Home World Sports Heat goes on AFL All-Australian selectors

Heat goes on AFL All-Australian selectors

All-Australian selectors have come under fire for their decision to overlook genuine small forwards and wingmen in favour of gun midfielders in the AFL team of the year.

Superstar trio Patrick Dangerfield, Marcus Bontempelli and Dustin Martin were all picked as forwards by a selection panel chaired by AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, despite spending the majority of their time through the midfield.

Their selection in the front six meant goal sneaks Dan Butler and Tom Papley, who both ranked in the top-10 for goals kicked this season, missed out.

Prolific midfielders Jack Macrae and Cameron Guthrie were named on the wings ahead of initial 40-man squad members Hugh McCluggage and Sam Menegola.

“It’s a bloody hard team to pick and even fitting 50 blokes into 40 is a hard job,” Macrae said on Friday.

“I’m just glad to be in the 22 and I don’t feel too envious of the selectors each year trying to fit everyone in.

“I’m not too sure (how much time I spent on the wing this season), you’d have to ask Champion Data.

“Society is always quick to look at the people that miss out and I always just try to enjoy making the team and leave all the commentary to other people.”

Champion Data statistics show Macrae spent just four per cent of game time on a wing during the home-and-away season.

Guthrie was a little higher at 17 per cent.

Brownlow Medal favourite Lachie Neale, who was named in his regular position as a rover, said selectors had a tough role to play but was disappointed Brisbane teammate McCluggage missed out.

“They do a reasonable job and some of those guys picked forward spend a fair bit of time up forward,” Neale said.

“I don’t focus on that too much, but I would’ve loved to see Hughy McCluggage in there.

“I think he’s been great the last two years, but I’m biased.

“Guys like Papley and Dan Butler were probably a bit stiff, but it’s a hard team to pick and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

“Even Menegola would’ve been close but I don’t hold a grudge against the selectors.”

The McLachlan-chaired All-Australian selection panel includes AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking and fellow past players Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Glen Jakovich, Chris Johnson, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson and Warren Tredrea.

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