TAC Cup AA Discussion Listen to the discussion on the team with Peter Williams and Jourdan Canil on SYN FM’s ”The Sports Desk’.
Rising Stars writer Jourdan Canil, who wrote his phantom draft earlier in the year, has devised a team of the best TAC Cup players for 2013. Much like the All-Australian team there are always some surprise inclusions and shock omissions. This is how he saw the TAC Cup this season in the form of a best 22 and overall squad of 40.
1. Must have played at least eight games to be eligible
2. Consistency was rewarded
3. Squad must be even. Two ruckmen, 11 forwards, 11 backmen and 16 midfielders
Aaron Heppell (GP)
Isaiah Miller (BP)
Zak Jones (DS)
Darcy Gardiner (GF)
Fraser Fort (GF)
Guy Dickson (OC)
Hugh Beasley (OC)
Louis Herbert (NB)
Jake Lever (CC)
Dan McStay (ER)
Karl Amon (SD)
Jack Leslie (GP)
Agape Patolo (DS)
Josh Scott (GP)
Jarman Impey (MB)
Clayton McCartney (DS)
Billy Hogan (OC)
James Toohey (OC)
Dallas Willsmore (NB)
Jake Owen (CC)
Mitchell Norton (WJ)
Christian Petracca (ER)
James Sicily (WJ)
Jay Kennedy-Harris (OC)
Nathaniel Paredes (GP)
Alex Carr (GP)
Sam Heavyside (BP)
Jacob Chisari (BP)
Michael Gibbons (MB)
Josh Turner (NK)
Matthew Haynes (NK)
Billy Hartung (DS)
Alex Hickey (GF)
Darcy Lang (GF)
James Tsitas (GF)
Lewis Taylor (GF)
Lachlan Cassidy (NB)
Matthew Merlo (CC)
Ben Cavarra (ER)
Jake Greiser (WJ)
B: Zac Jones (DS) – Darcy Gardiner (GF) – Jake Lever (CC)
HB: Isaiah Miller (BP) – Fraser Fort (GF) – Louis Herbert (NB)
C: Ben Cavarra (ER) – Jacob Chisari (BP) – Sam Heavyside (BP)
HF: James Sicily (WJ) – James Toohey (OC) – Jay Kennedy-Harris (OC)
F: Billy Hartung (DS) – Josh Scott (GP) – Christian Petracca (ER)
R: Jack Leslie (GP) – Lewis Taylor (GF) – Matt Merlo (CC)
INT: James Tsitas (GF) – Lachlan Cassidy (NB) – Josh Turner (NK) – Guy Dickson (OC)
Interestingly, the only team that doesn’t have a representative in the team of the year is Sandringham. Karl Amon barely met the eligibility criteria and scraped into the squad of 40 but guys like Josh Kelly, Christian Salem and Nathan Freeman all played too few games.
Northern Knights only had two players selected in the squad. Neither Ben Lennon nor Marcus Bontempelli played enough games to make it into the squad. Josh Turner and Matthew Haynes have had consistent years. They are both smokies to go late in the draft.
Eastern Ranges also had quite a few guys miss out. Tom Boyd and Mitch Honeychurch haven’t played enough games. Dan McStay was stiff to not make the team and Ben Cavarra might have been lucky to get a spot on the wing. Christian Petracca is one of only two 17-year-olds to make it into the team of the year, alongside Calder’s Jake Lever.
Finally, Bendigo can say they haven’t been overlooked. Jacob Chisari has played 15 games and been named in the bests 13 times, while Sam Heavyside has played nine games and has been named in the bests every time. Isaiah Miller, their most promising prospect was named on the half back flank.
North Ballarat Rebels also had a solid showing for a wooden spoon side. Matt Crouch was ineligible, but Louis Herbert and Lachlan Cassidy were named in the 22. Dallas Willsmore was named in the squad.
The Falcons were a little luckier than Sandringham. A lot of their top end players just scraped into eligibility. Nick Bourke hasn’t had enough impact through the year to be named, but midfielders Lewis Taylor, James Tsitas, Darcy Lang and Alex Hickey have all made the squad, with the first two making the team. Fraser Fort and Darcy Gardiner, the two best key defenders (although Fort is more than capable up forward) have made the team as well.
Dandenong had a few players who were very close to selection, both in the 22 and the squad. Nathan Gardiner was close to making the squad. Clay McCartney is too inconsistent to make the 22 but he’s certainly played well enough to make the 40. Agape Patolo has been underwhelming after injury problems early in the year but still one of the better ruckmen. Billy Hartung just made the games requirement, but is certainly worthy of a spot. Zak Jones has been consistent and played better than his statistics suggest.
Calder was the hardest team to select from. They have plenty of ‘solid’ players who have got them through the year, but the lack of polish and x-factor made it hard. Jake Owen has been ultra consistent. Matt Merlo hasn’t been talked about enough. Half the games he’s played in, he’s been in Calder’s top two players. Jake Lever thoroughly deserves his spot, despite the amount of competition for key defensive posts.
Murray has struggled for representatives. Despite sitting in eighth, only Michael Gibbons and Jarman Impey have stood out. Gibbons is a bit stiff to miss out on making the team. Impey has been up and down in form, but he’s one of the classiest players in this draft class. Having said that, he hasn’t had enough games where he’s torn the opposition to shreds to get a gig.
The Western Jets have had a host of guys who have performed very solidly all year. James Sicily and Jake Greiser have been the best of those. Mitchell Norton also made it into the squad marginally over the Ranges’ Andreas Roth as a full-time small forward, but his lack of time in the midfield stopped him from getting into the 22.
Oakleigh has had quite the range of representatives in the squad. Jack Billings and Will Maginness haven’t played enough games to make the cut. Darcy Gardiner got the nod over Hugh Beasley for the main lock down defensive spot, and Jake Lever just edged out Guy Dickson for the third defender role. Jay Kennedy-Harris has been phenomenal this year, which earns him a spot next to versatile big man James Toohey. Billy Hogan just missed out on a spot in the forward pocket.
The Power are a team with a lot of strong bodied, consistent players, but there weren’t many guys who screamed out “pick me”. Jack Leslie got the number one ruck spot. Aaron Heppell just missed out on a spot in the team but was one of the first picked in the squad. Alex Carr and Nathan Paredes have both had excellent years, but neither made the team. Josh Scott, the league’s leading goal kicker, was the obvious choice for full forward considering his year.