AFL fans and commentators were left up in arms on Wednesday night after Geelong veteran Tom Hawkins was named captain of the All-Australian team.
Geelong were rewarded for their outstanding AFL season after finishing minor premiers by having five players named in the All-Australian team.
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The premiership favourites make up almost a quarter of the 22-player team, with star forward Hawkins unveiled as captain of the AFL's team of the year for the first time.
It marks the evergreen goal-kicker's fifth All-Australian selection, while breakout Cats teammate Tyson Stengle was named beside Hawkins in the forward pocket.
However the decision to make Hawkins the captain has caused controversy amongst fans and pundits considering he has never been captain of any side he has played in.
“I don’t think I’ve actually ever been captain of a football side before, so to be standing alongside some of the best players of our generation is pretty cool,” the 34-year-old Hawkins said.
“Very unexpected, but very cool to be identified with.”
Melbourne captain Max Gawn and Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps were both named in the side, with many feeling they would have been more appropriate options.
How on earth is Tom “sorry about your eye socket” Hawkins All Australian captain? Selwood? Fine. But sheesh
— James Massola (@jamesmassola) August 24, 2022
That's the fourth time in six years they've picked an All-Australian captain who isn't a club captain, so let's never try and tip who they're gonna pick for that ever again because who knows
— Max Laughton (@maxlaughton) August 24, 2022
I see they spun the wheel again for All-Aus captain.
— Nic Negrepontis (@NicNegrepontis) August 24, 2022
shouldn't even be in the squad let alone captain joke
— Matthew Stratis (@stratis_matthew) August 24, 2022
What an absolute farce. On what criteria is Hawkins the captain over premiership captain Max Gawn?
— jake (@jaketh14) August 24, 2022
Tom Hawkins, AA Captain?
Yeah ok 🤭
— ItsAmandaJ ❤️💙 (@ItsAmandaJay) August 24, 2022
Tom Hawkins doesn’t even captain his own team!!! What a joke!! #AFLAwards
— Matty B (@BehmMatty) August 24, 2022
Geelong get five players in All-Australian team
Stengle has been a revelation in his first year at Geelong, playing all 22 games and kicking 46 goals to top up a lethal forward line with Hawkins and fellow teammate Jeremy Cameron.
After gaining two All-Australian selections at the GWS Giants in 2013 and 2019, Cameron was picked at centre-half-forward in his second season with Geelong.
Reigning premiers Melbourne weren't far behind, with Gawn being named All-Australian for a sixth time and fifth year in a row.
Steven May was picked at full-back for the second-straight year, while fellow Demons stars Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca also earned selection.
This year's All-Australian team comprises 12 first-timers, including Fremantle young gun Brownlow Medal contender Andrew Brayshaw.
Twelve different clubs supply at least one player, with Adelaide, Essendon, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs missing out.
Carlton captain Cripps was chosen as vice-captain, while dashing teammate Adam Saad was picked on a half-back flank to numb some of the Blues' pain of brutally missing the finals.
Meanwhile, Collingwood young gun Nick Daicos was predictably honoured as the AFL's Rising Star, claiming 60 votes to finish ahead of Geelong defender Sam De Koning.
Daicos, the son of Magpies legend Peter, was considered unlucky not to be named in the All-Australian squad of 44 after playing every game in his debut season.
Brayshaw also became the youngest player since St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt in 2004 to be crowned the AFL Players Association's most valuable player.
The 22-year-old claimed his first Leigh Matthews Trophy after an outstanding 2022 season, finishing ahead of Melbourne premiership hero Clayton Oliver and Richmond dynamo Shai Bolton.
Brayshaw racked up the sixth most possessions during the home-and-away season as Fremantle charged up the ladder to end a seven-year finals drought.
It follows Brayshaw on Tuesday being named captain of the AFLPA Under-22 side, becoming the first player to make that team and also win the MVP in the same season.
Other AFLPA awards went to Daicos (Best First Year player), Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury (Best Captain) and Richmond hard nut Liam Baker (Most Courageous).
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