion team will always defeat a team of champions, but as a kid I was obsessed with writing up teams, footy teams of my own creation that could beat anyone.
Having just witnessed a few of my favourite players up close at the weekend, I thought it might be interesting to pen my favourite team of AFL players. When I did this as a kid, my team was full of Richmond players, but I’m an adult now so I won’t put any Bulldogs players in — not even Marcus Bontempelli — because it’s not cool to brag about your kids.
The criteria is flimsy and whimsical. They are my favourites. Today. Tomorrow, they could all be gone.
So in the spirit of a 10-year-old scrawling his backline, midfield, forwards and followers, here they are, Bob’s 22.
Jeremy Howe, Melbourne: Master of the most beautiful part of the game. Saves his best for the Dogs, so I get good seats.
Ted Richards, Sydney: Told half a story at a players’ association conference once and couldn’t remember the other half. Good player, too.
Luke Hodge, Hawthorn: Direction and voice is like a 19th man. Playing near him made me better.
Pearce Hanley, Brisbane/Zach Tuohy, Carlton: I wanted both because they’re good, and Irish. Forced to choose, I’d pick Tuohy because his dad worked in a prison.
Harry Taylor, Geelong: Told me while shaking my hand after a game that he read the column. Flattery gets you in.
Tendai Mzungu, Fremantle: File under one of those players who’s really hard to play on and doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
Nat Fyfe, Fremantle: Almost excluded because it’s so obvious. Beautifully balanced, can do it all on the field, best head of hair since Brett Kirk. In a two-team town, his life must be hell.
Lenny Hayes, St Kilda: Can you imagine a team of favourites without him?
Callan Ward, GWS: The toughest and vaguest footballer I’ve ever seen.
Luke Breust, Hawthorn: He’s the one who started the list after two senior teammates nominated him their favourite.
Matthew Pavlich, Fremantle: Class captain of my ’99 draft.
Jack Gunston, Hawthorn: Classic footballer – lean, tall, leads hard, marks well, kicks straight.
Mark LeCras, West Coast: Liam Picken and I double-teamed him one day, kept him to a couple, felt like we’d held Coleman. A gun.
Jarryd Roughead, Hawthorn: Just shaded Tex Walker, but had to be here as Lenny’s heir apparent as the game’s most popular player.
Steve Johnson, Geelong: Inspired my most popular column – about getting beaten by Stevie J.
Aaron Sandilands, Fremantle: He’s like one of the wonders of the world – you’ve just gotta go and have a look at him up close.
Tom Rockliff, Brisbane: Once told me on the ground he’d been having coffee with my wife. Ben Hudson was nearby, laughing.
Jordan Lewis, Hawthorn: The one opponent I know I’ll see every week. Might be a better bloke than Brad Sewell.
Ben Hudson, Adelaide, Brisbane, Bulldogs, Collingwood: Making this team puts him level with Dale Kickett as the game’s greatest journeyman.
Ryan Crowley, Fremantle: I’ve always wanted to have a tagger I can unleash.
Ryan O’Keefe, Sydney: Can’t get a game for the Swans but he can for me. Showed me how hard a flanker can run.
Dayne Zorko, Brisbane: Had to fill our Dayne quota. Nice alphabetical finish. Can play, too.
This article was originally published in The Age and can be accessed here.
— Brad Sewell (@bradsewell12) August 6, 2014