Australia's Teams of the Decade

Nathan Lyon [L] and Michael Clarke celebrate Australia's 2013/14 Ashes triumph at the SCG Anthony Devlin/PA Images via Getty Images

With the end of the decade upon us, it's time to reflect on some of the great sportspeople that have graced our pitches, fields, ovals and otherwise over the past 10 years.

We have selected our Australia Team of the Decade across Test cricket, football and rugby, so to the best 17 and 22 from the NRL and AFL, respectively.

Test XI

David Warner, Chris Rogers, Steven Smith, Michael Clarke (c), Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Pat Cummins, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood (12th man).

Chris Rogers makes the cut as David Warner's most accomplished partner, underlining the fact he might have played years earlier.

Shane Watson is the only genuine allrounder worth considering, while Ryan Harris' sheer quality squeezes him ahead of Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc as the perfect foil for Pat Cummins and Mitchell Johnson.

Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin, a complementary leadership duo, edge out Tim Paine's excellent recent work.


Mat Ryan, Aziz Behich, Mark Milligan, Trent Sainsbury, Ivan Franjic, Mile Jedinak (c), Tommy Rogic, Massimo Luongo, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Tim Cahill.

Coach: Ange Postecoglou

With nine of our 11 players starting in the 2015 Asian Cup final, there's no doubting when the Socceroos peaked this decade. With Tim Cahill leading the line, Mile Jedinak anchoring midfield and Maty Ryan in goals, the team's spine picks itself.

Much like the selection issues that has plagued the likes of Ange Postecoglou and Graham Arnold, the problems arise on the flanks. Mathew Leckie has been a mainstay, despite being shunted all around the park, while Robbie Kruse is perhaps the most decisive Socceroo for fans in living memory - not to mention the problematic full-back positions.

Most conspicuous in his absence, however, is Aaron Mooy. Up against 2015 player of the tournament Mass Luongo and Confederations Cup star Tom Rogic, the Brighton midfielder misses out because of his lack of big-game performances. Too harsh? Probably, but the 29-year-old has this World Cup cycle to prove us wrong.


Billy Slater, Jarryd Hayne, Greg Inglis, Michael Jennings, Brett Morris, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Cameron Smith (c), Matthew Scott, Sam Burgess, Boyd Cordner, Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: James Maloney, James Graham, Luke Lewis, Jesse Bromwich.

Coach: Craig Bellamy

The NRL team of the decade was always going to be littered with players from the two best teams of the decade. With the Roosters and Storm winning half of the 10 premierships between them, it is no surprise that nine out of the 17 have represented those clubs at some point during that time. In compiling this team, consideration has been given to each player's contributions at both club and representative level over a sustained period since the beginning of the 2010 season. Still, all but Jarryd Hayne and James Graham have been a part of at least one NRL premiership-winning team.

Some players have picked themselves, other positions were really up for grabs. In Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater you have three of the greatest players to ever fill those positions, while Johnathan Thurston and Greg Inglis are two of the best players to ever lace up a boot. But, both wings, a centre and the majority of the forwards were not so clear cut, and are bound to spark debate.


B: Luke Hodge (c), Alex Rance, Shannon Hurn
HB: Heath Shaw, Harry Taylor, Bachar Houli
C: Scott Pendlebury, Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood
HF: Dustin Martin, Lance Franklin, Robbie Gray
F: Luke Breust, Jack Riewoldt, Eddie Betts
R: Max Gawn, Gary Ablett, Nat Fyfe
I/C: Sam Mitchell, Cyril Rioli, Trent Cotchin, Shaun Burgoyne

Coach: Alastair Clarkson

The first thing we did when starting the selection process was drop in the most obvious names. There were three: Franklin, Ablett and Hodge. This trio has dominated the league throughout the decade and were walk-up starters.

Choosing a key forward to partner Franklin was a more difficult task. Riewoldt eventually got the nod over Josh Kennedy, Tom Hawkins and Jarryd Roughead based on a 10-year span with more goals, more Coleman Medals and a couple of flags.

Another tough position to select was the ruckman. Aaron Sandilands starred in the early part of the decade, but missed too much football in the second half and was well and truly overtaken by Gawn. The Demons star has earned three All-Australian blazers in the past four seasons and ultimately our vote.

Other contentious selection calls were leaving out the likes of Josh Gibson and Dale Morris in the backline, as was shunting Rioli to the bench in favour of Gray, who continues to be one of the league's most damaging and underrated players.

Interestingly, 17 of the 22 players selected are premiership players and 19 have played in a Grand Final.


Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Bernard Foley, Will Genia; David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (c), Scott Sio.

Coach: Michael Cheika

Much of our Wallabies' team of the decade is based around the team's unlikely run to the 2015 World Cup final that ultimately ended in a 34-17 defeat by the All Blacks.

While that was by no means Folau's best work of his six-year rugby stint, he was a worthy winner of a record three John Eales Medals which sees him earn selection despite his current reputation as persona non grata.

Simmons' selection at lock might raise some eyebrows and while it was a close call with Kane Douglas, it is hard to overlook the Queenslander's longevity and his 101 Tests of Wallabies service.