The ACA Sheffield Shield All*Star Team of the Year was announced today, after the playing group voted on who they considered to be the most valuable across the Sheffield Shield season.
The ACA All-Star Sheffield Shield Team of the Year
George Bailey (c)
Chris Hartley (WK)
Simon Mackin (12th)
Retiring Queensland wicket-keeper Chris Hartley was included after a typically stoic year, where he amassed 535 runs and broke the Sheffield Shield dismissals record.
Hartley was delighted to be included in the team, after players were given the opportunity to vote on who they felt had the biggest impact upon the competition.
"One of the best things about the cricket careers we enjoy is those great contests with your teammates, and the thing that I most enjoyed was the battles with quality opposition.
"It doesn't matter which team you are playing against there is always a hard-fought battle.
"To then be recognised by those same players that you're pitted against week in, week out, is a very special thing, so I am very honoured."
Hartley will retire with 564 dismissals and 6138 runs, but dismissed claims that he perhaps retired too early, saying that 'it is always better to be a year too soon, than a year too late'.
He affirmed that it was a clear mind frame, and a desire to enjoy his last year of cricket, that led to him being selected by the playing group.
"One of the things I wanted to do towards the back end of my career was to just really enjoy my cricket and find a way to make a major contribution in every game I play for Queensland," Hartley said.
"Those two things were the real motivators for me and I think when you're relaxed like that and you play with a bit of freedom you inevitably play your best cricket.
"I very much enjoyed my cricket this year so it's no surprise that I was able to play some of the better cricket of my career.
Signing off from first-class cricket, Hartley feels that Shield cricket is in a strong place in Australia, and needs to remain that way in order to continue to keep developing the next generation of Australian players.
"Sheffield Shield when I started was the toughest breeding ground you could have; in my eyes it still is and needs to remain that way, if we are to have the Australian team at the top of the tree, which is what everyone wants" Hartley said.
Tasmanian captain George Bailey was selected as captain in the ACA Team of the Year, and to bat at no.4, after 839 runs this campaign.
Joe Burns (724 runs) and Ed Cowan (959 runs) were selected to open, with Hilton Cartwright (861 runs), Moises Henriques (775 runs) and Ashton Turner (742 runs) rounding out the batsman.
Chad Sayers was an obvious inclusion in the team, after sensational 62 wicket year with South Australia.
Jason Behrendorff (37 wickets), Chris Tremain (42 wickets) and Jon Holland (42 wickets) were the remainder of the bowling attack picked by players.
Western Australian Simon Mackin was selected as 12th man, after 35 wickets in the 2016-17 campaign.
ACA Male Operations Manager Brendan Drew congratulated all included in the team.
"To be selected in this team, alongside the most valuable players in the Sheffield Shield, is a huge achievement of which the players should be proud," Drew said.
"Any award that a player receives is special, but an award selected by your peers is the greatest honour."