Sport AFL AFL: Alex Rance named captain as All-Australian team named

AFL: Alex Rance named captain as All-Australian team named

All-Australian 2017 team
Rance was among eight players who were also named in last year's team. Photo: AAP
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Star Richmond full-back Alex Rance is the surprise captain of the All-Australian 2017 team, his fourth-straight selection.

West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy was named vice-captain of the season’s top 22 players.

Rance was named captain ahead of Geelong skipper Joel Selwood, who won selection on the interchange bench.

The Tigers defender is one of their club vice-captains.

“I’m a bit embarrassed to be totally honest,” the popular backman said.

Referring to fellow stars such as Selwood, Rance added: “It’s pretty amazing to be named [captain] ahead of those guys”.

GWS forward Toby Greene, midfield team-mate Tom Scully and Collingwood defender Jeremy Howe are members of the 40-man squad who are particularly unlucky not to make the final 22.

The team was announced on Wednesday night at a dinner in Melbourne.

The team featured 12 first-time selections, the fourth-most. The 2012 team had a record 15 first-time picks.

Rance was among eight players who were also named in last year’s team.

Ryder edges out Jacobs, Kreuzer

Coleman Medallist Lance Franklin was named at centre half-forward and he has the most selections in this year’s team with seven.

There had been plenty of debate about who would be named the number one ruckman.

Port Adelaide’s Paddy Ryder secured that spot ahead of Adelaide’s Sam Jacobs and Carlton big man Matthew Kreuzer.

Ryder, Essendon defender Michael Hurley and Melbourne back-pocket Michael Hibberd were named after returning from last year’s suspensions.

They were among 34 current and former Essendon players who served bans as a result of the club’s supplements debacle.

All-Australian team
Dustin Martin is a near-unbackable favourite for the Brownlow this year. Photo: AAP

Much of the focus as guests arrived at the function was on Rance’s team-mate Dustin Martin, who was named centre in the team.

Martin is on the verge of announcing whether he will stay at the Tigers or accept a monster offer from North Melbourne.

He is a short-priced Brownlow Medal favourite and is enjoying the best form of his career.

Martin looms as one of the key players in the finals, with his form only improving despite the intense focus on the media-shy star’s playing future.

While Martin is a certain pick, the ruckman would have been a difficult choice for the All-Australian selectors.

Adelaide, Essendon and West Coast had the most selections with three apiece.

All-Australian team 2017

Backs: Michael Hibberd (Melb), Alex Rance (Rich) C, Jeremy McGovern (WCE)

Half-backs: Rory Laird (Adel), Michael Hurley (Ess), Sam Docherty (Carl)

Centres: Josh Kelly (GWS), Dustin Martin (Rich), Zach Merrett (Ess)

Half-fowards: Robbie Gray (Port), Lance Franklin (Syd), Dayne Zorko (Bris)

Fowards: Joe Daniher (Ess), Josh Kennedy (WCE) VC, Eddie Betts (Adel)

Followers: Paddy Ryder (Port), Patrick Dangerfield (Geel), Tom Mitchell (Haw)

Interchange: Elliott Yeo (WCE), Matt Crouch (Adel) Joel Selwood (Geel), Dylan Shiel (GWS)