Shepparton News

Oliver, Wines are All Australian buddies

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Sydney’s Lance Franklin could become the first AFL star to win a ninth All Australian blazer after being named in the 40-man squad alongside seven players from minor premier Melbourne.

Reigning premier Richmond is one of three clubs without a nominee this year, along with bottom sides North Melbourne and Collingwoo­d.

The final 22-man team will be named tomorrow.

Franklin is one of six players who did not play in the carnival era to earn All-Australian honours in eight separate AFL/VFL seasons.

Gary Ablett Sr, Gary Ablett Jr, Patrick Dangerfiel­d, Robert Harvey and Mark Ricciuto are the others.

Geelong midfielder Dangerfiel­d has missed out this year for just the second time in a decade.

Franklin has kicked 48 goals in 17 games this season to spearhead Sydney’s rise into the top-eight and will be key to its chances of toppling GWS in Saturday’s eliminatio­n final.

The 34-year-old is also closing in on becoming the sixth man to reach the 1000-goal milestone, needing another eight majors to achieve the feat.

Unsurprisi­ngly, Melbourne stars Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca were picked in the All Australian squad, which was released on Monday night, with ruckman Gawn a chance to claim his fifth blazer.

Fellow Demons Jake Lever, Steven May, Christian Salem and Bayley Fritsch are also in the squad.

Brisbane had five players selected — Charlie Cameron, Jarryd Lyons, Hugh McCluggage, Daniel Rich and Dayne Zorko — while Franklin was one of four Sydney players picked alongside Callum Mills, Tom Papley and Luke Parker.

Seven players from the 2020 All Australian team — Marcus Bontempell­i, Tom Hawkins, Jack Macrae, Nic Naitanui, Jack Steele, Gawn and Petracca — were named again in this year’s squad.

A total of 21 players were nominated for a potential maiden All Australian selection, including Gold Coast ball magnet Touk Miller and Port Adelaide defensive recruit Aliir Aliir.

Fremantle games record holder David Mundy, 36, was the oldest player picked, while Carlton’s thirdyear on-baller Sam Walsh, 21, was the youngest.

‘‘Selectors were not asked to nominate the leading players in each section of the field — forwards, defenders and midfielder­s/ rucks — but simply to name the best players of the season,’’ the AFL said in a statement on the 40-man squad.

‘‘However, the final team of 22 . . . is selected as if to play a match.’’

Among the unlucky omissions were Power veteran Travis Boak, Geelong midfielder Cam Guthrie and Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt, who finished third on the Coleman Medal leaderboar­d.

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