To celebrate Grand Final week, Bulldogs Centre is posting each AFL club's greatest team of all-time, and as we nearly hit the end of this week-long special article, we've seen the all-time teams revealed for the AFL clubs who finished the 2017 season from 18th up until the Elimination Finalists
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Today we present four teams - the sides that reached the semi finals and the preliminary finals. I'm talking about West Coast, Sydney, Greater Western Sydney and Geelong, with the Grand Final sides to be released tomorrow.
West Coast Eagles
It's been 30 years since the West Coast Eagles played their first game in the AFL, and since then, they have had their fair share of stars come and go. I've managed to name players from each decade, from the late 80s-early 90s until now and it's fair to say, this team is capable of making some noise.
Let's talk about their midfield first, which unsurprisingly, I've named Brownlow medallists Chris Judd (Norm Smith medallist, two-time All-Australian and two-time club best and fairest at his time with the Eagles) and Ben Cousins (Six-time All-Australian and four-time best and fairest), key components to West Coast's 2006 premiership success, with team mate Dean Cox – a six-time All-Australian, playing as the ruck, with another Brownlow medallist in Matt Priddis rounding out the midfielders starting in the square. Two Norm Smith medallists occupy the wings, with 250-game veteran Andrew Embley and five-time All-Australian and dual premiership player Peter Matera named in the positions. Nic Naitanui (All-Australian) will rotate with Cox in the ruck, whilst premiership players Daniel Kerr, Dean Kemp,Chris Waterman, Chris Mainwaring and Drew Banfield will provide midfield rotations, all capable of various roles around the ground.
In defence, there are a number of capable lock-down defenders, none more notorious than the key defensive partnership of Glen Jakovich (two premierships and four club best and fairests) and Darren Glass (one premiership, four All-Australians and three club best and fairests). Both of them were incredible defenders and it would've been a joy to watch these two -in their primes - work in tandem. In the back-pockets, we have another well-respected full-back in two-time premiership defenderAshley McIntosh and a former All-Australian in David Wirrpanda, a 227-game veteran who was well-loved by the West Coast community. At half-back we see respected leader John Worsfold – the current coach of Essendon on one flank, who won a best and fairest with the club and captained West Coast's 1992 and 94 premiership sides and premiership team mate Guy McKenna on the other flank, who was a two-time club best and fairest and a four-time All-Australian.
On the other end, up in the forward line, possess some of the sharpest shots at goal from Western Australia. As the focal points up forward, there was no other option than to name dual premiership player and seven-time club goal kicking champion Peter Sumich at centre-half forward, and two-time Coleman medallist and six-time club goal kicking champion in Josh Kennedy at full-forward – how amazing would it be to see these two co-exist as they combine for over 1000 career goals. And with Kennedy currently inn his prime, expect more goals to come. In the pockets, we have five-time club leading goal kicker and All-Australian Phil Matera (389 career goals) and a two-time club leading goal kicker, All-Australian and club best and fairest winner in Mark LeCras (Over 400 career goals), both men very dangerous around the big sticks, with club best and fairest winner and dual premiership player Chris Lewis and team mate Brett Heady rounding out the Eagles' forward six.
B: Ashley McIntosh, Darren Glass, David Wirrpanda
HB: John Worsfold, Glen Jakovich, Guy McKenna
C: Andrew Embley, Matt Priddis, Peter Matera
HF: Brett Heady, Peter Sumich, Chris Lewis
F: Mark LeCras, Josh Kennedy, Phillip Matera
FOL: Dean Cox, Chris Judd , Ben Cousins
INT: Dean Kemp, Nic Naitanui, Daniel Kerr, Drew Banfield, Chris Waterman, Chris Mainwaring
Sydney Swans/South Melbourne
This side will feature players from both South Melbourne – which was the original Swans team – and Sydney – which is where South Melbourne relocated to in 1982. Regardless of where this side played, the talent named is incredibly scary, but at the same time, it would be unreal to see some of the game's stars play with one another.
The Sydney forward line is a very potent and capable of such destruction. With names such as Barry Hall, Tony Lockett, Lance Franklin and Bob Pratt, the forward six may be top-heavy, but it would still provide a lot of headaches for the opposition. Lockett starts at full-forward, having kicked 462 of his 1360 goals at Sydney, as well as two Coleman medals and three All-Australians. It'll be interesting to see him working with Bob Pratt (Three-time league-leading goal kicker and Sydney's all-time leading goal kicker and Barry Hall (Seven-time club leading goal kicker and four-time All-Australian). The trio combining for 1610 career goals at their time at the Swans. Starting at centre-half forward is none other than Lance Franklin, who has been a three-time All-Australian, a two-time Coleman medallist and a four-time club leading goal kicker since arriving at Sydney. On the flanks we have former Brownlow medallist and three-time club best and fairest Gerard Healy and two-time All-Australian and premiership forward Michael O'Loughlin.
In defence, we have a perfect blend of modern-day greats and legends of the Swans. Premiership Swan Heath Grundy is a very underrated key defender and is very consistent in terms of shutting down the opposition's best forwards. He partners up with Ron Clegg at centre-half back. Clegg is a Brownlow medallist and a three-time club best and fairest. In the pockets we have two-time All-Australian defender Leo Barry, best known for his game-saving mark in the 2005 Grand Final that won the Swans their first premiership in 72 years and John Rantall, a reliable defender that possessed magnificent skills and consistently did a fantastic job stopping opposition attacks. Two-time club best and fairest and premiership captain Jarrad McVeigh and another former captain in Dennis Carroll occupy the half-back positions.
In the midfield, there is no shortage of talent, with Brownlow medallists, multiple club best and fairests and a grand mixture of legends and modern-day superstars. Bob Skilton is the most notorious Swans' player, having won three Brownlow Medals along with nine club best and fairests and three club leading goal kicking awards. He will start in the centre square along with two other Brownlow medallists in Paul Kelly (Four-time club best and fairest) and Greg Williams, with another Brownlow medallist in Barry Round named as the starting ruckman. Five-time club best and fairest and Brownlow medallist Herbie Matthews and two-time premiership Swan Jude Bolton occupy the wings. On the bench, we have two-time Brownlow medallist and three-time club best and fairest Adam Goodes – one of the best utility players of the modern era, as well as two-time club best and fairest Stephen Wright, All-Australian Daryn Cresswell, two-time club best and fairest and premiership Swan Brett Kirk, three-time club best and fairest and current captain Josh Kennedy and dual premiership player and 2012 Norm Smith medallist Ryan O'Keefe.
B: Leo Barry, Heath Grundy, John Rantall
HB: Jarrad McVeigh, Ron Clegg, Dennis Carroll
C: Jude Bolton, Greg Williams, Herbie Matthews
HF: Michael O'Loughlin, Lance Franklin, Gerard Healy
F: Barry Hall, Tony Lockett, Bob Pratt
FOL: Barry Round, Paul Kelly, Bob Skilton
INT: Adam Goodes, Josh Kennedy, Ryan O'Keefe, Brett Kirk, Stephen Wright, Darryn Cresswell
Greater Western Sydney
The Greater Western Sydney Giants have only been in the league for five years, so like the Suns, they've proven to be a very easy team to select in terms of all-time talent. They are a top-four team at the moment and it shouldn't come as any surprise to see a number of players come from the 2017 list, but given that they have also offloaded a number of talented players, imagine what could've been if some of those that have gone on to forge promising careers came back?
Melbourne midfielder Dom Tyson and Collingwood trio Taylor Adams, Adam Treloar and Will Hoskin-Elliott are all back for GWS's all-time team. Tyson, Adams and Treloar have all performed exceptionally well at their clubs and along with former number one draft pick Lachie Whitfield, will come off the bench for an elite Greater Western Sydney midfield brigade that is led by co-captain Callan Ward. The 2012 club best and fairest has been terrific since joining the Giants for their inaugural season and may very well be in the Giants' all-time team in 50 years, as could 2017 All-Australians Josh Kelly and Dylan Shiel. Stephen Coniglio and another former number one draft pick in Tom Scully round out the starting midfielders, but just imagine how potent this midfield could've become if the Giants could've swayed Adams, Treloar and Tyson to stay.
The defence is pretty much as it is right now, with the back-six marshalled by co-captain Phil Davis, alongside a two-time All-Australian and club best and fairest at the Giants in Heath Shaw. Zac Williams and Nathan Wilson are essentially successors to Shaw in the back-line as the premier running defenders with sublime skills and pace to burn and will be absolute stars for a number of years to come if they are committed to the cause. Nick Haynes at centre-half back was another easy choice as the former top-10 pick in 2011 has been an emerging presence in defence over the past 24 months. Rugged mid-sized defender Adam Kennedy rounds out the defensive six as he has been super consistent whenever he has been able to get on the park. Former Brisbane defender Joel Patfull will come off the bench despite only playing for the club for two seasons – he has done job so quietly and so consistently all throughout his career.
Up forward, the massive focal point is Jeremy Cameron, who is the club's all-time leading goal kicker, kicking 278 goals in 109 games. He is an All-Australian, a club best and fairest and a six-time club goal kicking champion. His partnership with former number one draft pick Jonathan Patton and Rory Lobb very crucial to the Giants' forward structures over the past couple of years. Former Cat Steve Johnson has been somewhat of a revelation since he crossed over from the Giants, kicking 64 goals across 40 games, whilst Toby Greene has all the makings to be a real legend of this football club. His ability to give you 20-25 disposals and kick three-four goals on any given day is a rarity in football these days and the fact he is already an All-Australian and club best and fairest winner at 24 is dangerous in the long term. Former Giant, now Pie Will Hoskin-Elliott rounds out the forward six as his pace makes him such a dangerous player around the goals, kicking 26 goals in 20 games back in 2014 when he was still a Giant
B: Nathan Wilson, Phil Davis, Adam Kennedy
HB: Zac Williams, Nick Haynes, Heath Shaw
C: Josh Kelly, Callan Ward, Tom Scully
HF: Toby Greene, Jeremy Cameron, Will Hoskin-Elliott
F: Rory Lobb, Jon Patton, Steve Johnson
FOL: Shane Mumford, Dylan Shiel , Stephen Coniglio
INT: Dom Tyson, Joel Patfull, Taylor Adams, Adam Treloar, Devon Smith, Lachie Whitfield
The Cats have such a long and proud history in the VFL/AFL, producing legends of the game in various eras since their first season in 1897, but the Cats truly became a dynasty in the late 2000s and as a result of this, ten of the 24 selected in this line up featured in at least one of the club's premierships in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Starting in the back line, you couldn't find a better full-back in the 2000s than Matthew Scarlett. A triple premiership player, six-time All-Australian and a former best and fairest winner, Scarlett always did the job with little to no fanfare. How good would it be seeing him team up with premiership captain-coach and two-time club best and fairest at centre-half back Reg Hickey? Add in Scarlett's premiership team mates Corey Enright (Six-time All-Australian and two-time best and fairest) and Darren Milburn (All-Australian and 292 game veteran) – both superbly skilled players. Dual-premiership defender and three-time club best and fairest George Todd, a defender who rarely lost a one-on-one between 1922-34, is named in the back-pocket, whilst former Brownlow medallist Bernie Smith, a two-time club best and fairest and two-time premiership defender rounds out the starting defensive six, named on a half-back flank. Ian Nankervis, a three-time club best and fairest will come off the bench as a defensive rotation.
Geelong's midfield is amongst one of the more skilled midfields of all-time. Imagine Gary Ablett Jr. (four-time All-Australian and three-time AFLPA MVP at Geelong) and Jimmy Bartel (Norm Smith medallist and dual All-Australian) – both Brownlow medallists alongside premiership team mate Joel Corey (dual club best and fairest winner and dual All-Australian), partnering up with four-time club best and fairest winner Garry Hocking and Brownlow medallist and two-time premiership player Edward 'Carji' Greeves in a starting midfield for the Cats, with premiership ruckman Graham Farmer (two-time club best and fairest) starting at ruck. And on top of that you have triple premiership midfielder, triple club best and fairest and six-time All-Australian Joel Selwood, Brownlow medallist and three-time club best and fairest Paul Couch and two-time club best and fairest Sam Newman as back-up ruckman, then this midfield is unbelievably potent.
Better still, imagine having all those guys feeding the ball to some of the most dominant forwards of the game. Imagine seeing Gary Ablett Sr. and Doug Wade playing forward together – the two have combined for over 2000 career goals, which speaks so much about how talented they were as forwards. Ablett was a nine-time goal kicking champ and a three-time Coleman medallist, whilst Wade won three of his four Coleman medals at Geelong and was their leading goal kicker a staggering 11 times. The support cast here isn't too shabby either, with Ablett's partner-in-crime Billy Brownless (two-time club leading goal-kicker) at centre-half forward, three-time premiership player and Norm Smith medallist Steve Johnson and two-time premiership player and former club best and fairest winner Bob Davis occupying the half-forward flanks and Lindsay White, a five-time club leading goal kicker and club best and fairest winner at forward pocket. Norm Smith medallist and three-time premiership player Paul Chapman and five-time club leading goal kicker and two-time premiership full-forward Tom Hawkins are the forward rotations.
B: Corey Enright, Matthew Scarlett, George Todd
HB: Darren Milburn, Reg Hickey, Bernie Smith
C: Jimmy Bartel, Edward 'Carji' Greeves, Joel Corey
HF: Steve Johnson, Billy Brownless, Bob Davis
F: Gary Ablett Sr, Doug Wade, Lindsay White
FOL: Graham Farmer, Gary Ablett Jr, Garry Hocking
INT: Tom Hawkins, Paul Chapman, John 'Sam' Newman, Joel Selwood, Paul Couch, Ian Nankervis
The Final Part Of Our All-Time Teams Comes Out Tomorrow, With The All-Time Teams For The 2017 Grand Finalists Adelaide And Richmond To Be Revealed Tomorrow!!!