By Peter Blucher
The exciting Aliir Aliir AFL ‘train’ has stopped at another stop, with the Sydney Swans defender chosen in the Round 19 AFL Team of the Week.
This is the weekly honorary side chosen by football writers at the AFL website, and recognised Aliir’s standout performance in the Swans’ big win over the Fremantle Dockers in Perth on Sunday.
It is another line in what has been one of the AFL’s great stories of the year for the 21-year-old 195cm defender, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp to Sudanese parents, moved to Australia in 2005, and took up football in 2009 via Kedron High classmate and future Aspley teammate James Ives.
Said the AFL website of Aliir: “Showing more and more confidence with every outing, the athletic big man had 18 touches and four tackles against the Dockers.”
Indeed, he had a career-best 18 possessions and a career-best nine contested possessions and another ‘first’ – he bounced the ball for the first time in an AFL game.
Also, in another bi-product of improved confidence, after just two forward 50 entries in his first five games he added another two against the Dockers, showing he’s more prepared to get off his direct opponent, run forward and create attacking opportunities.
In six AFL games Aliir has had five wins and a weekly possession count on the weekly increase – 6-10-15-16-18-18.
Aliir is one of seven Queenslanders to have been chosen in the AFL Team of the Week this season.
Nick Riewoldt heads the list with five inclusions, followed by Kurt Tippett (3), David Armitage (2), Charlie Dixon (1), Zac Smith (1), Tom Hickey (1) and Aliir (1).