Best Midfielder in VFL Overlooked in AFL NAB National Draft

Profession sports clubs the world over often place metrics, such as height, weight and speed at the top of the list when shopping for new recruits, but the AFL seems to have taken that a step too far in complelty overlooking Michael Gibbons.

Twice the top player in the VFL with two J J Liston best and fairest trophies, he has also been a part of the VFL Team of the Year three times and he won the Norm Goss Medal as best player in the VFL Grand Final in 2015.

The knock?

The 23-year-old with the Williamstown side is, at 175 centimetres, on the short side of the line on AFL clubs’ physical traits table.

Yet, Gibbons is often found with the ball, which is to say, he possesses the “intangible” factor that shows a player accustomed to overachieving despite lacking the physical characteristics of the “ideal” candidate.

“Now the only real criticism is that he’s not big, you see him here he’s 175cm but just your classic kid that keeps getting the football over and over again,” said former Sydney coach Pal Roos, commenting on the draft for Fox Footy’s On The Couch.

A few of Gibbons’ Williamstown teammates did get the call from the AFL. Those were Lachlan Schultz, Ben Cavarra and Brett Bewley, but apparently, not even the likes of Carlton or Gold Coast were willing to spend even a late round pick on the best player in the VFL.

“Memo to every single AFL club. The three Williamstown VFL players taken thus far are very good players. BUT, Michael Gibbons is still available, and you’re actually allowed to recruit,” Roos tweeted on Friday.

“I just don’t (get) it that no one took him, seriously, he is the best player in the VFL,” said former AFL player and Williamstown assistant coach Peter Banford.

Gibbons is a disposal machine, averaging over 26 per in the 2018 VFL fixture.

On the opposite side of the equation, there have been any number of top picks that failed to produce at the top level and Gibbons is young enough that he can make believers of all the doubters in the AFL at some future point.