Which Australian footballers would you want in your post-apocalyptic group?

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“My job is to sit by the buzzer and wait, wait for the action, wait for the end times, the end times.”

– Ball Park Music, 2018.

So, the world is ending, apparently. Naturally, everyone needs a plan for if they survive the impending doomsday, which is currently surging towards us with all the force of a Kevin Muscat tackle.

If literature, films, TV shows and video games have taught us anything, groups of survivors will band together and form a rag-tag rabble of a group which finds the means to survive and eventually realises the real family is the friends they make along the way.

If I am to survive, I want to be accompanied by a team who all have various skill sets and preferably, who also like football. And given we are all currently practising the art of social distancing, I will not have access to the Messis or the Iniestas or the Cantonas of this world. So my options are narrowed down to Australian footballers, or footballers based in Australia.

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It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

Tony Popovic

A strict general who likes his charges to march in two banks of four with no talking, thank you very much. Players have spoken of the discipline and self-belief Popa installs in his teams and his attention to detail is legendary. If he tells you to do something, you do it straight away or suffer the consequences. If there is one person I want keeping me honest to ensure my own survival, it is Tony P.

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Steven Taylor

Everyone needs a pair of long pins if a scrap eventuates. Taylor has spent the past two seasons providing safety and reassurance at the heart of defence for Wellington, and I have no doubt he would be able to provide a strong backbone to a group fighting for survival, just as the Nix have done at times during their history. A master in the art of shithousery, Taylor’s ability to wind up others would have you in stitches and keep morale high within the party. Plus, the guy knows how to jet-ski, which I feel may come in handy when the earth begins to crumble.

Lawrence Thomas

Time and time again, we have witnessed Thomas throw himself into compromising situations to protect his team. Arguably the safest pair of hands in the A-League, Thomas has shown his shot-stopping ability is matched only by his courage. It’s relaxing to know he has got your back when the proverbial hits the fan. Thomas has already demonstrated a Black Knight-esque ability to take his lumps and carry on (“Tis’ only a flesh wound”) and I’m certain he knows how to bandage a potentially serious injury.

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Katrina Gorry

An easy choice. Gorry keeps things ticking over in the heart of the Matildas and Brisbane midfields, ensuring everything runs smoothly and plans go off without a hitch. The perfect general, she knows when to calm the troops and shift the tempo up a gear to catch her enemies by surprise. Do not let the ‘Mini’ nickname fool you; when the chips are down, you want her on your side.

Milos Ninkovic

Every hunting party needs the one who uses their intuition to make things happen. When all hope seems lost, you need someone to get creative and as he has shown over the course of his Sydney tenure, Ninkovic lives outside of the Sky Blues’ rigid framework, a mastermind able to solve any problem his side faces. Ninkovic has the ability to escape any compromising situation and if you are in a jam, there are not many, if any, A-League players you would want helping you to escape. Plus, he seems like such an affable guy it would be hard to imagine him causing any friction within the group.

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Clare Polkinghorne

Arguably the most beloved Brisbane-based footballer since Broich, Polkinghorne is well-respected by the peers and pundits alike. A veteran of more than 100 W-League and 100 Matildas games, there is a certain sense of reassurance which comes with watching Polks go about her business. And when the going gets tough, you want to feel relaxed. She’s also won a couple of W-League titles, she knows success like the back of her hand and everyone seems to like her; I am yet to hear anyone say a bad think about Polks. She is also arguably the Matildas’ unsung hero, and lord knows we will need a few of them where we’re going.

Matt Simon

I know what you are thinking – why choose a guy with a notoriously short fuse and penchant for feuding with opposing clans? He is more likely to result in the group imploding or being thrown to the wolves than safeguarding you.

There are a few things we know about Simon: he is tenacious, physical and unafraid of getting his shirt torn. And also, scary as hell if he is not on your side and he sure ain’t here to [redacted] spiders. If you came across a pent-up Simon in an apocalyptic wasteland with an itch to scratch, just waiting for you to make his day and look at him funny, you would steer well clear. He is Charlie Day in the back of the van and every group needs a wildcard.

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Alex Wilkinson

A natural born leader. The PFA president has the respect of his peers and is one of most likable players in the A-League. He knows when to speak, when to act, and when to snuff out a moment of danger. He has seen it all – from national titles to the heady heights of the World Cup. A mountain who can soothe fears and lead from the front, he inspires the sort of confidence which makes people run through walls.

Sam Kerr

Who the hell wouldn’t want her in their survival group?

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