With the announcement of the 2023 All Australian team, I’m putting myself out there again as I attempt another AFL Victorian country footy version.
As with previous iterations of this team the process of putting it together is relatively simple.
Any player who is named in either the All Australian side or squad and started at an AFL Vic aligned league or club before being drafted is an automatic in, then the rest of the positions are filled with other former Vic country players who have had an outstanding 2023 season. As with each previous year, those additional selections are made by using 2023 season stats from afl.com.au to justify their position in the side.
Where possible I have kept the players in the same position as they were named in the 2023 All Australian team, but some minor tweaks have been required. This year’s team has also been selected to mirror the AFL team in terms of positions and also trying to select a team in positions were they played a majority of the season in.
Now every year there are alway some controversial selections, namely to do with the players origins and whether they are Victorian or not. So just to be clear to qualify, a player needs to originally be drafted from:
- a Victorian country football club
- a New South Wales or South Australian club that plays in a AFL Victoria affiliated country league.
For reference, AFL Victoria affiliated leagues that include NSW based clubs are:
- Central Murray FNL
- Golden Rivers FNL
- Murray FNL
- Ovens & Murray FNL
- Sunraysia FNL
- Upper Murray FNL
AFL Victoria affiliated leagues that include SA based clubs are:
- Western Border FNL
One of the biggest selection issues was in this space as there was no standout for a second key defender to partner Jacob Weitering (Mt Eliza FNC) so at CHB Jake Lever (Romsey FNC), who rated was rated in the Top 20 for key defenders for the season got the nod. There were plenty of options to support the key backs with a group of players such as Bailey Dale (Edithvale-Aspendale FNC), Lachie Ash, (Shepparton FNC) and Jake Lloyd (Horsham FNC) unlucky to miss out. Nic Newman (Mornington FNC) is the extra defender on the interchange.
There were so many options in this part of the ground, but with a focus on selecting players in position, two dedicated wingmen made it in. Mason Wood (Geelong Amateur FNC) and Hugh McCluggage (South Warrnambool FNC) filled these two spots. The rest of the midfield has talent to burn so I’ve added additional midfielders onto the interchange bench instead of just sticking them into other spots on the ground. Josh Dunkley (Sale FNC), Sam Docherty (Phillip Island FNC) and Luke Parker (Langwarrin FNC) were stiff to miss out.
I’ve tried to match the All Australian side format with 2 key forwards, and one extra on the bench. Having the All Australian full forward in Charlie Curnow (Torquay FNC) helps this side immensely and would make an awesome pairing with Jeremy Cameron (Dartmoor FNC). The on ground forward 6 has a total of 264 goals for the season, only 50 less than the total of the All Australian forward group. Ollie Henry (St Mary’s FNC) and Dan Butler (Lake Wendouree FNC) are the ones who just missed out of selection in this part of the ground.
Ken HInkley (Camperdown FNC) gets the gig as his Port Adelaide FC finished higher on the ladder than John Longmire’s (Corowa Rutherglen FNC) Sydney Swans and Andrew McQualter’s (Traralgon FNC) Richmond.
So there you have it, my picks for this year's AFL Vic Country All Australian team. I’m sure there is plenty of room for debate in who I’ve picked, where they are selected and who missed out, but that’s the fun part of this whole process.
AFL Clubs Represented
Ballarat FNL - 2
Brisbane - 1