Sydney superstar Lance Franklin has capped his eighth selection in the AFL All Australian side by being named captain of the 2018 team.
Franklin’s selection meant the forward joined an illustrious group to be named in eight All Australian teams, alongside Robert Harvey, Mark Ricciuto and Gary Ablett jnr.
After a season that produced 57 goals, Franklin was rewarded with a spot at centre half-forward, making it his eighth selection in 11 years and his first time as skipper.
“It’s unexpected,” Franklin said.
“I’m obviously very proud to be captain of this amazing team. There’s such great players in this team, I’m stoked.
“I’m proud, I really am. It’s been a lot of hard work, not only by myself but with my teammates, to be the player I am today.
“I’ve come a long way, not only with my football but with the person I am today. I’m really proud.”
Asked what he would say to his All Australian teammates before a game, Franklin joked: “Just kick it to me.”
Geelong spearhead Patrick Dangerfield, included in the All Australian side for the sixth time in his career, was selected as its vice-captain.
Last year’s All Australian skipper, Alex Rance, was one of four Richmond players to be included in the team, which also featured Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt and Shane Edwards.
The Tigers had eight players included in the squad of 40, with Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert, Josh Caddy and Dylan Grimes missing out on the final team.
Max Gawn overcame Brodie Grundy for the hotly debated position as the starting All Australian ruckman, though both were included in the side – with Grundy named on the bench.
Grundy was one of 10 maiden All Australians selected in the team, with his Collingwood teammate Steele Sidebottom also named for the first time in his career.
West Coast captain Shannon Hurn, Geelong’s Tom Stewart and Greater Western Sydney’s Lachie Whitfield made up a new-look back six, all awarded their first All Australian blazers.
Rance was named for his fifth straight season at full-back, with Jeremy McGovern and Rory Laird completing the backline.
Carlton star Patrick Cripps was joined by Hawthorn ball-magnet Tom Mitchell and Martin in the middle of the field, with Sidebottom and West Coast’s Andrew Gaff on the wings.
Hawthorn’s Jack Gunston overcame Tom Hawkins and Ben Brown to be named in the forward pocket for his first inclusion, with regulars Dangerfield and Robbie Gray on the flanks.
Riewoldt was named at full-forward following a campaign where he won the Coleman Medal with 65 goals, while Luke Breust was selected in the other forward pocket.
Story – AFL.com.au