Walker misses AFL All-Australian team

Adelaide captain Taylor Walker is the most notable omission from this year’s new-look AFL All-Australian team.

Half the team of 22 players are first-time selections.

Western Bulldogs skipper Bob Murphy is captain of the team, while Hawthorn midfielder Sam Mitchell and Adelaide star Patrick Dangerfield boast the most selections in this year’s lineup with three apiece.

West Coast’s Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy, one of the 11 first timers, is the All-Australian vice-captain.

The widespread prediction was that Walker would be named centre half-forward this year, but instead the selectors went for Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt.

Former Richmond key forward Matthew Richardson, one of nine selectors, said it was a tough call.

“If you have a look at their seasons, they were both very, very similar,” Richardson said at Tuesday night’s All-Australian function in Melbourne.

“They both spent a lot of time outside 50m.

“One thing in the end that we looked at with Jack is that he was the No.1 score assist player for a key forward in the competition.

“‘Tex’ (Walker) had an outstanding year as well.”

It is understood the two biggest debates at the last selection meeting were whether to pick Walker or Riewoldt and whether to name a second ruckman.

The selectors named North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein, one of the first-time picks, as the sole ruckman.

Murphy, who made his second All-Australian team, has enjoyed an outstanding debut year as Bulldogs captain.

The Bulldogs were one of the stories of the season, rocketing up the ladder and making an elimination final.

The All-Australian team is missing regulars such as Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett and Collingwood pair Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan.

Fremantle’s Brownlow Medal favourite Nat Fyfe, Richmond key defender Alex Rance and Port Adelaide forward Robbie Gray are the only players from last year’s 22 to make this selection.

The first-time picks in defence are Josh Gibson (Hawthorn), Heath Shaw (GWS), Easton Wood (Bulldogs) and Michael Hurley (Essendon).

West Coast’s reigning Brownlow Medallist Matt Priddis and teammate Andrew Gaff earned their first All-Australian selections in the midfield, along with Goldstein.

Livewire Adelaide goalsneak Eddie Betts, Kennedy and Jake Stringer (Bulldogs) are the new All-Australian forwards.

Fremantle onballer David Mundy is the other newcomer and he was named on the interchange bench.

Apart from Walker’s omission, the team was largely as expected.

Sydney onballer Josh Kennedy, West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui and Adelaide defender Rory Laird are the other most unlucky exclusions among the original squad of 40.

Two-time defending premiers Hawthorn (Gibson, Mitchell and Cyril Rioli), the Bulldogs (Murphy, Wood and Stringer), West Coast (Priddis, Gaff and Kennedy) and Richmond (Riewoldt, Dustin Martin and Brett Deledio) shared the most selections with three apiece.

2015 ALL-AUSTRALIAN TEAM

B: J Gibson (Haw) A Rance (Rich) H Shaw (GWS)

HB: E Wood (WB) M Hurley (Ess) R Murphy (WB, capt)

C: D Hannebery (Syd) M Priddis (WC) A Gaff (WC)

HF: C Wingard (PA) J Riewoldt (Rich) C Rioli (Haw)

F: E Betts (Adel) J Kennedy (WC) J Stringer (WB)

R: T Goldstein (NM) N Fyfe (Fre) P Dangerfield (Adel)

I: S Mitchell (Haw) B Deledio (Rich) D Mundy (Fre) R Gray (PA)

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