The All-Australian squad was announced this week and when you can only include 40 players, there will always be those who fall unluckily short.
And so it’s time those who missed out on All-Australian selection got the limelight they deserve for being among the best performers of the year.
Some of these players were incredibly stiff to miss All-Australian selection and others less so, but all 22 had fantastic seasons and most were the proverbial 41st player.
Here’s the team by team breakdown:
Daniel Talia - Talia had a consistent season without reaching the heights of the last few years. He spent a bit too much time as a loose man.
Dayne Beams - The Brisbane skipper’s season was as good as any midfielder and he was desperately unlucky to miss out. He averaged 27 disposals and kicked 20 goals for the season.
Taylor Adams - Adams edges out Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom for a spot on this list. He averaged 29.5 disposals this year and was Collingwood’s most important midfielder.
Brodie Grundy - The Collingwood ruckman averaged more disposals than any other big-name ruckman and was among the best in clearances as well.
Orazio Fantasia - Fantasia kicked 38 goals this season and probably would’ve kicked more than Jeff Garlett had his season not been ended by injury in round 20.
Nathan Fyfe - The Fremantle captain got back to his best form in the second half of 2017 and was very unlucky to miss the squad.
Michael Walters - Walters arguably had a couple of perfect games earlier in the season, but inconsistent form probably cost him a spot in the 40.
Mitch Duncan - Put Duncan among those who will be labelled as the 41st man when the selectors justify their decisions. Duncan averaged 29 disposals and six marks for the season.
Zach Tuohy - Tuohy was another Cat who probably should’ve been in the 40. The former Blue had an incredible first season at Geelong off half-back.
Tom Hawkins - Hawkins kicked 48 goals from 19 games this season, only one less than Taylor Walker who made the squad.
Jon Patton - Patton kicked 42 goals from 19 games and rose in the big moments. He stood tall for the Giants all season.
Callan Ward - Ward averaged 27 disposals and 6.7 clearances this season and probably didn’t get enough credit for his work when the Giants were missing a number of big names.
Zach Williams - Williams had a consistent season that was probably below those that made the squad of 40, but he certainly did enough to be among the best rebounding defenders.
Ben McEvoy - The Hawthorn ruckman had a rejuvenated season, kicking more goals and taking more contested marks than any big-name ruckman.
Clayton Oliver - Oliver was desperately unlucky to miss out on the squad. He averaged 30 disposals this season and 6.6 clearances, ranked third in the competition.
Robbie Tarrant - Tarrant continues to get the job done for North Melbourne, which is even more impressive considering the side’s spot on the ladder.
Ollie Wines - Wines had a fantastic start to the season and averaged six clearances for the year. His exclusion from the squad was reasonable, but he’s certainly worth a mention.
Chad Wingard - Wingard only kicked 23 goals this year, but had some massive games for the Power, especially through the midfield.
Trent Cotchin - The Richmond captain seemed a lock for the squad, but he somehow missed out so we’ll happily snap him up for the Snub 22.
Jack Riewoldt - Riewoldt kicked 50 goals this year and held the Richmond forward line together by himself for most of the season.
Jake Lloyd - Lloyd averaged 26 disposals and was a massive part of Sydney’s mid-season revival, but tailed off a bit towards the end of the year.
Dane Rampe - Rampe missed the early part of the season with an arm injury and the Swans missed him badly during that time. He dominated much bigger opposition all year.