A remarkable 15 players were honoured for the first time in their careers when the AFL last night named the 2012 Four’N Twenty AFL All Australian Team in Melbourne. Already much debate has gone into who was selected and who missed out and to the named positions in the team. Probably one of the most questioned selections is Nic Naitanui who although dominated many contests throughout the year, was not seen by many as the dominant ruckman of the league.
The number of first-time All Australian players was the largest in history since the then-VFL began picking a team of the year from 1982 onwards, eclipsing the 14 players named that year and the 12 debutantes named in both 1983 and 2000. Before 1982, All Australian sides were only picked after national carnivals or from that year’s State of Origin contests.
West Coast supplied a league-leading four players in the side while Collingwood and Hawthorn each supplied three selections, with a total of 11 separate clubs in the competition providing at least one player for the stand-out team of the year.
The seven players who had previously won All Australian selection during their careers – Gary Ablett, Dean Cox, Lance Franklin, Darren Glass, Stephen Milne, Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan – were all members of the 2011 Four’N Twenty AFL All-Australian Team and retained their places for this year.
Glass was named captain of the 2012 Four’N Twenty All Australian team, becoming the first player in the history of the Eagles to be All Australian captain, after Ben Cousins was vice-captain of the 2005 side. He is the first West-Australian born player to be captain of an official All Australian side since Brett Peake was captain of the 1986 side picked from that year’s State of Origin Football Contests.
Gary Ablett junior was chosen as the vice-captain, after being vice-captain also in 2010 and captain of last year’s team. Ablett has now been selected in the last six consecutive All Australian teams, the longest run of any current player and equalling the six-year runs of Stephen Kernahan between 1985-90, Robert Harvey between 1994-1999 and Nathan Buckley between 1996-2001 as the best run of selection of any player in history.
Ablett’s six selections also equalled the mark of Dean Cox, Matthew Pavlich, Chris Judd and the recently-retired Matthew Scarlett as the most of any current player, and leaves him just two short of father Gary’s amazing record of eight All Australian selections.
The Team was:
B: Sean Dempster (St Kilda) Luke McPharlin (Fremantle) Darren Glass (West Coast, captain)
HB: Beau Waters (West Coast) Ted Richards (Sydney Swans) Grant Birchall (Hawthorn)
C: Trent Cotchin (Richmond) Jobe Watson (Essendon) Dayne Beams (Collingwood)
HF: Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide Crows) Lance Franklin (Hawthorn) Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn)
F: Stephen Milne (St Kilda) Tom Hawkins (Geelong Cats) Dean Cox (West Coast)
R: Nic Naitanui (West Coast) Scott Thompson (Adelaide Crows) Gary Ablett (Gold Coast Suns, vice-captain)
IC: Brett Deledio (Richmond) Josh Kennedy (Sydney Swans) Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) Dane Swan (Collingwood)
Dempster, McPharlin, Waters, Richards, Birchall, Cotchin, Watson, Beams, Dangerfield, Rioli, Hawkins, Naitanui, Thompson, Kennedy and Deledio were the 15 players to be picked for the first time.
AFL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou congratulated the 22 players named in the All Australian side.
"Selection in the Four’N Twenty All Australian team is recognition for a tremendous year of football, as the best player in your position across the entire competition," Mr Demetriou said.
"All Australian selection is a great honour also because of the quality of those players you have competed against, to win your spot, as one of the elite players of the season," he said.
Managing Director of Patties Foods, Mr Greg Bourke, congratulated the players for achieving the pinnacle in Australian Rules football, with their form during the 2012 season.
“From an individual player perspective – selection in the Four’N Twenty All Australian team is recognition of the highest order, an achievement to be very proud of. Well done to the Final 22,” Mr Bourke said.
Also, Mr Bourke praised the selectors – for performing the onerous task of narrowing the shortlist of 40 worthy players down to the selected 22 – representing the best of the best.
The All Australian Selection panel is Andrew Demetriou (chairman), Adrian Anderson, Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Danny Frawley, Gerard Healy, Glen Jakovich and Mark Ricciuto.
The season stats for each player from the premiership season are as follows:
Sean Dempster, St Kilda. Never previously selected. 22 games in 2012. 274 kicks, 155 marks (Fourth in the AFL), 115 handballs, averaging 12.5 kicks, 7.0 marks, 5.2 handballs. Zero Goals, Two Behinds. Seven Clearances, 41 Inside 50m, 72 Rebound 50m. 43 Tackles.
Luke McPharlin, Fremantle. Never previously selected. 21 games in 2012. 230 kicks, 171 marks (First in the AFL), 119 handballs, averaging 11.0 kicks, 8.1 marks, 5.7 handballs. One Goal, Two Behinds. Two Clearances, 12 Inside 50m, 65 Rebound 50m. 28 Tackles.
Darren Glass, West Coast (captain). All Australian 2006, 2007, 2011. 20 games in 2012. 101 kicks, 100 marks, 151 handballs, averaging 5.1 kicks, 5.0 marks, 7.6 handballs. Zero Goals, Zero Behinds. Five Clearances, Six Inside 50m, 30Rebound 50m. 49 Tackles.
Beau Waters, West Coast. Never previously selected. 19 games in 2012. 276 kicks, 144 marks (Fifth in the AFL), 143 handballs, averaging 14.5 kicks, 7.6 marks, 7.5 handballs. Eight Goals, Four Behinds. Three Clearances, 52 Inside 50m, 61 Rebound 50m. 47 Tackles.
Ted Richards, Sydney Swans. Never previously selected. 22 games in 2012. 173 kicks, 115 marks, 144 handballs, averaging 7.9 kicks, 5.2 marks, 6.5 handballs. Zero Goals, Zero Behinds. Three Clearances, 23Inside 50m, 78 Rebound 50m. 45 Tackles.
Grant Birchall, Hawthorn. Never previously selected. 20 games in 2012. 281 kicks, 125 marks, 204 handballs, averaging 14.1 kicks, 6.3 marks, 10.2 handballs. One Goal, Three Behinds. 21 Clearances, 67 Inside 50m, 55 Rebound 50m. 36 Tackles.
Trent Cotchin, Richmond. Never previously selected. 22 games in 2012. 372 kicks (Fourth in the AFL), 92 marks, 234 handballs, averaging 16.9 kicks, 4.2 marks, 10.6 handballs. Eighth in the AFL in total disposals. 21 Goals, 16 Behinds. 113 Clearances, 116 Inside 50m (Fourth in the AFL), 31 Rebound 50m. 107 Tackles.
Jobe Watson, Essendon. Never previously selected. 22 games in 2012. 343 kicks (Eighth in the AFL), 106 marks, 295 handballs (Eighth in the AFL), averaging 15.6 kicks, 4.8 marks, 13.4 handballs. Sixth in the AFL in total disposals. 20 Goals, Eight Behinds. 154 Clearances (Third in the AFL), 94 Inside 50m, 42 Rebound 50m. 105 Tackles.
Dayne Beams, Collingwood. Never previously selected. 21 games in 2012. 337 kicks, 97 marks, 319 handballs (Fourth in the AFL), averaging 16.0 kicks, 4.6 marks, 15.2 handballs. Third in the AFL in total disposals. 27 Goals, 14 Behinds. 121 Clearances, 96 Inside 50m, 34 Rebound 50m. 83 Tackles.
Patrick Dangerfield, Adelaide Crows. Never previously selected. 22 games in 2012. 359 kicks (Sixth in the AFL), 93 marks, 241 handballs, averaging 16.3 kicks, 4.2 marks, 11.0 handballs. Tenth in the AFL in total disposals. 22 Goals, Eight Behinds. 147 Clearances (Fourth in the AFL), 128 Inside 50m (Second in the AFL), 43 Rebound 50m. 72 Tackles.
Lance Franklin, Hawthorn. All Australian 2008, 2010, 2011. 16 games in 2012. 214 kicks, 92 marks, 74 handballs, averaging 13.4 kicks, 5.8 marks, 4.6 handballs. 59 Goals (Fourth in the AFL), 52 Behinds. 10 Clearances, 65 Inside 50m, One Rebound 50m. 58 Tackles.
Cyril Rioli, Hawthorn. Never Previously selected. 20 games in 2012. 188 kicks, 60 marks, 119 handballs, averaging 9.4 kicks, 30 marks, 6.0 handballs. 35 Goals, 17 Behinds. 45 Clearances, 81 Inside 50m, Six Rebound 50m. 108 Tackles.
Stephen Milne, St Kilda. All Australian 2011. 22 games in 2012. 218 kicks, 81 marks, 56 handballs, averaging 9.9 kicks, 3.7 marks, 2.5 handballs. 56 Goals (Sixth in the AFL), 38 Behinds. 11 Clearances, 55 Inside 50m, Seven Rebound 50m. 47 Tackles.
Tom Hawkins, Geelong Cats. Never previously selected. 21 games in 2012. 194 kicks, 141 marks (Eighth in the AFL), 75 handballs, averaging 9.2 kicks, 6.7 marks, 3.6 handballs. 62 Goals (Second in the AFL), 36 Behinds. Nine Clearances, 44 Inside 50m, Zero Rebound 50m. 25 Tackles.
Dean Cox, West Coast. All Australian 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011. 22 games in 2012. 216 kicks, 133 marks, 136 handballs, averaging 9.8 kicks, 6.0 marks, 6.2 handballs. 558 hit outs (Fifth in the AFL), averaging 25.4 hit outs. 26 Goals, 13 Behinds. 59 Clearances, 53 Inside 50m, 25 Rebound 50m. 38 Tackles.
Nic Naitanui, West Coast. Never previously selected. 20 games in 2012. 109 kicks, 60 marks, 153 handballs, averaging 5.5 kicks, 3.0 marks, 7.7 handballs. 505 hit outs (Seventh in the AFL), averaging 25.3 hit outs. 22 Goals, 13 Behinds. 57 Clearances, 51 Inside 50m, 15 Rebound 50m. 70 Tackles.
Scott Thompson, Adelaide Crows. Never previously selected. 22 games in 2012. 363 kicks (Fifth in the AFL), 95 marks, 288 handballs (Ninth in the AFL), averaging 16.5 kicks, 4.3 marks, 13.1 handballs. Fourth in the AFL in total disposals. 10 Goals, 13 Behinds. 158 Clearances (Second in the AFL), 90 Inside 50m, 42 Rebound 50m. 102 Tackles.
Gary Ablett, Gold Coast Suns (vice-captain). All Australian 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (vice-captain), 2011 (captain). 20 games in 2012. 389 kicks (First in the AFL), 61 marks, 287 handballs (Tenth in the AFL), averaging 19.5 kicks, 3.1 marks, 14.4 handballs. Second in the AFL in total disposals. 26 Goals, 19 Behinds. 132 Clearances (Ninth in the AFL), 101 Inside 50m (Ninth in the AFL), 61 Rebound 50m. 110 Tackles.
Brett Deledio, Richmond. Never previously selected. 22 games in 2012. 339 kicks (Tenth in the AFL), 110 marks, 266 handballs, averaging 15.4 kicks, 5.0 marks, 12.1 handballs. Ninth in the AFL in total disposals. 17 Goals, 15 Behinds. 82 Clearances, 129 Inside 50m (First in the AFL), 42 Rebound 50m. 102 Tackles.
Josh Kennedy, Sydney Swans. Never previously selected. 22 games in 2012. 267 kicks, 61 marks, 350 handballs (First in the AFL), averaging 12.1 kicks, 2.8 marks, 15.9 handballs. Seventh in the AFL in total disposals. 24 Goals, Nine Behinds. 164 Clearances (First in the AFL), 85 Inside 50m, 35 Rebound 50m. 109 Tackles.
Scott Pendlebury, Collingwood. All Australian 2010, 2011. 18 games in 2012. 269 kicks, 70 marks, 261 handballs, averaging 14.9 kicks, 3.9 marks, 14.5 handballs. 10 Goals, Seven Behinds. 109 Clearances, 67 Inside 50m, 41 Rebound 50m. 93 Tackles.
Dane Swan, Collingwood. All Australian 2009, 2010, 2011. 18 games in 2012. 382 kicks (Second in the AFL), 123 marks, 260 handballs, averaging 21.2 kicks, 6.8 marks, 14.4 handballs. Fifth in the AFL in total disposals. 22 Goals, 21 Behinds. 116 Clearances, 78 Inside 50m, 40 Rebound 50m. 58 Tackles.