Every year the AFL’s All-Australian squad is just as notable for who wasn’t selected as who did make the cut and this season is no different.
The league released its initial squad of 40 on Monday and Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin, Geelong midfielder Mitch Duncan and Melbourne power onballer Clayton Oliver are among the players who can consider themselves unlucky.
Cotchin has been a key factor in the Tigers’ ascent to the top four, while Duncan has taken his game to a new level this year.
Oliver played all 22 games for the Demons, averaging 30 possessions a match, in his second AFL season.
“From our perspective, he’s been a terrific addition to our team (and) taken a huge leap for a young player,” Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones said of Oliver on Monday.
“He inspires some of our other guys to show the level of commitment and development that’s possible when you really set your mind to it.
“It’s a credit to him, with how hard he’s worked off field, the by-product is the performance we see consistently on the field.
“He’s probably pretty stiff to miss out, I would have thought, but I’m tipping he won’t be too far away in the near future.”
Minor premiers Adelaide have a league-high eight players in the extended 40-man squad.
The large Crows’ contingent includes mercurial forward Eddie Betts – one of a dozen members of the 2016 All-Australian team who remain in contention to go back-to-back in 2017 – skipper Taylor Walker and midfield stars Rory Sloane and Matt Crouch.
Sydney spearhead Lance Franklin is in line for a seventh All-Australian gong, while Geelong captain Joel Selwood could receive the honour for the sixth time.
Richmond defender Alex Rance is in contention to be named an All-Australian for a fourth straight year.
The only clubs without any representatives in the 40-man squad are Fremantle and Gold Coast.
Second-placed Geelong and third-placed Richmond had only two nominees apiece.
The All-Australian selection panel is made up of Gillon McLachlan (chairman), Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Andrew Dillon, Danny Frawley, Glen Jakovich, Chris Johnson, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson and Warren Tredrea.
2017 ALL-AUSTRALIAN SQUAD:
Eddie Betts, Matt Crouch, Sam Jacobs, Rory Laird, Jake Lever, Tom Lynch, Rory Sloane, Taylor Walker (Adelaide), Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions), Sam Docherty, Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton), Jeremy Howe, Adam Treloar (Collingwood), Joe Daniher, Michael Hurley, Zach Merrett (Essendon), Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood (Geelong), Toby Greene, Josh Kelly, Tom Scully, Dylan Shiel (GWS), Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn), Jeff Garlett, Michael Hibberd, Neville Jetta (Melbourne), Ben Brown (North Melbourne), Robbie Gray, Tom Jonas, Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide), Dustin Martin, Alex Rance (Richmond), Dylan Roberton, Sebastian Ross (St Kilda), Lance Franklin, Josh Kennedy (Sydney), Josh Kennedy, Jeremy McGovern, Elliot Yeo (West Coast), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs).