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Crows trio crowned

Katrina Gill  September 1, 2016 8:16 PM

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 01: Eddie Betts, Daniel Talia and Rory Sloane of the Crows during Virgin Australia AFL All Australian Dinner at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on September 01, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 01: Eddie Betts, Daniel Talia and Rory Sloane of the Crows during Virgin Australia AFL All Australian Dinner at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on September 01, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

It’s an absolute honour,

Three Crows have been selected in the 2016 All Australian team.

Like the AFL Coaches Association team of the year, Adelaide has a representative on each line.

Daniel Talia was chosen at centre half-back, Rory Sloane on a wing and Eddie Betts in a forward pocket. Sloane was also named vice-captain of the team, with Geelong skipper Joel Selwood captain.

It’s the Club’s best representation since 2006 when Andrew McLeod, Simon Goodwin and Nathan Bassett were included in the AFL’s best 22.

Minor premiers, the Sydney Swans, led the way with five players selected in the 2016 team: star forward Lance Franklin, versatile defender Dane Rampe, and ball winners Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery. Adelaide and Geelong each had three representatives, meaning half the team was comprised of players from just three clubs.

In total 10 teams were represented, with Richmond, West Coast, Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs all with two players in the team announced at Melbourne's Exhibition Centre. There were nine All Australian debutants, including Sloane.

Adelaide had the most players nominated for All Australian selection of any club in Season 2016. A total of six Crows were included in the squad of 40, with Rory Laird, Tom Lynch and Josh Jenkins left out of the final 22 named in Melbourne on Thursday night.

Betts, 29, earns selection for the second consecutive season.

The brilliant forward was also named in the 2011, 2012 and 2014 squads, but had to wait until last year to earn a spot in the 22 for the first time.

Betts has backed up an incredible 2015 with an even better 2016.

He kicked 66 goals in the home and away season to finish equal-third in the Coleman Medal, and better his previous career-best tally of 63 goals from 23 games last season.

Betts, who notched up his 250th AFL game in Round 22, also ranked second in the League in forward 50m tackles (43) and sixth for goal assists (22).

Betts wasn’t sure whether 2016 had been better than last year from a personal perspective, but said that this season had been more enjoyable.

“What creates a good environment is winning and we’ve won 16 games this year,” Betts said.

“That’s probably why I consider this year better.”

Talia is also now a two-time All Australian having previously been selected in 2014.

Whilst conceding a miserly average of only 1.2 goals per game, Talia has added an offensive element this season.

The 24-year-old is averaging 16 possessions (up from 10.6 in 2015) and six marks (up from 3.7). He ranked second in the AFL for spoils (184) in the minor round and equal-eighth in (intercept) marks from opposition kicks (54).

Talia was named alongside fellow tall defenders Alex Rance of Richmond and the leading intercept-marking player in the AFL, Jeremy McGovern from West Coast.

“It’s a massive honour and I’m probably a bit shell shocked,” Talia said.

“It’s always tough trying to get in those teams with so many great players in the competition.

“I’m very honoured to get in for a second time.”

Remarkably never previously nominated, Sloane has enjoyed a career-best season.

The 2013 Crows Club Champion was involved in 169 scores in the minor round – ranked 10th overall and third among all midfielders.

Despite missing a match through suspension, Sloane finished third in the AFL for tackles (151) and 12th for contested possessions (270) in the home and away season. He’s averaged a personal best 25.5 possessions and five clearances, and finished runner-up in the AFL Coaches Association award.

“It’s an absolute honour. It’s something I never thought I do. I’ve never sought out purely to make the All Australian team,” Sloane said of the achievement.

“It’s a bit of a reflection of how we’ve gone this year as a team, especially, having two other boys in there with ‘Tals’ and Eddie.

“It’s really good recognition for our footy club … but what we’re playing for is a flag.”

The All Australian selectors were not asked to nominate the leading players in each section of the field -- forwards, defenders and midfielders/ruckmen – but simply to name the best players of the season.

However, the final team of 22, was selected to best fit team balance as if to play a match.

Selector and Port Adelaide premiership captain Warren Tredrea said Jenkins, regarded as the best forward/ruck in the League, could consider himself especially unlucky not to make the team as a genuine back-up ruck option.

The All Australian selection panel is Gillon McLachlan (chairman), Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Mark Evans, Danny Frawley, Glen Jakovich, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson and Tredrea, while the All Australian selectors, along with Kevin Sheehan, also choose the winner of the NAB AFL Rising Star Award.

The team is: