IN recent times there has been discussion as to whether Gary Ablett Jr is better than his old man, and now the discussion is whether he could be the best of all time.
I have always believed we should not compare greats of different generations because of professionalism, training techniques, ground conditions etc.
As an experiment, I am comparing players in the same era.
I am going to pick my best side from players currently playing at AFL level.
There will be some very unlucky players as there will be in any task like this, but to make it clear, I am using three very simple criteria – the players form at their absolute peak, their influence over the team they played in and their ability to contribute over a long period.
Here it is – B: Dustin Fletcher (Ess), Darren Glass (WC), Shaun Burgoyne (Haw).
Hb: Corey Enright (Geel), Harry Taylor (Geel), Luke Hodge (Haw).
C: Joel Selwood (Geel), Gary Ablett (GC), Scott Pendlebury (Coll).
Hf: Steve Johnson (Geel), Nick Riewoldt (St K), Adam Goodes (Syd).
F: Brent Harvey (NM), Lance Franklin (Syd), Matthew Pavlich (Frem).
Foll: Dean Cox (WC), Jobe Watson (Ess), Chris Judd (Carl).
Inter: Jimmy Bartel (Geel), Dane Swan (Coll), Adam Cooney (WB), Sam Mitchell (Haw), Jonathon Brown (BL), Lenny Hayes (St K).
Although this was a difficult task, it is hard to argue with any player selected above.
Cases can be made, but I am not sure anyone out of the team can replace anyone in the team.
Players who were considered strongly were:
Paul Chapman - a big part of Geelong’s era; Dale Thomas - who was brilliant at his best; Jarryd Roughead - who will make this side in three years; Aaron Sandilands - would play if you had two ruckmen; Dale Morris and Ben Rutten - two star defenders for their clubs; Ryan O’Keefe and Patrick Dangerfield - two match winners; Kane Cornes and Robert Murphy - two very loyal servants.
There were of course many other names in the mix, but too many to mention.
Our game is in good hands when you consider these guys are not only still playing, but will form a strong part of the legacy from our time.
Although this was a difficult task, it is hard to argue with any player selected.