The AFL coaches have taken a different approach to naming an All-Australian team, ditching traditional positions in favour of modern tactics.
It is the first time the coaches have named their own best lineup for the season.
The 22-man team, announced a few hours before Tuesday night’s unveiling of the official All-Australian lineup, is also based on how the coaches voted in their champion player award.
That means some notable omissions, including Hawthorn star Sam Mitchell, GWS defender Heath Shaw, Adelaide captain Taylor Walker and Crows small forward Eddie Betts.
Carlton defender Zach Tuohy, Melbourne onballer Bernie Vince and Essendon tall utility Cale Hooker are named in the coaches’ team for this season, but did not make the initial 40-player All-Australian squad.
AFL Coaches Association chief executive Mark Brayshaw said opposition analysts among their membership were asked earlier this year to come up with the ideal structure for a 2015 senior team.
“This was an important first step because we wanted our team to represent where the game has evolved, not what it looked like 100 years ago,” Brayshaw said.
“The 2015 AFLCA’s All-Australian team is an illustration of what best practice looks like this season.”
That means a new position of high half-forward, plus five inside-outside midfielders, four inside midfielders, a tall/medium marking forward, a tall/medium marking defender and two ruckmen.
There are also more traditional positions such as a small defender, two medium defenders and two key forwards.
While the players are arranged on the same lines as a traditional AFL team, the coaches’ 22 does away with backs, half-backs, wings, half-forwards and forwards.
Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury was named skipper of the coaches’ 22.
Sydney’s Jarrad McVeigh and the Western Bulldogs’ Bob Murphy are the other captains in this alternative All-Australian team, but Pendlebury polled the most votes in the champion player award.
Brayshaw concedes that not all the best-performing players this season have made the coaches’ team, using Mitchell as an obvious example.
“Mitchell came eighth in the AFLCA’s 2015 champion player Award with 69 votes, (but) he is not selected because he is the fifth-ranked inside midfielder and the team only needs four in this position,” Brayshaw said.
“On the other hand, Zach Tuohy came equal 100th in the award with 22 votes.
“Zach was selected because he’s the highest-rated small defender.”