On the eve of the finals, the AFL announced the twenty-two members of its 2021 All-Australian Team at the AFL Awards.
The AFL announced its 2021 All-Australian Team at Thursday night’s AFL Awards.
The 40-man squad unveiled on Monday was cut back to 22, with five of those players coming from the Melbourne Demons.
All five were picked in the starting squad — the most from any individual club since Collingwood in 2011.
In recognition of his stellar season, Demons star Max Gawn was named All-Australian captain, with Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli his vice-captain.
Gawn became the first Demon to captain the All-Australian side since Ron Barassi was named captain at the 1961 Carnival.
Eleven players — Aliir Aliir, Jake Lever, Steven May, Daniel Rich, Bailey Dale, Sam Walsh, Ollie Wines, Harry McKay, Tom Papley, Touk Miller and Darcy Parish — were named All-Australian players for the first time in their careers.
Christian Petracca, Tom Hawkins, Jack Macrae, Max Gawn, Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Steele and Nic Naitanui all retained their spots from last year.
Touk Miller became just the third Gold Coast Suns player in the club’s short history to make the All-Australian team and the first since Tom Lynch in 2016.
After no Tigers were picked in the 40-man squad, 2021’s team officially became the first since 2013 not to feature any Richmond players.
Twelve of the eighteen clubs were represented in the side, with Adelaide, Fremantle, North Melbourne, Hawthorn and Collingwood all also absent.
Lance Franklin will have to wait another year if he wants to break the record for the most All-Australian appearances in the post-carnival era.
Franklin had the chance to make it nine career appearances in the team, but was overlooked for selection in favour of Geelong forward Tom Hawkins and Carlton’s Harry McKay.
Elsewhere, Melbourne Demons star Luke Jackson was named the 2021 NAB AFL Rising Star. Mitch Georgiades of Port Adelaide and Tom Green of the Greater Western Sydney Giants came in second and third, respectively.
“It’s a massive honour and I am very humbled to win the NAB Rising Star award. I am really excited about what the team can achieve in the Finals series and can’t wait to get out on the field and make our supporters proud,” Jackson said.
“I couldn’t have had the season I have without the support of Simon Goodwin, the entire coaching group and all my teammates who have helped to not only develop me as a person but also as a player.
“My family have also played a massive role throughout the and I would like to thank them for all their support and guidance they have given me.”
Carlton key forward Harry McKay was confirmed as the Coleman Medallist for 2021, having kicked a league-high 58 goals this season.
Fremantle’s Caleb Serong and Noah Anderson of the Gold Coast Suns were joint winners of the AFL Coaches Association’s Best Young Player award.
Melbourne Demons star Clayton Oliver was named the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year.
The 2021 All-Australian team is:
B: Jake Lever (MEL), Steven May (MEL), Tom Stewart (GEE)
HB: Daniel Rich (BL), Aliir Aliir (PA), Bailey Dale (WB)
C: Zach Merrett (ESS), Ollie Wines (PA), Sam Walsh (CAR)
HF: Christian Petracca (MEL), Tom Hawkins (GEE), Marcus Bontempelli (WB)
FF: Tom Papley (SYD), Harry McKay (CAR), Toby Greene (GWS)
FOLL: Max Gawn (MEL), Jack Macrae (WB), Clayton Oliver (MEL)
IC: Jack Steele (STK), Nic Naitanui (WCE), Touk Miller (GCS) Darcy Parish (ESS)