GFL Interleague Squad: The stars who miss out

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Jeremy Dyer’s 2017 GFL Interleague squad that will tackle Mornington Peninsula on May 13th is undoubtedly a strong one. But every year there are a collection of players who do not turn out for the side for various reasons. Some are omitted due to injury, cannot play over the bye weekend, or are simply just not selected. So for the sake of the exercise, the names below we will assume haven’t been picked, until we hear otherwise. Here are some stars that missed out.

Daniel Lovick (St Joseph’s)

Perhaps the most glaring omission from the list, for arguably one of the GFL’s greatest ever. The Joeys defender who has been a mainstay for years on end, is not part of this year’s squad due to his belief his time in an Interleague jumper is up. At his best, Lovick is a brilliant reader of play who makes calculated decisions in the air and with ball in hand, allowing him to accumulate a lot of ball. His drive and precision kicking, whilst often playing on a second or third tall forward, puts him in the elite category. However, a patchy 2016 mirrored his side’s, and a particularly disappointing finals series may have come into his thinking. Has only missed two Interleague games since 2009.

 Kieren Paliouras (St Joseph’s)

A trimmed down Paliouras has started 2017 well after re-joining St Joeys on a full time basis after being in and out of the Geelong VFL side for the past two seasons. Coach Jeremy Dyer stated “it’s more of a form thing” in regards to his non-selection, although he kicked 3 goals against South Barwon on ANZAC Day rolling between half forward and on the ball, which is why his omission comes as a surprise. A member of last year’s victorious team, Paliouras is a strong body able to play multiple positions. Also a three-time Interleague jumper recipient. Joeys will be happy to be able to wrap him in cotton wool over the break.

Mitch Patten (Leopold)

If rewarding good performances is the key to selecting representative sides, then Mitch Patten can count himself very unlucky. The 19-year old had a simply outstanding 2016, his first full term at senior level, leading Leopold to Grand Final glory with 55 goals. The goal sneak averaged more than 3 goals a game, his goal sense and work rate proving to be his two biggest attributes. For a teenager, his size is no issue. Small in stature, he has a strong base and pace to burn, suiting the Leopold game style. A member of the U/19 Interleague side last season.

 Lech Featherstone (St Joseph’s)

The Joeys #1 forward had some stiff competition for a spot in the squad, with Jordan Erskine and Jarrod Garth the two obvious choices, and Sam Dobson is such good form for St Mary’s. However, arriving at Drew Reserve off three years at the VFL with the Coburg Tigers, he can feel unlucky. 73 goals in 43 games was his return, and featured in the 2014 VFL team of the year. Was well beaten by Swan Jay Lever on ANZAC Day, the day before the squad was picked. Kicked an incredible 10 goals against Geelong West in round 3.

 Jarryd Garner (St Mary’s)

An underrated ball winner and able to kick a goal, Garner is part of the St Mary’s midfield brigade that is firing at the moment. He kicked more than 30 goals last year from genuine midfield, and is strong over the ball, allowing him to drift forward while having a rest from his midfield duties. The former Colac Tiger has taken his game to the next level over the past two seasons, however on the wide expanses on the MCG, coach Dyer would’ve waned against making the midfield too one-paced.

 Trent West (Leopold)

Having retired from the Brisbane Lions in 2016 after 70 AFL games, West came to Memorial Park amongst much fanfare. The towering ruckman is still adapting to the Leopold game style, which was essentially strictly ‘small ball’ last year, and is working on developing a combination with Jack Berry, who has been selected in this year’s squad. Coach Dyer said it would’ve been easy to pick him but a lack of form and their happiness with Berry went against West. His experience on the MCG, having won the 2011 Premiership with Geelong on the very ground.

 Cam Tudor (St Joseph’s)

Another Joey who would’ve been a handy inclusion into the Interleague squad. Tudor is back at Drew Reserve on a full time basis after spending two years in and out of the Geelong VFL side, much like the already mentioned Paliouras. Tudor would’ve added another string to the side’s bow, with his ability to interchange between the forward and ruck. With only Jack Berry and Luke Davis the selected ruckman, his versatility may have come in handy Jeremy Dyer didn’t want to pick a too ‘top heavy’ forward half, with the Erskine, the Dobson’s, Close, Garth the Delaney brothers to choose from.

Other notable omissions are …

Jai Sheahan (Newtown), Nick Bourke (Leopold) Zach Morison (St Joseph’s), Luke Webb (St Joseph’s), Tom Maas (South Barwon), Tom Gillies (St Mary’s), Tyler Stack (Bell Park), Will Sexton (South Barwon)

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