2021 AFL Team of the year squad revealed

The weekend’s celebrations will continue into Monday for Melbourne, with seven Demons players included in a 40-man AFL team of the year squad dominated by the minor premiers.

Captain Max Gawn is gunning for his fifth blazer and leads Melbourne’s inclusions in the group, with midfield duo Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca also selected.

Important defensive trio Jake LeverSteven May and Christian Salem have also earned places in the squad, along with forward Bayley Fritsch who is among 21 players aiming for his first-ever inclusion.

Brisbane is behind Melbourne with five players named (Charlie CameronJarryd LyonsHugh McCluggageDaniel Rich and Dayne Zorko), while an improving Sydney side has four players chosen (Lance FranklinCallum MillsTom Papley and Luke Parker).

Franklin is aiming for a record ninth blazer, which could take the champion key forward beyond Gary Ablett jnr, Patrick Dangerfield, Robert Harvey and Mark Ricciuto as the only player to ever achieve the feat.

Only three clubs miss out on any representatives in the squad altogether, including reigning premier Richmond and the bottom-two teams North Melbourne and Collingwood.

It means Tigers forward Jack Riewoldt misses out, despite finishing third in the Coleman Medal, while Power veteran Travis Boak and Cats midfielder Cam Guthrie are also unlucky omissions.

Hawthorn’s prolific ball-winner Tom Mitchell is the only active Brownlow Medal winner included in the squad, with the likes of Lachie Neale, Nat Fyfe, Dustin Martin and Dangerfield making way for the new breed of talent coming through.

In fact, only seven players – Gawn, Marcus BontempelliTom HawkinsJack MacraeNic Naitanui, Petracca and Jack Steele – are hoping to make successive teams, having also been named in the final 2020 side.

Instead, more than half of the 40-man group is made up of first-time hopefuls. With 21 fresh faces selected, it could see a new record set for the most maiden inclusions in a single side. That occurred in 2012, when there were 15 players receiving their first blazers.

40-MAN SQUAD

Melbourne: Bayley Fritsch, Max Gawn, Jake Lever, Steven May, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Christian Salem

Brisbane: Charlie Cameron, Jarryd Lyons, Hugh McCluggage, Daniel Rich, Dayne Zorko

Sydney: Lance Franklin, Callum Mills, Tom Papley, Luke Parker

Carlton: Harry McKay, Sam Walsh, Jacob Weitering

Essendon: Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish, Jake Stringer

Port Adelaide: Aliir Aliir, Karl Amon, Ollie Wines

Western Bulldogs: Marcus Bontempelli, Bailey Dale, Jack Macrae

Adelaide: Rory Laird, Paul Seedsman

Fremantle: Sean Darcy, David Mundy

Geelong: Tom Hawkins, Tom Stewart

GWS: Toby Greene, Jacob Hopper

Hawthorn: Tom Mitchell

Gold Coast: Touk Miller

St Kilda: Jack Steele

West Coast: Nic Naitanui

Richmond: Nil

Collingwood: Nil

North Melbourne: Nil