Lance Franklin was named as the All-Australian captain … it wasn’t well received.
Lance Franklin was named as the All-Australian captain … it wasn’t well received.

‘Absurd’: All-Australian team slammed

THE AFL's All-Australian squad has been named and as is always the way, the team announcement came with plenty of uproar.

Fans ranged from disliking the format Fox Footy went with before the real vitriol was reserved for the players selected.

The announcement came with a new order of doing the entire midfield first, followed by the half forward and back lines, then moving to the final forwards and defenders before finishing with the bench.

Straight off the bat the first six selections were hard to argue with, Max Gawn landed the highly anticipated ruck spot.

Then it was Patrick Cripps, Tom Mitchell, Dustin Martin, Andrew Gaff and Steele Sidebottom rounding out the midfield group.

Things really took a turn when the bench announcements were made and Richmond's Shane Edwards was named.

On paper Edwards hasn't had a season of similar ilk to other players within the 40-man squad, but his role in the Richmond side cannot be understated.

Of course it didn't stop people from questioning the selection, or others just out and out slamming the decision all together.

Edwards' selection however was just the tip of the iceberg with fans really losing their mind over the captaincy announcement.

West Coast Eagles skipper Shannon Hurn had been widely tipped as the front runner to earn the nod, but it wasn't to be.

Instead the captaincy was handed to Sydney's livewire forward Lance Franklin, with Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield named as the vice-captain.

Franklin's selection into the All-Australian team made it number eight for him, joining a select group of the games legends in Gary Ablett Snr, Gary Ablett Jnr, Robert Harvey and Mark Ricciouto.

His selection as captain of the side was perfectly summed up by his reaction which was sheer bemusement over the announcement.

Gerard Whateley wasn't a fan of the call believing the AA captain should be awarded to the games best leader. Hurn was the only captain to make the 22-man squad.

"It changes the nature of what the captain of the All-Australian team has been," Whateley said on AFL 360.

"It has usually been who is the best captain of the competition, I think this is a ceremonial moment."

His co-host and the Herald Sun's chief football writer Mark Robinson backed up his stance.

"I don't know if I like that. This All-Australian, like every All-Australian, is for that year. The 2018 year is for this year," he said on Fox Footy.

"Shannon Hurn was named on a halfback flank. I've got no issue with Buddy being named captain, but I think the All-Australian team for that year should recognise the best captain for that year.

"Shannon Hurn is a first-time All-Australian, he's had a career-best year, his team is second on the ladder, they've had a heap of injuries, I think West Coast have done a terrific job. I think Shannon Hurn has done enough this year to earn the 2018 All-Australian captaincy.

"In the last two years, without announcing it to anyone, the All-Australian selectors have revealed that we're going to have a legacy captain every year.

"From that point, I hope Scott Pendlebury plays really, really well next year, if we're going down that path. I think Scott Pendlebury deserves to be an All-Australian captain after everything he's done. Is that wrong?"

Plenty of players were incredibly unlucky to miss out on earning a spot in the squad with Tom Hawkins, Ben Brown, Jack Macrae, Elliot Yeo and Devon Smith just a few of the big names.

Of course there was players that didn't even make the initial 40-man squad who wouldn't have been out of place in the AA side, with AFL reporter Adam Curley not happy about Stephen Coniglio missing out.

Their was a total of nine first-time selections in the 22-man squad announced on Wednesday night at Crown Casino in Melbourne.

2018 AFL ALL-AUSTRALIAN TEAM

B: Tom Stewart (Geel) Alex Rance (Rich) Rory Laird (Adel)

HB: Shannon Hurn (WC) Jeremy McGovern (WC) Lachie Whitfield (GWS)

C: Andrew Gaff (WC) Dustin Martin (Rich) Steele Sidebottom (Coll)

HF: Patrick Dangerfield (v-c, Geel) Lance Franklin (capt, Syd) Robbie Gray (PAdel)

F: Jack Gunston (Haw) Jack Riewoldt (Rich) Luke Breust (Haw)

FOLL: Max Gawn (Melb) Patrick Cripps (Carl) Tom Mitchell (Haw)

I/C: Shane Edwards (Rich) Brodie Grundy (Coll) Shaun Higgins (NM) Clayton Oliver (Melb)

- with AAP


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