The accolades keep coming for Coleman Medal winner Lance Franklin, who was named an AFL All-Australian for the seventh time on Wednesday, the only Sydney Swan to receive the honour this season.
For the first time since their inception, GWS had more representation than their bitter cross-town rivals, with in-demand midfielder Josh Kelly and fellow engine roomer Dylan Shiel also landing the illustrious honour.
Swans captain Josh Kennedy, and Giants pair Tom Scully and Toby Greene all missed out despite being named in the initial 40-man squad.
Sydney had a club-record five players in last year’s All-Australian team en route to the 2016 grand final loss, but their sluggish 0-6 start in 2017 has forced selectors to look elsewhere this time around.
Franklin stamped home his seventh All-Australian selection with 10 goals in Saturday’s rout of Carlton, which wrapped up sixth spot on the ladder and a home elimination final against Essendon next weekend.
“Very proud to get another All-Australian, it’s probably something I’ll reflect on when I finish my career and be very proud,” Franklin said.
“To win a Coleman Medal any time is pretty special. Obviously there’s been a lot of hard work to get it but I wouldn’t have been able to win it without my teammates giving me some clean ball on the weekend.
“It was nice [the Carlton win], we had a packed stadium full of a lot of supporters and the boys were kicking me the ball, which was nice. It was a super effort to get the medal and I’m very proud.”
Franklin kicked 69 goals for the home-and-away season through 22 games, and was ranked fourth in the league for inside 50s and equal sixth in the league for marks.
Across town, Kelly’s breakout year included a disposal average of 29.2 and more than six tackles per game, not to mention significant interest from North Melbourne, St Kilda and Carlton for his services.
The off-contract star is yet to re-sign with the Giants and will ignite a trade-period bidding war should he opt not to extend his stay in Sydney.
“It’s a bit surreal, to be honest [to be named All-Australian], but very humbled and appreciative that’s for sure,” Kelly said.
“I wanted to continue my improvement that I had last year and I feel like I’ve been able to do that, I moved into the midfield a bit more.
“I always focused on being able to have that inside, outside balance, I probably didn’t have that in my first few years of footy. It was something that I always prided myself on growing up as a junior.”
Shiel, meanwhile, was equal third with Brownlow Medal favourite Dustin Martin for clearances, and was a constant in the Giants midfield all season while teammates were dropping like flies around him with injuries.
“It’s really nice to get that acknowledgement from a hard season,” Shiel said.
“I don’t really know what the selectors look at, whether it’s impact on game or just raw numbers. I like to think I’ve got a combination of both that worked in my favour.
“It’s a really good time to reflect on a nice year but we’ve got the finals coming up so the celebrating and the recognition will have to come after the last game which is hopefully the grand final.”
Joe Daniher (Ess) Josh Kennedy (v-capt, WCoast) Eddie Betts (Adel)
Paddy Ryder (PAdel) Patrick Dangerfield (Geel) Tom Mitchell (Haw)
Interchange: Matt Crouch (Adel) Joel Selwood (Geel)
Dylan Shiel (GWS) Elliott Yeo (WCoast)
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