‘Very, very stiff’: The all-Australian snub of the Tigers great slams gun

The omission of Richmond star Tim Taranto has become the biggest talking point of the 44-man All Australian squad released on Monday, while the decision not to include a couple of Cats also caused a stir.

New signing from Richmond, Taranto finished the 2023 season as elite in the AFL ratings in dismounts, kicks, tackles and clears, but fell in favor of the likes of Freo's Caleb Serong, Gold Coast's Noah Anderson, Hawthorn's Jai Newcombe, Tom GWS's Green and Stephen overlook Coniglio and Melbourne's Jack Viney.

Richmond star Matthew Richardson was particularly critical of Taranto's signing as he claimed the midfielder was “extremely close” to being selected before falling “very, very hard” four weeks later.

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But AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan (panel chair) and the selection panel Kevin Bartlett, Jude Bolton, Nathan Buckley, Kane Cornes, Andrew Dillon, Glen Jakovich, Chris Johnson, Cameron Ling, Matthew Pavlich and Laura Kane had no place for 44th season Taranto -headed cadres.

All Australian Selector and Fox Footys Nathan Buckley admitted there were a number of difficult decisions.

“This is the second year I've been doing it and it doesn't get any easier,” he revealed On the couch.

Buckley commented on Taranto's absence, confirming that the midfield group is a highly competitive category.

“We thought he was a bit quiet towards the end of the year and there was a lot of competition in midfield,” he said.

Hawks star Luke Hodge expressed surprise at Taranto's departure from the squad and wondered what else the midfielder could have done in 2023.

“Tim Taranto's … mid-year I think (All-Australian selector Kane Cornes) said he wanted to see him score more goals … he was averaging almost a goal a game, had 140 odd discards and averaged 29 Touches per game, I thought “It's been a pretty consistent year,” Hodge said on SEN.

“He did so well in a team that was struggling.”

Jonathan Brown said his glaring omission in the 44-man squad was Cat Jeremy Cameron.

“Obviously a sensational first half that was almost locked in the first half of the year,” Buckley said of Cameron.

“Because of the injury, not his fault, the contact with (teammate Gary) Rohan…he's missed quite a bit of footy.”

Buckley revealed Magpie Jamie Elliott was close to a call-up, but the pick settled on Hawthorn's Luke Breust, while it was a tough decision between former teammates Max Gawn and Luke Jackson – the latter receiving his first AA nod.

“I didn't think I would be talking about him in the All-Australian 40,” Fremantle star Paul Hasleby said of Jackson's call to SEN.

Another player who surprisingly left some critics out was Geelong's Gryan Miers after breaking Lion Jason Akermanis' impressive stat of most assists this season.

Miers was the most accurate kick in the 50 of the year for any player in the AFL and was in the last 22 predicted by Fox Footy expert David King – but didn't even make the roster.

“He reminds me of Mark Mercuri and Brett Heady in my era, dominating that front half, making great decisions using the ball inside the 50-line. They rarely squandered a possession in that front half,” former AFL coach Brenton Sanderson praised Miers on SEN earlier this month.

Sam Taylor (GWS) missed out, although some had called for his participation after playing just 15 games through injury.

But it was a season where he became only the second player to top both wins and losses in defensive one-on-one competitions in the same season, while only Eagles star Jeremy McGovern did the same in 2016 achievement accomplished.

Essendon's Nic Martin failed to make it as a true winger, while Lion's Josh Dunkley was arguably one of the most consistent center players in a team that finished in the top two.

Originally published as ‘Very, very stiff': The Tigers star slams Tim Taranto's All-Australian nudge

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