General footy writing: My All-Australian team so far

By Josh Barnstable

With one-third of the AFL season gone, there have been many surprises. Some players have exceeded expectations while others have been disappointing. If the All-Australian team was to be picked today, this would be my team:

Back: Sam Fisher (StK) Zac Dawson (StK) Josh Drummond (B).
Half-back: Brendon Goddard (StK) Chad Cornes (PA) Farren Ray (StK).
Centre: Ryan Griffen (WB) Sam Mitchell (H) Leigh Montagna (StK)
Half-forward: Shaun Higgins (WB) Nick Riewoldt (StK)  Paul Chapman (G).
Forward: Eddie Betts (Carl) Jarryd Roughead (H) Mark LeCras (WC)
Ruck: Hamish McIntosh (NM) Nick Dal Santo (StK) Gary Ablett (G)
Int: Chris Judd (Carl) Aaron Davey (M) Daniel Motlop (PA) Paul Haselby (F).

Team by team
Adelaide 0
North Melbourne-1
Port Adelaide-2
St Kilda-7
West Coast-1
Western Bulldogs-2


Sam Fisher:
Fisher has been outstanding in the backline for the Saints. One of the main reasons the Saints’ highest score against this year has been 76 points, scored by the Western Bulldogs in Round 6. He has played every game so far, averaging 21.5 disposals with a best of 28 touches against Port Adelaide in Round 5. He also starred against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium in Round 2, picking up 26 possessions and taking 10 marks.

Zac Dawson:
Dawson has been one of the surprises of the year, and certainty a feel-good story. Picked up by the Saints after his unsuccessful stint with Hawthorn, Dawson has made the full-back position his own, averaging 10.3 disposals in the 6 games that have been played. He has also averaged 4.3 marks and a score of 57.2 in the Supercoach competition. Max Hudghton will have his work cut out for him to regain full-back at the Saints.

Josh Drummond:
Drummond has been excellent in the backline for Brisbane, averaging 20 disposals and 5.8 marks a game. His best games for the season have been against the Blues in Round 2 where he gathered 30 disposals and took 6 marks and also against the Sydney Swans a week later where he picked up 25 touches, 11 marks and kicked a goal. His Supercoach average is 113.7 points.


Brendon Goddard:
Goddard would be my pick for the Brownlow Medal if it were to be held right now. He has averaged a huge 26 disposals and takes 5.8 marks a game. He also averages 13 kicks and 13 handballs a game, good for a running defender. He has averaged 3.5 tackles a game and has kicked 8.1 so far, which is very good for a defender. His average Supercoach score is 124.8 points. Goddard has had a string of brilliant games; his best was against the West Coast Eagles. He collected 28 disposals, 11 marks and kicked 4 goals in the 97-point win. Other great performances have been against the Western Bulldogs where he picked up 33 disposals, 9 marks and laid 6 tackles, against the Fremantle Dockers he collected 29 possessions and against the Swans he had 26 touches. He has finally lived up to his expectations.

Chad Cornes:
Cornes is back to his best form, collecting 25.5 disposals a game and taking 9.7 marks a game. Cornes’ best game so far this season was in the Showdown against the Adelaide Crows where he collected 27 disposals, took 12 marks and booted 2 goals in Port Adelaide’s win. He had a season-high 31 possessions against the Hawks in Round 4 and also took 14 marks, a career-high. He is averaging 108 points in the Dream Team competition.

Farren Ray:
Ray was always a good footballer, he just didn’t get the opportunities at the Western Bulldogs. He has thrived at the Saints, averaging 24.3 touches a game while grabbing 7 marks a game. He has saved his best game for the match against the old team, the Doggies. He picked up 31 disposals and took 11 marks to make 124 points in Supercoach. His average in Supercoach is 102.8.


Ryan Griffen:
Griffen is having a super year, averaging 22.2 possessions a game. He is getting the ball inside 50 4.5 times a match and has kicked 7.3 this season. His best game was against the Fremantle Dockers in Round 1 where he collected 23 disposals, 6 marks and kicked a career-high 3 goals. He backed up that performance with 28 possessions and a goal in the wet against North Melbourne. Expect a climb in form.

Sam Mitchell:
The Hawthorn skipper is having a ripper year, averaging 28.8 touches a game and 4.2 marks. He has had 95 handballs and 78 kicks. His best game was on ANZAC Day in Round 5 against West Coast during a twilight game at Aurora Stadium. He picked up 40 possessions, 8 marks and 4 tackles in Hawthorn’s 18 point win. He also collected 37 touches against North Melbourne in Round 3 along with 4 marks and kicked a goal. A valuable skipper.

Leigh Montagna:
Montagna is having a career-best season, averaging 23.8 disposals a game and 5.7 marks. He is direct player, preferring to kick it long rather than handballing. It shows, with Montagna kicking the ball 16 times a match and handballing 7.8 times. He has a small problem with his accuracy though, he has kicked 3.5. His best game was against West Coast in Round 3 where he collected 31 possessions, took 8 marks, laid 8 tackles and kicked a goal. A week later he picked up 30 touches, took 6 marks, laid 6 tackles and kicked a goal. He is averaging 119 points in Supercoach.


Shaun Higgins:
Higgins is back to his best form so far in 2009, collecting 22.5 disposals on average and kicking 1.7 goals a game. He has booted 10.7 this year, with a best of 4 goals against the West Coast Eagles in Round 4, despite a 33 point loss. He boots the ball inside 50 3.7 times a game and takes 5.2 marks. His best games have been against the Blues in Round 5 where he picked up 27 disposals, took 6 marks and kicked a goal, against the Eagles he had 20 touches, took 6 marks, laid 4 tackles and kicked 4 goals. He collected 29 possessions in the Round 1 win against Fremantle, a career-high for him. He also took 7 marks and kicked 2 goals. He has averaged a tick under 100 Supercoach points.

Nick Riewoldt:
The star skipper is in rare form, collecting 18 disposals a game, taking 8.3 marks and kicking 2.7 goals. He has kicked a total of 16.12 so far this season, with a best of 5 against Fremantle in Round 4. His worst performance in front of the sticks came in Round 6 when he kicked 4.5 against the Doggies. His best game was against Port Adelaide in Round 5 where he picked up 23 disposals, took 10 marks, laid 4 tackles and kicked 4 goals in St Kilda’s crushing 66 point win. Riewoldt almost beat his career-high of 27 disposals which he got against West Coast in 2004. He picked up 26 touches, again against West Coast in Round 3. He also took 9 marks and kicked a goal in that game. He is averaging 110.2 points in Supercoach.

Paul Chapman:
Chapman has been outstanding this year, with Gary Ablett the only other real standout at Geelong so far this year. Chapman has averaged a huge 30.3 disposals a game, ranked 2nd in the AFL. He takes 7.2 marks a game and kicks 1.5 goals a game. Chappy’s best game was against Collingwood in Round 3. He collected 35 disposals, took 7 marks and booted 4 goals, perhaps the best game of his career. He almost rivalled that a few weeks later against Melbourne in Round 6, where he picked up 41 possessions, took 12 marks and kicked a goal. 41 touches is a career-high for Chapman. He is getting 115.5 points a game in Supercoach.


Eddie Betts:
Betts has finally come to the party, living up to his lofty expectations. He started the season with a bang, collecting 15 disposals, taking 4 marks, laying 4 tackles and kicked 5 goals in the crushing 83 point win against Richmond. A string of steady performances after that have seen him ranked 4th in the goalkicking in the whole league with 18 goals, and has kicked just 7 behinds. He has averaged 3 goals a game. He ranks 1st in goals contributed with 27. He averages 88.3 Supercoach points.

Jarryd Roughead:
In my opinion, Roughead has overtaken Lance Franklin in the forward line. While Buddy usually gets the tough match-up in the forward line, Roughead is left with the 2nd or 3rd best defender and has delivered the expected performances. He averages 13.3 disposals and takes 4.7 marks a game but to the more important stuff, he has kicked 24 goals to lead the goalkicking for the league. He has also kicked just 7 behinds, a vast improvement on last year’s accuracy from the big ranga. He has averaged 4 goals a game and has contributed 26 goals so far, ranked 3rd in the competition. He is getting 89 Supercoach points a game. His best game goalkicking wise have been against Carlton in Round 6 where he bagged 9 goals and had 20 disposals. Against North Melbourne in Round 3 he had 14 disposals, took 7 marks, had 8 hit-outs and kicked 5 goals playing from the Ruck. Against West Coast in Round 5 he kicked 4 goals.

Mark LeCras:
LeCras has been the surprise of the year so far, averaging 8.8 disposals and has kicked 16 goals with an average of 2.7 a game. His 16 goals rank 9th in the competition. He started the season well, picking up 14 disposals, taking 7 marks and kicking 6 goals against the Brisbane Lions. He has taken 3 marks a game so far in 2009. His Supercoach average is 73.5 points.


Hamish McIntosh:
McIntosh is back to some of his rarest form, collecting an average of 17.3 disposals a game and taking 5.7 marks a game. His season started brilliantly, picking up 21 disposals, taking 9 marks, getting 21 hit-outs and kicking 3 goals against Melbourne. Two weeks later he had 21 disposals, took 7 marks and had 30 hit-outs against Hawthorn. Against Collingwood in Round 6, he had 20 possessions, took 5 marks, 28 hit-outs and kicked 2 goals. He has a total of 143 hit-outs which is ranked 5th in the AFL and averages 23.8 hit-outs a game, also ranked 5th. He has kicked 7.2 this year.

Nick Dal Santo:
Nicky Dal is in fine form, collecting 27.5 disposals a game in a star-studded St. Kilda midfield. He is also laying 3.5 tackles and kicking the ball inside 50 4.7 times per game. He is marking 4.5 times a game and has kicked 6.2 so far this season. His best game was against Adelaide in Round 2 where he collected 35 possessions and took 6 marks in the strong win, 35 touches setting a career-high for him. He then followed it up over the next two weeks with a combined total of 62 disposals, 14 marks and 3 goals against West Coast and Fremantle. He is getting 125 points a game in Supercoach.

Gary Ablett:
Ablett jnr. has been in stunning form. It’s a shame that he will miss up to 3 weeks with an adductor strain. He has 214 disposals, ranked 1st in the AFL, an average of 35.7 touches a game, ranked 1st, 137 handballs, ranked 1st and has averaged the most handballs a game (22.8) in the league. He takes 4.5 marks a game, lays 4 tackles a game and 4 inside 50’s. He started the season with a brilliant game against Hawthorn. He collected 35 possessions, took 4 marks, laid 5 tackles and kicked a goal in the 8 point win. A week later he picked up 29 disposals and kicked a goal against Richmond. 37 disposals against Collingwood in Round 3, along with 7 marks, 5 tackles and a goal. This was just a warm-up for Ablett though, a week later he amazed the footy world with a stunning 46 possession display against Adelaide, including 33 handballs which is a league record. He also took 7 marks and kicked 3 goals. A week later against Brisbane he picked up 42 disposals, took 3 marks, laid  6 tackles and kicked 2 goals, one of them a contender for goal of the year. He is averaging a massive 148 points in Supercoach.


Chris Judd:
The Carlton skipper has been on fire this year, averaging 28 disposals and 6 inside 50’s a game, ranked 3rd in the AFL. He is 2nd for total inside 50’s with 36. He has kicked 4.1 so far this year. His best game of the year has been against Essendon in Round 3 where he picked up 33 disposals, took 4 marks and laid 4 tackles. In the season opener he collected 23 disposals, laid 6 tackles and kicked 2 goals in the huge win over Richmond. Against the Lions a week later he picked up 25 possessions, took 3 marks, kicked a goal and laid 10 tackles. More recently, the Brownlow Medallist has picked up 30 and 34 disposals against Sydney and Hawthorn respectively. His average Supercoach score is 115.8.

Aaron Davey:
Davey has been a shining light for the Demons, averaging 25.7 touches a game while taking 3 marks and laying 4 tackles. He is ranked 1st in the AFL for kicks (114) and 1st for kicks per game (19), he kicks the ball inside 50 2.3 times a match for a season total of 14. One area he can improve on is his goalkicking. He would be a lot more damaging if he could kick 2 or 3 goals consistently, he has just 2.1 for the season. His best game so far has been against Collingwood where he had 31 disposals (career-high) and laid 5 tackles. A week later against Port Adelaide he picked up 30 possessions and marked the ball 5 times. 25 disposals against Richmond in Round 4 to go with 4 tackles, 6 marks and kicked a goal. Recently he had 30 touches against Geelong. His Supercoach average score is 119.8 points.

Daniel Motlop:
Motlop has been freakish so far this season, collecting an average of 16.5 disposals a game, taking 4.3 marks and kicking 2.5 goals and 2.5 behinds. He is pumping the ball inside 50 4.5 times a game. His goalkicking could be a bit better, with 15.15 for the season, although most of his shots are from the boundary and from outside the 50. He started the season with 20 disposals, 8 marks and 4 goals against Essendon and more recently, he had 20 disposals, took 8 marks, laid 4 tackles and kicked 3 goals against Adelaide in the Showdown. His Supercoach average is 85.5 points.

Paul Haselby:
Haselby has been outstanding in his return year from a knee reconstruction, averaging 23.2 disposals a game and taking 5.3 marks. He is tackling the opposition 2.3 times a game, for a total of 14 tackles. He has accumulated 139 possessions so far this year. He is ranked 13th in the AFL for handballs (84, 14 per game) and has kicked 2.3. He picked up 28 possessions, 7 marks and a goal against Adelaide in Round 3 and a few weeks later, he won another Ross Glendinning medal after grabbing 35 disposals and taking 7 marks against West Coast in the Derby.


  1. Phil Hill says

    Being a Brisbane fan I would have to say that Patful has been the standout player down back so far. Drummond is a lovely user of the ball so may fit a “team balance” but Patful gets the big jobs

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