On the week I chose to unleash my team to the world, the Bulldogs were playing the
Saints and I remember vividly thinking to myself, “I have to put Lenny Hayes in their team,
because, well, he’s Lenny, but I’ll be damned if I’m putting Riewoldt in as well when we’re about to
play them this weekend.”
I picked Jack Gunston at centre half forward instead.
Half way through the second quarter the ball trickled out of bounds between Liam Picken, myself and Nick Riewoldt.
The words exploded out of his mouth: “And YOU! I’m right off YOU! How didn’t I make that
team…?” I was stunned, I think Picko was too. The tall blonde boy turned on his heels but
continued to mutter under his breath and the last words I heard were “Jack f—in’ Gunston!”
Pick a team. People get upset. So here goes, my updated version of favourites.
Zach Tuohy. Just shaded out his teammate Tom Stewart who, frankly, is probably a better player
who’s also having a better year, but I remain a Tuohy guy. And not just because he’s Irish and not
just because his Dad works as an Irish prison guard.
Harris Andrews. I was a bit late to the Andrews party, but having watched the Lions live a lot these past 18 months I am a convert. He’s a gun. Tough, calm and disciplined. An old school full back, with a modern twist.
Adam Saad. Like a Ferrari hugging the Great Ocean Road at high speed, Saad is exhilarating to
watch. It’s hard to take your eyes off him when he’s got the ball because he often looks like he’s
making it up as he goes. I love his daring, adventurous spirit.
Kade Simpson. I’m a Simpson guy, simple as that. Long sleeves, tick. Skinny bloke, tick. Left
footer, tick. Has endured a lot of tough days in the navy blue jumper and never drops his head.
Darcy Moore. Mixes athleticism, confidence and skill with one of the sharpest set of eyes I’ve ever
seen on a footy field. If there’s been a more attacking defender in our game, I can’t remember who.
Just to top it all off, his follow through on his drop punt has a Scanlon’s footy card quality.
Zac Williams. Williams is a wildly charismatic footballer to watch. It takes a level of bravery to take the opposition on through the middle of the ground and Zac does it often and with panache.
Lachie Whitfield. There will always be a place in my team for a player who runs hard, kicks with
both feet and endures physical punishment with little fuss.
Patrick Cripps. (Inhale…) Goddamn this guy is a good footballer. I have come to think of him as the ultimate Frankenstein of four Carlton greats. He’s got the presence and aura of ‘Sticks’ Kernahan, the size and sneer of John Nicholls, the quiet dignity and class of Bruce Doull and the outrageous genetics of ‘Kouta’.
Hugh McCluggage. Last year in Tasmania against the mighty Hawks, this young Lion, who had
played well all day, picked the ball up off his toes, broke a tackle with the shimmy of his hips and
swung the ball across his body to find a target. I’d seen enough.
Will Hoskin-Elliot. What an era for medium sized forwards?! With so many to pick from, I went for one of the less heralded options. He tore us apart as young Giant many years ago and I wondered
if he’d reach that level again. He’s doing it regularly now.
Lance Franklin. I mean, I could try and be cute, but he’s still the big dog.
Jayden Stephenson. The game is this kid’s oyster. Too smart, too fast and too good.
Eddie Betts. Pure joy.
Josh Kennedy. Could’ve played in any era and been just as good. Big, reliable and you just know
his teammates love him.
Michael Walters. Tough, dynamic and a good man to have in a crisis.
Matthew Kruezer. When he’s fit, he plays with heart and soul and changes the way the Blues play and how they feel about themselves. He gives them presence.
Mitch Robinson. Every footy team needs a loose canon.
Luke Shuey. A superstar, obviously, but it’s also nice to have a genuine rover in that position. From Tuohy to Shuey has a nice ring to it too.
But not everyone will be happy.
Former Western Bulldogs captain and Age columnist