Last Friday morning the SFNL announced its 2017 Division 1 Team of the Year at teh annual Grand Final Breakfast. The team was chosen by a selection panel consisting of members of the SFNL Media Team, with players selected on the basis of the following criteria:
Below is the team as selected by the SFNL Media Team, as well as a list of players the selection panel considered unlucky to miss out.
PAT CARROLL (Oakleigh District)
Another great season for the duel Interleague defender, whose silky skills and evasiveness helps his side launch plenty of attacks out of the defensive half.
LUKE POUSTIE (East Malvern)
Rarely beaten on the last line of defensive, Poustie was a rock in the Panthers’ backline all season. Very good user of the pill and can create by foot.
LUKE BARNHOORN (Mordialloc)
Versatile enough to play in any position, but the smooth-moving Barnhoorn’s work in defence this season has been exemplary. Exceptional footy smarts and is always composed under pressure.
KIERAN KNOX (St Pauls)
A super year for the Dog’s playmaker, who played a massive role in his side’s ascent up the ladder. Wins plenty of the footy sets up the play further up the ground.
ANDREW FROST (Dingley)
Few key defenders in the competition have stickier hands or can read the play better than the veteran Dingo, who is equally capable in the forward half. Earned captaincy of the interleague team this season.
TRAVIS LA ROCCA (Dingley)
The Dingoes star half back took his game to another level after assuming the co-captaincy this season. A composed and slick ball user, La Rocca validated his selection in the Team of the Year with an inspired performance in Sunday’s Grand Final.
JOSH FERGUSON (Dingley)
The dreadlocked winger has been an excitement machine for the Dingoes. A strong-bodied player that is difficult to tackle, Ferguson loves to run at break-neck speed and has played at a consistently high level this year.
RYAN MULLETT (East Malvern)
There are few classier midfielders in the competition than the first-year Panther. Tipped by many as the biggest recruit of the year, Mullett didn’t disappoint with his ability to win the ball and use is brilliantly by hand and foot.
AARON KNEEBONE (Mordialloc)
A stellar first season at Ben Kavanagh Reserve for the skilful playmaker. A very clever footballer, Kneebone can win the footy around the ground and looks a million dollars with ball in hand.
MATT KREYMBORG (St Pauls)
A breath-taking player to watch when on song, the ex-Sandringham onballer booted 32 goals for the season, highlighting his potency forward of centre. A strong-bodies player that can win plenty of his own footy, too.
DEAN MILLHOUSE (East Malvern)
Realistically, you can have picked this bloke in any position and he wouldn’t be out of place. One of the most versatile players in the League, the big-bodied Millhouse got the nod at CHF after booted 34 goals at 2.3 per game.
NATHAN HENLEY (East Malvern)
Another of East Malvern’s high-profile recruits, the classy Henley didn’t disappoint, averaging nearly three goals per game (fourth in the SFNL). An Achilles injury ended his season after 16 matches, which was a massive blow to his side’s flag hopes.
SIMON TAYLOR (East Malvern)
The ex-Hawthorn big man split his time between ruck and forward, but earned selection in the later after finishing with 32 goals in 16 games, including booting three majors or more in a match on six occasions. His height makes his a nightmare match up for defenders.
CALHAN McQUEEN (Dingley)
The energetic lead-up forward demanded selection after winning his second straight Superboot award with 71 goals – five clear of his nearest rival – with an average of 4.2 per game. Few more exciting players to watch than ‘The Dream’ in full flight.
PAUL FERMANIS (Oakleigh District)
A brilliant player over a long period of time, the dynamic playmaker again enjoyed a super season. Although hampered by injury at various stages which limited his time on the ball, Fermanis moved forward with devastating effect, finishing 40 goals for the season.
TROY MACKENZIE (Dingley)
A super pick-up for the Dingoes in 2017, the ex-basketballer fast established himself as the number 1 tap ruckman in the competition. MacKenzie’s massive tank also allows him to cover plenty of territory and contribute around the ground.
JAKE MULLEN (Oakleigh District)
A selection that is sure to cause plenty of debate. Mullen missed the first eight games of the year, but in the last 10 was one of the most damaging players in the comp. Won several games for the Oaks off his own boot with his efforts up forward and on the ball, and is capable of kicking bags of goals on his day. An elite goal-kicking mid.
DANNY NICHOLLS (Mordialloc)
The former Collingwood rover has been a raging bull in the Bloods’ midfield this season and extablished himself as one of the dominant player in the comp. Not only can Nicholls win the contested ball, but his ability to bust clear and deliver with precision is second to none.
LEWIS MILDENHALL (Port Melbourne Colts)
A class operator on the ball, Mildenhall was one of the few shining lights on a difficult season for the Colts. A week-in, week-out contributor with elite skills, there were few more consistent players in 2017.
BRAD GILDER (St Pauls)
A tough and uncompromising midfield general, Gilder provided both hardness at the contest and much-needed leadership to a young and inexperienced St Pauls side in 2017.
SEAN McLAREN (Cheltenham)
Justified his billing as one of 2017’s biggest recruits with a brilliant debut season at Jack Barker Oval. Although narrowly pipped for the number one ruck spot, McLaren’s ability to excel in numerous positions meant he couldn’t be excluded.
CHRIS HORTON-MILNE (Dingley)
Last year’s Meneilly Medallist was again a vital cog in the Dingoes all-powerful midfield. The nuggety onballer is never afraid to roll his sleeves up and put his head over the footy, but is just as damaging on the outside.
JASON HEFFERNAN (St Pauls)
Took the a young and inexperienced Dogs team from seventh last year to equal first on the ladder in 2017, behind Dingley and Mordialloc on percentage alone. While the team made a straight-sets exit from the finals, Heffernan has the foundation in place for a premiership tilt in the coming years. Also took home the AFL Victoria Inner Southern Region Coach of the Year award.
STEVE MULLER (St Pauls)
The burly full forward was the focal point all season for the Dogs, finishing the season with 69 goals as second on the League table. Ultimately, it was a choice between Muller or McQueen for the FF position, with the Superboot winner getting the nod.
JAMES MORRIS (Mordialloc)
Another non-selection that could raise eyebrows. While there is no doubt Morris could warrant selection in a forward pocket after a 55-goal home and away season, the panel was swayed by the versatility of Fermanis and Taylor. It is also worth noting, this side was selected at the end of the home and away season, before his seven-goal haul against the Dingoes in the Second Semi Final.
LUCAS WALMSLEY (Dingley)
There is no question ‘Noodles’ is one of the competition’s elite players, and you could easily mount a case for selection on one of the wings. However, given he played just eight home and away games, the decision was made to reward the season-long consistency of Ferguson and Kneebone.
SCOTT LAWRY (Bentleigh)
Like Walmsley, Lawry missed seven home and away games, which counted against him, but also didn’t quite reach the levels of the previous two years in which he won back-to-back Ellis Medals. With plenty of midfield talent in 2017, it was tough to squeeze him in.
MITCHELL SMART (Bentleigh)
Strong-bodied teenager Smart established himself as one of the elite rucks in the competition in his first season at the Demons, however, the panel thought he was third in line behind MacKenzie (who was a better tap ruckman) and McLaren (who did more around the ground).