Brodie Grundy and Steele Sidebottom. Now forever known as All Australians.
Both are currently in the midst of preparations for a Qualifying Final against West Coast, but tonight can take a moment to reflect on outstanding individual seasons.
For Grundy, a breakout year was always beckoning. In August last year, the South Australian signed a deal to stay at Collingwood until the end of 2020. While success was clearly on the horizon, he has no doubt surpassed all expectations in the short time since.
After having their names linked all season as the best two rucks in the AFL, it’s only fitting Grundy and Melbourne’s Max Gawn now share All Australian honours.
Grundy’s 848 hit outs (270 to advantage) sit second in the competition behind the Demons’ big man, however the Magpie mountain leads all ruckman in the league in disposals (458), contested possessions (278) and clearances (122).
He may be named in the ruck on every team list, but this season has shown Grundy is the closest thing possible to a 202cm midfielder.
Sidebottom on the other hand, has been a star on the ball for Collingwood since he burst onto the scene in 2010. All these years later, the 27-year-old finally receives the All Australian nod he has so long deserved.
The beginning of Sidebottom’s season was simply blistering. Game after game he won the ball at will and had already amassed 132 disposals at an average of 33 by just the end of round four.
Known to spend on the wing in previous seasons, the vice-captain was seen on the ball more than ever in 2018. He won 76.5 per cent of his touches came in the midfield, a higher percentage than any other season in his 207-game career.
This didn’t affect his knack of finding the scoreboard. Whether it be on his right foot or trusty non-preferred left, Sidebottom often popped up with a goal when the Magpies’ most needed it. The most enjoyable part? Nine of his 12 goals in 2018 came against traditional rivals Carlton and Essendon.
While some of their All Australian teammates are already enjoying off-season spoils, Grundy and Sidebottom still have so much to achieve before they put an end to 2018.
However when the dust settles, both will no doubt reflect on individual campaigns which played a giant role in leading their club back into the fold of September action.
2018 All Australian team
B: Tom Stewart (Geel), Alex Rance (Rich), Rory Laird (Adel)
HB: Shannon Hurn (WCE), Jeremy McGovern (WCE), Lachie Whitfield (GWS)
C: Andrew Gaff (WCE), Dustin Martin (Rich), Steele Sidebottom (Coll)
HF: Patrick Dangerfield (Geel), Lance Franklin (Syd), Robbie Gray (PA)
F: Luke Breust (Haw), Jack Riewoldt (Rich), Jack Gunston (Haw)
Foll: Max Gawn (Melb), Patrick Cripps (Carl), Tom Mitchell (Haw)
Int: Brodie Grundy (Coll), Clayton Oliver (Melb), Shaun Higgins (NM), Shane Edwards (Rich)
Steele Sidebottom (wing)
First All Australian
- 22 games
- 296 kicks
- 105 marks
- 355 handballs
- 12 goals
- 84 clearances
- 95 inside 50s
- 35 rebound 50s
- 84 tackles
Brodie Grundy (interchange)
First All Australian
- 22 games
- 174 kicks
- 80 marks
- 284 handballs
- 848 hit outs
- 8 goals
- 120 clearances
- 56 inside 50s
- 116 tackles