Sydney Swans co-captains Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack and fellow midfielder Dan Hannebery have been selected in the 2013 All-Australian team, which was announced in Melbourne on Monday night.
This year’s selection is the first All-Australian cap for all three players, who have played key roles in the Swans’ success so far this season.
The trio, who will travel to Perth later in the week for Saturday’s preliminary final against Fremantle, were unable to travel to Melbourne for the All-Australian announcement but spoke to SwansTV about their selection and the performance of their All-Australian team mates.
“I’m really honoured to be recognised in the top 22 for the year,” co-captain Kieren Jack told SwansTV.
“I’m extremely honoured, but I’ve got a few more important things to be worrying about at the moment with this weekend’s game, but it’s a nice reward.”
The 26-year-old Jack, who was named in the All-Australian extended squad last year but missed out on final selection, said he felt he had delivered his most consistent season in 2013.
“Last year I made the 40 but I missed out and probably had a bit of a low patch last year, but this year I’ve been pretty consistent week in, week out,” he said.
“I’ve just been trying to worry about things one week at a time and not look too far ahead, so that’s probably been it.”
Fellow co-captain McVeigh said he believed Jack had significantly stepped up his game this season.
“He’s had an unbelievable year and he’s carried on from last year,” he said.
“He was named co-captain this year and he’s led from the front and his games this year have been at a really high level and he’s one of the best mids in the competition.”
McVeigh, who started the season in the midfield and led the club goalkicking early on, was moved into a defensive role following a spate of injuries at the club and has been superb off half-back ever since.
The 28-year-old said his versatility this season had added another dimension to his game.
“I’ve played in a number of different positions this year, which has been challenging, but I think my consistency and that I’ve been playing at a good level all year has been the main thing for me,” McVeigh said.
Midfielder Hannebery said McVeigh has been an important contributor and leader for the club during a tough season.
“Jarrad has been super consistent and leads from the front both on and off the field,” Hannebery said.
“The move from midfield back down into defence has been really impressive and just the way he continues to compete whether we’re up or down, he really sets the benchmark.”
After just 100 games, Hannebery also collects his first All-Australian nod.
The 2010 AFL Rising Star winner attributed his success to the help and support of the Swans’ senior midfielders, including Jack and McVeigh.
“I think just the continuity in the pre-season and having that year-more of experience has helped,” he said.
“Also just developing under the midfield coaches and working with the midfielders has definitely helped my development over the year.”
Jack said Hannebery’s rise this season had been exceptional, adding that the youngest of the midfield trio has a bright future ahead at the Swans.
“He’s had a great year and he’s stepped up his game again from last year,” Jack said.
“I thought his finals series last year really showed what he can do and this year he’s gone to another level to become an elite midfielder.
“He’s only 22, so it’s quite scary that he’s made his first All-Australian team.”
Swans players Josh Kennedy and Nick Malceski were also named in the 40-man extended squad this season, but missed out on the final All-Australian team.
Dan Hannebery, Sydney Swans
Never previously selected. 21 games in 2013. 250 kicks, 70 marks, 297 handballs (Sixth in the AFL), averaging 11.9 kicks, 3.3 marks, 14.1 handballs. 16 Goals, 13 Behinds. 70 Clearances, 77 Inside 50m, 27 Rebound 50m. 59 Tackles.
Kieren Jack, Sydney Swans
Never previously selected. 22 games in 2013. 305 kicks, 45 marks, 253 handballs, averaging 13.9 kicks, 2.0 marks, 11.5 handballs. 22 Goals, 14 Behinds. 111 Clearances, 126 Inside 50m (First in the AFL), 27 Rebound 50m. 145 Tackles (Third in the AFL).
Jarrad McVeigh, Sydney Swans
Never previously selected. 22 games in 2013. 353 kicks (Seventh in the AFL), 86 marks, 245 handballs, averaging 16.0 kicks, 3.9 marks, 11.1 handballs. Sixth in the AFL in total disposals. 13 Goals, Seven Behinds. 61 Clearances, 79 Inside 50m, 80 Rebound 50m. 75 Tackles.