Selwood playing for Geelong in August 2018
|Full name||Joel Anthony Selwood|
|Date of birth||26 May 1988|
|Place of birth||Bendigo, Victoria|
Bendigo Pioneers (TAC Cup)
|Draft||No. 7, 2006 national draft|
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||84 kg (185 lb)|
|Representative team honours|
|International team honours|
|2014, 2017||Australia||2 (0)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2020.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 2017.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
A standout junior track and field athlete and footballer, Selwood entered top-level football early, joining the TAC Cup competition as a bottom-aged player. His accomplishments as a junior included Most Valuable Player awards at state and international levels, captaining Australia in the International Rules Series, and selection in the All-Australian and TAC Cup Team of the Year sides. Despite a serious knee injury during his final year of junior football, Selwood was selected with Geelong's first pick, and seventh overall, in the 2006 AFL Draft.
Selwood made his AFL debut in 2007, winning the AFL Rising Star Award and AFLPA Best First Year Player Award. He has since become a triple premiership player, a NAB Cup winner, a six-time All-Australian—three times as captain—a triple Carji Greeves Medallist, a Michael Tuck Medallist, an AFLPA Best Captain Award winner, and a four-time recipient of the AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award. Selwood has also captained Australia in the International Rules Series, represented the Victorian state team as the youngest player to feature in the all-star event, and has been awarded life membership with Geelong. Selwood holds one of the highest winning percentage records of any player in VFL-AFL history, helping the club reach three successive AFL Grand Finals from 2007 to 2009 and another in 2011. After serving one season as the club vice-captain in 2011, Selwood was appointed as the captain of Geelong at the beginning of 2012 following the retirement of Cameron Ling.
Joel Selwood was born to Bryce and Maree Selwood in the country town of Bendigo, Victoria. He was raised in a family of sportspeople. His mother Maree was a top runner and tennis player, and elder twins Adam and Troy were identified as talented footballers at a young age. As a two-year-old, Selwood was forced to wear splints on his leg to help overcome a walking disability.
Selwood displayed athletic talent from an early age. He was the state hurdling champion from under-10s through to the under-15s, and in one year held every running and jumping record at the Bendigo Sports Centre, except the 100 metres sprint. Growing up with his older brothers, Selwood was accustomed to playing with bigger teammates and opponents. By age eight, he had played his first competitive game of football, against children four years his senior, and had kicked three goals. Selwood attended Catholic College Bendigo and played junior football with the Sandhurst Football Club, until he was chosen to play for the Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup competition throughout 2005.
Although his age made him ineligible to enter the 2005 AFL Draft, Selwood's accomplishments during the year led to AFL Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan rating him "the best 17-year-old in Australia". Bendigo Pioneers regional manager Ray Byrne noted that "ability-wise, Joel was streets ahead of everyone. Even at an early age, he was a standout". Byrne praised Selwood's professionalism, writing that he had "never seen a kid prepare in the TAC Cup like Joel [Selwood]. He had a fantastic football brain, he could sort it out within 10 minutes of a game who should be where and (doing) what". Selwood received an array of accolades and honours as a bottom-aged player, winning mid-year State honours for Victoria Country in the AFL National Championships. His performances in the championships earned him end-of-year All-Australian honours and the Most Valuable Player award for Victoria Country. In addition, he was named in the TAC Cup Team of the Year, awarded a scholarship within the prestigious AIS-AFL Academy, and subsequently captained his older teammates in the annual under-18s International Rules Series in Ireland. His performances in Ireland earned him the Ron Barassi Medal, as the adjudicated Most Valuable Player of the tour. Selwood's achievements in local football were recognised when he was listed as a finalist in the 2006 Bendigo Sports Star of the Year Award.
Returning in 2006 with the Pioneers, Selwood entered his final year of junior football as one of the top rated prospects in his age group. His achievements at the junior level were recognised early by the AFL Players Association, when he was awarded the Mike Fitzpatrick Scholarship, and the AFL Life Members Education Fund Award. Rewarded with the captaincy of Bendigo for his final season, Selwood again won mid-year State honours for Victoria Country. However, a knee injury occurred only six rounds into the competition forcing him to undergo surgery—his fourth knee operation within two years—prematurely ending his season.
2007–2008: Early career
Selwood was drafted by the Geelong Football Club with their first selection, and was the seventh overall draft pick in the 2006 AFL Draft. Although many recruiting scouts viewed him as "the finest pure footballer in the draft", and a potential top pick, there was still concern surrounding the durability of his knee. Nonetheless, as the equal highest-ever draft pick for the Cats, Selwood made his debut in the opening round of the 2007 AFL Season and missed only four games during the regular season.
Selwood's transition to the AFL drew positive comments throughout the footballing community; former Brisbane coach Leigh Matthews noted how "from [his] first game ... he looked like he had played 200 of them". Geelong coach Mark Thompson labelled the 18-year-old Selwood the best youngster to have come under his tutelage during his time at the club. Geelong captain Tom Harley observed that an 18-year-old Selwood had "an air of confidence – not arrogance but assuredness" that he had never seen before at that age. From the beginning, Selwood showed an ability to influence games; in just his fourth appearance he led his older and more experienced teammates with a game of 25 disposals and nine tackles. This achievement, described as inspiring, earned him an AFL Rising Star Award nomination. The Geelong coaching staff had a highlights package made of this performance, to screen to the rest of the team during the match review later that week. Selwood's impact on the game as a first–year player prompted numerous comparisons to Chris Judd, who a few years earlier had been lauded for his first-year success as an 18-year-old.
At the conclusion of the home and away period, Selwood's regular contributions resulted in several individual accolades. Polling 44 out of a possible 45 votes, he was awarded the inaugural Ron Evans Medal as the winner of the AFL Rising Star Award. Selwood earned the maximum five votes from eight of the nine judges, the other awarding him four out of five. This meant that eight of the nine judges rated him as the best nominee. Selwood was also awarded the prestigious AFLPA Best First Year Player Award, winning over 70% of all votes from his peers. He became only the fourth player to win both the major awards for first–year players.
Having helped Geelong finish first on the ladder and win the McClelland Trophy, Selwood made his finals debut in the 2nd Qualifying Final against the Kangaroos (now North Melbourne) at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). In front of nearly 80,000 spectators, Selwood amassed 22 disposals, five marks, five clearances, six inside 50s, five tackles, and five score assists, helping Geelong to a club finals record 106 point victory. Although Selwood struggled to contribute in the Preliminary Final against Collingwood two weeks later, he returned to form for the 2007 AFL Grand Final at the MCG against Port Adelaide. With 18 disposals, five marks, five clearances—the most of any Geelong player—seven inside 50s, four tackles, and an equal game-high four score assists, Selwood helped the Cats to a record 119 point win. At 19 years of age, Selwood became the youngest person to play in a winning Grand Final team in 10 years. He was also the first to win the AFL Rising Star Award and play in a premiership side within the same season, making him one of the most accomplished first year players in league history. Selwood's debut year achievements resulted in him becoming the highest-paid first–year player in AFL history.
Selwood finished the season ranked first among all first–year players in several major statistical categories; total possessions (405), disposals per game (19.3), kicks (216), handpasses (189), marks (109), tackles (94)—the most ever by any first–year AFL player—and tackles per game (4.5). His 23 score assists during the season also ranked him within the top ten in the league. Selwood added to his list of first year honours at season's end with the Geelong Football Club Best First Year Player Award, along with a top 20 placing in the Club Champion award. He also received several media end of year sporting awards.
Selwood continued to establish himself as a key player in the Geelong midfield during the 2008 AFL season, helping the Cats achieve a record-equalling 21-win season and secure the McClelland Trophy for the second successive year. Selwood also claimed the third–longest all-time winning streak by an individual player in VFL/AFL history; 25 successive wins before a mid-season loss to Collingwood. His standout season was rewarded when he was selected to play for Victoria in the AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match All-Star event. In gaining selection for the Victorian team, Selwood, aged 19, became the youngest player to represent "The Big V" in more than 12 years. He was also selected for the preliminary 2008 All-Australian squad, placed sixth for the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFLPA Most Valuable Player, and finished third in voting for the Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award. Selwood also polled 19 votes in the Brownlow Medal, awarded to the "best and fairest" player in the AFL, to place fifth overall, and second among his teammates. Selwood's consistency and performances over his first two seasons was also recognised by the AFL Coaches Association, who awarded him the Best Young Player Award. Geelong qualified for the finals series and progressed to the Grand Final for the second consecutive year, but were defeated by Hawthorn. Selwood's performance in the final, during which he gathered 29 disposals—including a team-high nine contested possessions—six marks, six tackles, and six inside 50s, were recognised as he placed fourth in Norm Smith Medal voting for best afield in the Grand Final.
Selwood's year, during which he averaged more than 25 disposals, 4 marks, and 4 tackles per game, was also rewarded with a top five finish in the Carji Greeves Medal (Geelong's Best and Fairest). He finished the season ranked within the top ten in the league for possessions (613), disposals per game (25.5), and handpasses (327). His total of 63 free kicks earned during the season was also the highest recorded since the AFL began in 1990, breaking the previous record of 54 set by Luke Darcy five years earlier.
With his rookie contract due to expire, concern mounted during the year over Geelong's ability to retain Selwood beyond the season. With almost half of their premiership–winning team out of contract, Geelong could only offer contracts paying significantly less than other clubs. However, Selwood signed a new two–year deal with the club, citing "club success and future opportunities" as his reasons for accepting the reduced salary.
2009–2011: Continued success
Before the 2009 AFL season, Selwood was appointed to the club's seven-man leadership group at just 20 years of age. After the 2008 AFL Grand Final loss ended Geelong's previous season, Selwood and his teammates began their 2009 campaign by capturing the pre-season NAB Cup for the second time in four years. Selwood's 33 disposals, 11 clearances, and 2 goals earned him the Michael Tuck Medal as the player adjudged best afield in this final. In round five, Selwood made his 50th senior appearance, setting a new VFL/AFL record for the highest percentage of wins inside 50 games. His involvement in 46 victories set a winning percentage of 92 percent. In addition, Selwood's 50th appearance coincided with the club's own record-setting effort for the most successful 50 game stretch in VFL/AFL history. Geelong had won 47 out of 50 games—Selwood had been involved in 46—eclipsing Essendon's return of 46 wins and 4 losses during their dominant stretch during the 1999–2001 seasons.
During the round seventeen Grand Final rematch against Hawthorn, Selwood achieved career highs of 42 disposals, 10 marks, and 11 tackles. Geelong midfielder Cameron Ling described Selwood's performance as: "Absolutely amazing... He just single-handedly lifted the whole group with his intensity around the ball. It's surprising that he's only in his third year. He's something pretty special". Selwood helped Geelong compile an 18–4 win-loss record during the season to become the first team in league history to produce three consecutive home and away campaigns with 18 or more wins. Geelong qualified for the finals series in second position on the ladder, before reaching the preliminary final for the third consecutive season. Selwood matched a career–high in finals games with 29 disposals and 9 marks during the Cats 73 point win over Collingwood, leading the club to their third successive Grand Final appearance. During the final against St Kilda, Selwood addressed the playing group with a "stirring speech" as Geelong entered the half–time break trailing by 6 points. Teammate Andrew Mackie lauded Selwood as "a born leader" and credited the team's second half turnaround to Selwood's reminder to "go back to basics and focus upon tackling". Selwood finished the game with 24 disposals—including a team–high 12 contested possessions and equal game–high 16 handpasses—4 marks, 6 clearances, a team–high 10 first possessions, 3 tackles, and 1 goal to help the Cats record a 12-point win and secure their second premiership in three seasons.
Selwood's standout year was recognised by his peers when he became the youngest-ever winner of the AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award, and placed fifth for the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFLPA Most Valuable Player. Selwood also finished sixth in the Brownlow Medal, polling 16 votes to finish second at Geelong behind eventual winner Gary Ablett. He became the first footballer to win the Bendigo Sports Star of the Year Award, adding to his season's list of accolades. After averaging 28 disposals and 5 tackles per game over the course of the season, Selwood was also awarded with All-Australian honours for the first time in his career and a second successive top five placing for the Carji Greeves Medal. Selwood finished the year ranked fourth in the league for total disposals (691), third for total handpasses (389), second for contested possessions (236) and eighth for hard-ball gets. For the second successive season, he also led the league for total free kicks earned (59) and finished the year ranked within the top five at Geelong in several major statistical categories.
Prior to the 2010 AFL season, Selwood was retained as the youngest member of the club's revamped leadership group. Despite being unable to defend their NAB Cup title over the pre-season, Geelong re-signed Selwood to a new two-year contract with the club. Selwood highlighted his desire to "give a little bit back (to Geelong) by working hard and working through the next era of Geelong football". During the home and away campaign, Selwood set various personal milestones: in a round six fixture against Richmond, Selwood made a career–high 29 handpasses—also the third–highest recorded in AFL history—while in a round nineteen match against Collingwood he gathered a career–high 20 contested possessions. In total, Selwood made 24 appearances during the season to help the club achieve a 17–5 record and qualify for the finals series in second position on the ladder. Geelong faced a 2009 Grand Final rematch against St Kilda during the first week of the finals series, and were defeated in a qualifying final for the first time in four years. Selwood was restricted to just four disposals in the first half of the qualifying final loss, his lowest return in a half of football since his debut match in 2007. The following week, he responded with a 33 disposal semi-final performance to help Geelong defeat Fremantle and progress to the preliminary final. However, Geelong's defeat to Collingwood subsequently denied them a chance at a second consecutive Grand Final win.
Despite the club's lack of any silverware for the first time in four years, Selwood's individual season was recognised and rewarded on various fronts. He was once again nominated by his peers for both the AFLPA Most Valuable Player Award and the AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award, placing fifth and second overall respectively. During the 2010 Brownlow Medal count, Selwood polled 21 votes to place fourth overall and second at Geelong behind Gary Ablett, Jr. (26 votes). Selwood was selected in the All-Australian team for the second successive year, and also placed third in the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year Award. He also won his first Carji Greeves Medal, awarded for being the Geelong Football Club's best and fairest player during the 2010 season. Selwood finished the season ranked eighth in the league for total disposals (677), third for total handpasses (388)—also the 10th most in AFL history—second for total free kicks earned (53), and seventh for total inside 50s (110). Selwood highlighted his consistency by gathering over 20 disposals in 21 of 24 games—11 of which were games with 30 or more disposals—and compiling a six-game streak during which he gathered over 30 possessions from Round 13 to Round 18.
After serving for two years in the club's leadership group, Selwood was promoted to the vice-captaincy position for the 2011 AFL Season. During the round eight match against Collingwood, Selwood made his 100th appearance for the club. He became the fifth-quickest player in VFL/AFL history to play 100 games, reaching the milestone four years and forty-two days after making his debut. Selwood's consistency was highlighted by his ability to play in 100 of a possible 106 games since entering the league. His record of 85 wins, together with his numerous awards and achievements, led to Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge proclaiming the milestone as "probably the most highly credentialed 100 games anyone has ever played".
Following the round twelve match against Hawthorn, Selwood was reported for a striking offense against Brent Guerra and subsequently suspended for four matches. It was the first time Selwood had been reported and suspended during his career. Selwood continued to set various milestones throughout the season; he collected a career-high 43 disposals against Melbourne in round nineteen, kicked a career-best 3 goals against Gold Coast in round twenty, and equalled a career-best 11 tackles in both round nineteen against Melbourne and round twenty-four against Collingwood.
Selwood and Geelong finished the season with a 19–3 win-loss record to qualify for the finals series in second position on the ladder. Following consecutive wins against Hawthorn in the Qualifying Final and West Coast in the Preliminary Final, Geelong progressed through to the Grand Final against Collingwood. Selwood's performance in the final, during which he gathered a team-high 28 disposals, laid 7 tackles, and kicked 2 goals, were recognised as he placed runner-up in Norm Smith Medal voting for the adjudicated best afield player. Geelong defeated Collingwood to record a 38-point victory and earn Selwood his third premiership medallion in five seasons. Selwood's was recognised with various nominations at the end of the season; he was named to the preliminary All-Australian squad, and was once again nominated by his peers for both the AFLPA Most Valuable Player Award and the AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award. He collected at least 20 disposals in 18 of his 20 games for the season and ranked equal first for inside 50s (114) at the club.
2012–present: Captaining the Cats
Following the retirement of Cameron Ling, Selwood was appointed as the club captain prior to the 2012 AFL season. His elevation made him the youngest captain of the Geelong Football Club in more than a decade. At the time of his appointment, Selwood admitted to "always wanting to lead the Geelong Football Club in a manner, if I was captain or not captain" and being driven to "want to make this football club successful for a long time". Geelong proceeded to re-sign Selwood on a five-year contract—the first time the club had handed out a long-term contract of that length since Gary Ablett, Sr. in 1987.
During the season, Geelong coach Chris Scott praised Selwood as "probably the toughest player I've ever seen...he gets hit in the head a lot...he just sees the ball and he puts his head down and he goes as hard as anyone possibly could". Despite Selwood's individual efforts, the Cats finished with a 15–7 win-loss record at the conclusion of the season to finish sixth on the ladder. This represented the first time in Selwood's career that the club had not qualified with a double chance for the finals series, setting them up for an Elimination Final match against Fremantle. Despite Selwood's contribution of a game-high 28 disposals and team-high six inside-50s, the Cats were defeated by 16 points and exited the finals series—the first time that the club had failed to progress beyond the first week since Selwood had begun his career.
Selwood's performances throughout the season firmed his position as Geelong's top midfielder; he gathered more possessions than any of his teammates and ranked within the top ten throughout the league for clearances per game, contested possessions per game, and inside-50s per game—culminating in his second placing to Tom Hawkins for the Carji Greeves Medal and a nomination to the preliminary All-Australian squad. In 2012, he won the AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award for the second time in his career, sharing the honour with Beau Waters. His impressive first year as club captain was also recognised as he finished runner-up in the AFLPA Best Captain Award voting. Selwood's accomplishments and achievements at the club were honoured when he was presented with life membership of the Geelong Football Club after just six seasons.
Selwood and Geelong began the 2013 AFL season on a seven-game winning streak before finishing with an improved 18–4 win-loss record to qualify in second position for the finals series. During the season, Selwood made his 150th appearance for the club and set a club record for the fastest 150 games played from debut (six years and one hundred and four days). In doing so, Selwood surpassed the previous record set by Jack Hawkins (seven years and four days). He also became the third youngest player (25 years, 48 days) in club history to reach 150 games, behind only Ken Newland (24 years, 85 days) and Gary Ablett, Jr. (24 years, 339 days). He also set a VFL/AFL record for the greatest winning percentage amongst 150 game players, having won 124 of his first 150 games (83% winning percentage) since debuting in 2007.
Following his 150th appearance, Selwood displayed an improved goal kicking ability by kicking 17 goals in the remaining 7 games of the season. Coach Chris Scott acknowledged that Selwood had identified goal kicking as an area of improvement within his game, and credited Selwood for taking responsibility to work hard and improve at it. Geelong began their finals series against Fremantle in a Qualifying Final, but were defeated by 15 points. The defeat forced the club into a Semi Final against Port Adelaide—the first finals game between both clubs since the 2007 AFL Grand Final. Selwood contributed 27 disposals, 4 marks, and 4 tackles to lead Geelong to a 16-point victory—his first finals win as captain. The win ensured Geelong's progression through to the Preliminary Final against Hawthorn, to play-off for a position in the 2013 AFL Grand Final. Despite Selwood's contribution of 23 disposals, 4 tackles, and 1 goal however, the Cats were defeated by 5 points and finished the season in third place.
Selwood's elevated performances throughout the season were recognised and rewarded through several end of season awards. He was named to his third All-Australian as the starting centerman and honoured with the captaincy of the All-Australian team for the first time in his career. He won his first ever AFLPA Best Captain Award whilst also being honoured with his second consecutive, and third overall AFLPA Robert Rose Award as the adjudicated most courageous player. Selwood also placed as the runner-up to Gary Ablett for both the AFLPA Most Valuable Player Award and the Brownlow Medal, his highest placing for both individual awards. He also finished third in the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year Award. Having finished the season at the club with the most clearances (128), second most disposals (615), second most tackles (140), second most inside 50s (103), fourth most goals (30), and third most goal assists (20), he was awarded a second Carji Greeves Medal.
Despite a hamstring injury during the pre-season, Selwood made a recovery to lead Geelong to an unbeaten record over the first five rounds of the 2014 home and away period. He averaged over 27 disposals, 6 tackles, and a goal during the winning streak until the club suffered their first loss for the season against Port Adelaide in round six. Geelong were defeated a further three times over the following two months, coinciding with Selwood's lower averages of 19 disposals and 4 tackles a game. Despite his overall inconsistent performances, Selwood was praised for his ability to make key contributions during games; he kicked the winning goal against Carlton in round twelve and scored 3 goals against St Kilda in round thirteen from only 11 disposals. Coach Scott lauded him as having "a mark of a great player" who could "find a way to change things ... and play his best when the game was demanding it" even after "struggling at times within games and when it seemingly isn’t going (his) way". Carlton coach Mick Malthouse similarly praised Selwood as "an outstanding player ... he wills his side to win" and the player he would pick to have in his own team if given the choice. Selwood and the Cats finished the season with a 17–5 win-loss record to qualify in third position for the finals series. In the qualifying final against Hawthorn, Selwood gathered 31 disposals, 16 contested possessions, 9 clearances, 6 tackles, and 3 goals but was unable to prevent a 36-point defeat. To defeat North Melbourne in the semi-final to remain in the finals, Selwood accumulated 24 disposals, a game-high 16 contested possessions, a game-high 11 clearances, and 8 tackles. However, he was again unable to prevent 6 point defeat and Geelong were eliminated from the finals series. The loss was the first time that Selwood had experienced consecutive defeats in a finals series with Geelong.
Despite his team's exit from the finals series, Selwood was recognised and rewarded for his individual season through several end of season awards. He was named to his fourth overall All-Australian team as the starting ruck rover, and was honoured with the captaincy for the second successive season. He also won his third consecutive, and fourth overall AFLPA Robert Rose Award as the adjudicated most courageous player. In addition, he placed second for the AFLPA Best Captain Award, eighth overall for the AFLPA Most Valuable Player Award, seventh in voting for the AFL Coaches Association Champion Player of the Year Award, and fourth overall in the Brownlow Medal. Selwood's 21 votes in the 2014 Brownlow Medal count saw him set a new club record for most career polled Brownlow Medal votes by a Geelong player. With 137 votes across 8 seasons, he ranked ahead of Garry Hocking, who had previously held the club record with 133 votes in 15 seasons. His role throughout the season was demonstrated as he led the team in total disposals (614), tackles (144), clearances (153), and inside 50s (100) while kicking the third most goals (24) and providing the second most goal assists (20). In recognition, he won the club Coach's Award, as well as his second Carji Greeves Medal as the adjudicated club best and fairest player of the year. He became the seventh player in the club's history to win at least three Carji Greeves Medal's.
During the off-season, Selwood was appointed as the national team captain of Australia for the 2014 International Rules Series against Ireland. Playing in the midfield, Selwood kicked one over in the lone test match and led Australia to a 56–46 win against Ireland. Winning their 20th test match against Ireland, Australia reclaimed the Cormac McAnallen Trophy for the first time since 2010.
In the 2015 AFL season, Selwood produced several strong performances early in the season despite the team's shaky start. Against Gold Coast in Round 3, Selwood led Geelong to a 9-point win with 38 disposals—23 of which were contested possessions—8 clearances, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50s, and a goal. His performance prompted his teammate Mitch Duncan to declare him as "an extraordinary player" whilst his coach Scott suggested that "his teammates should consider it a privilege to be playing alongside him". In Round 19 against Sydney, Selwood made his 200th appearance for the club and led Geelong to victory with 35 disposals, 6 marks, and 6 inside 50s. His milestone appearance at 27 years of age made him the youngest player in club history to play 200 games. He also became the fourth-fastest player in VFL/AFL history to play 200 games after achieving the milestone in 8 years and 129 days. With the departure of several experienced teammates over the previous three seasons, Selwood was responsible for leading an inexperienced midfield throughout the season. Often matched up against opposition taggers and receiving minimal support, Selwood struggled with consistency. Despite leading the team in several statistical categories and averaging career highs in clearances, Selwood recorded his lowest disposal average since his first year, as well as his lowest disposal efficiency, lowest uncontested possession average, and highest clanger average of his career. His inconsistent performances coincided with Geelong consequently finishing the year in tenth place with an 11–1–10 win-draw-loss record, thus missing out on qualifying for the finals series for the first time in Selwood's career.
Selwood also failed to be nominated into the All-Australian squad or final team for the first time since his debut season. However, he was once again nominated for the AFLPA Most Valuable Player Award, the AFLPA Best Captain Award, and the AFLPA Robert Rose Award. In March 2018, Selwood played his 250th game, becoming the third-quickest player to reach the milestone in VFL/AFL history.
Selwood and Geelong finished the 2020 season 4th on the table to qualify for the finals, with a win-loss ratio of 12–6, the season being shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Geelong lost to Port Adelaide in the first qualifying final, before convincingly defeating both Collingwood in the first semi-final and Brisbane in the second preliminary final to advance to the 2020 AFL Grand Final against Richmond. Selwood gained 21 disposals in the final, Geelong's second-highest total behind Mitch Duncan, with 14 kicks and 7 handballs. Selwood also achieved a team-high 6 clearances and was second for Geelong with 5 tackles, behind Brandan Parfitt. However, his individual performance was not enough to subdue the Tigers, and Geelong ultimately lost the premiership to Richmond by 31 points.
Selwood has spent the majority of his career playing as an inside midfielder.
Having ranked highly across numerous major statistical categories since his first year, Selwood is considered one of the most consistent and well-rounded players in the league. Regarded as one of the league's most physical and tough players, he has been praised for playing "with a physicality and intensity that is the benchmark of the competition". He has also gained a reputation as one of the league's most courageous players, highlighted by his four Robert Rose Awards—the most of any current player in the league. His physical and courageous approach however, has resulted in various concussion or head–related injuries during his career. This has prompted commentary regarding Selwood's long–term well–being.
Because of his aggressive style-of-play, Selwood has gathered a reputation as a "head–over–the–ball specialist" and for consistently putting himself in positions to break tackles and win free kicks. His ability to "buckle his knees, (get) down and pull his arm up so that the tackler's arm goes up above the neck" has been declared by former Hawthorn captain Shane Crawford as "almost impossible to stop at times" and is reflected in his regular standing among league leaders for total free kicks received. It has also led to opposition players noting specific techniques to tackling Selwood—Carlton's Kade Simpson admitted it was important to "get in low" because "he’s such a master at lifting the elbows, which tries to slip the tackle up around the neck ... there’s no doubt it’s a skill". Selwood has declared the technique as a "benefit and an advantage I’m getting at the moment on someone else because I see a weakness in what they are doing ... the majority of the time they are doing 95 per cent of the tackle right. It’s just that five per cent where I can use my upper body strength, I can dip at the knees slightly". Former Brisbane Lions captain Michael Voss agrees, stating "all he’s doing is keeping his feet, dropping his legs and he’s got a fantastic tenchique in rolling his shoulder ... Selwood shouldn’t be penalised because he’s stronger than the tackler. If I was playing today and I could develop that technique, I’d be looking at it".
Selwood's leadership ability has consistently been praised, culminating in his appointment as club captain at the age of 23 and national team captain at the age of 26. On the field, he is noted for his ability to regularly inspire teammates by "leading not just with his voice but with his actions". Hall of Fame member Wayne Carey regards Selwood as a "once-in-a-generation leader" and the league's "greatest current-day match-winner".
Off the field, he has been praised by teammates for his professionalism in driving standards and attention to preparation. Selwood has summarised his leadership style on the field as "getting into that emotional state where you'd just do anything for your teammates", and off the field as "caring for your teammates and making sure they're OK and you're making them better people". He considers his predecessors at Geelong, Tom Harley and Cameron Ling, as his greatest role models for leadership. Melbourne captain Nathan Jones declared that Selwood's leadership qualities were those he respected and strove to emulate as a fellow AFL captain.
Selwood has stated his career intention to "work really hard on the basics". Despite his admitting to being "not the fastest player, or most skillful", his hard running, tackling and one percent plays are important elements to his overall game. Throughout his career, Selwood has carried an above–average disposal efficiency of 75%. Footballing experts have praised his decision-making ability when considering his overall productivity with the football, with Leigh Matthews complimenting Selwood as "the best wet-weather player in the game".
A member of the Selwood family, Selwood is the third of four children born to Bryce and Maree Selwood. He has three brothers, all having been listed with AFL clubs; two older brothers, twins Adam (played for West Coast) and Troy (played for the Brisbane Lions and a previous Geelong VFL captain) and a younger brother, Scott (previously played for West Coast, now plays for Geelong with Joel). Maree was awarded the 2005 AFL Players Association Mother of the Year Award for her contribution to football through each of her sons. Selwood is also a descendant of the three Crapper brothers, granduncles to Maree, each of whom played VFL football in the 1930s.
Since winning the National Australia Bank-sponsored AFL Rising Star Award, Selwood has been involved in several promotions for the bank, in an ambassadorial role and in several television advertisement appearances. He is also an ambassador for the AFL's junior development program, Auskick, annually acting as a mentor for the junior player deemed 'Auskicker of the Year'. Along with his parents and brothers, Selwood works on behalf of the Seeing Eye Dogs Association (SEDA) organisation. Selwood and his family sponsor pups who are being trained as a seeing eye dogs—one named "Selwood" in his family's honour. SEDA has said that the family's widespread dispersal around Australia, with Adam and Scott in Western Australia, Joel and Troy remaining in Victoria, has helped to publicise the organisation's nationwide activity. During the 2010 season, Selwood was officially appointed as the club's community ambassador for various charitable community activities. Selwood subsequently became the public face of both the Cotton on Foundation and its sponsorship for the rebuilding of the children's ward at Geelong Hospital.
A lifelong supporter of the Geelong Football Club, Selwood cites the club's own Hall of Fame member Gary Ablett as a childhood idol, along with Sydney players Paul Kelly and Brett Kirk. He resides in Geelong West, where he lives with a pair of childhood friends. Prior to the 2009 AFL premiership season, Selwood was elected to the AFL Players Association committee as the Geelong alternate delegate representative. He has had several endorsement and promotional deals with companies including Asics and Smith's. Selwood also features in a special edition Monopoly AFL premiership gameboard, occupying Bow Street.
In May 2020 Selwood was criticised on social media after using his wife Brit, as a mop, after dunking her head in a bucket of water as part of a TikTok video which was later removed from the platform by Selwood. Caroline Wilson later commented on the 11 May edition of Footy Classified that after viewing the video her "pub test went, 'Nah'" and that "it was pretty stupid" whilst similarly suggesting that the Geelong Football Club were unimpressed with the video.
- Statistics are correct to the end of the 2020 season 
|Season||Team||No.||Games||Totals||Averages (per game)||Votes|
- The 2020 season was played with 17 home-and-away matches per team (down from 22) and 16-minute quarters with time on (down from 20-minute quarters with time on) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Honours and achievements
- AFL Premiership (Geelong): 2007, 2009, 2011
- McClelland Trophy (Geelong): 2007, 2008, 2019
- NAB Cup (Geelong): 2009
- Cormac McAnallen Cup (Australia): 2014, 2017
- All-Australian: 2009, 2010, 2013 (C), 2014 (C), 2016 (C), 2017
- Carji Greeves Medal: 2010, 2013, 2014
- AFLPA Best Captain Award: 2013
- AFLPA Robert Rose Most Courageous Player Award: 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014
- Michael Tuck Medal: 2009
- AFLCA Best Young Player Award: 2008
- AFL Rising Star Award: 2007
- AFLPA Best First Year Player Award: 2007
- Peter Badcoe VC Medal: 2016, 2018
- Geelong F.C. Most club votes in Brownlow Medal: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- Geelong F.C. Coach's Award: 2014
- Geelong F.C. Tom Harley Award for Best Clubman: 2011, 2013
- Geelong F.C. Community Champion Award: 2011
- Geelong F.C. Best First Year Player Award: 2007
- Captain of Australia in International Rules Series: 2014
- Victorian Representative Honours in AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match: 2008
- K-Rock Geelong Football Player of the Year: 2013, 2014
- Bendigo Sports Star of the Year Award: 2009
- Fox Sports Best First Year Player Award: 2007
- Captain of Geelong F.C.: 2012—present
- Vice-captain of Geelong F.C.: 2011
- Geelong F.C. Life Membership Inductee: 2012
- Only player in VFL/AFL history to win the AFL Rising Star Award and play in an AFL premiership within the same year: 2007
- Only Geelong player to win the AFL Rising Star Award: 2007
- Third-longest all-time streak for most consecutive victories by an AFL player (25 wins): 2008
- Fifth-fastest player in VFL/AFL history to reach 100 senior games (4 years and 42 days after debut): 2011
- Most career polled Brownlow votes by a Geelong player (137 votes): 2014
- Youngest player in Geelong history to play 200 senior games (27 years of age): 2015
- Fourth-fastest player in VFL/AFL history to reach 200 senior games (8 years and 129 days after debut): 2015
- Seventh-highest winning percentage record of any player in AFL history (77.21 percent): 2015
- List of Australian rules football families
- List of AFL debuts in 2007
- List of Geelong Football Club individual awards and records
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- August 2007 Interview with The Age