Main content

Best 22: Who makes the cut at your club?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Charlie Dixon of the Power is tackled by Nathan Broad of the Tigers during the 2016 NAB Challenge match between the Richmond Tigers and Port Adelaide Power at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on March 10, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Charlie Dixon has been recruited to boost the Power's forward line

B: Kyle Hartigan, Daniel Talia, Luke Brown
HB: Rory Laird, Jake Lever, Brodie Smith
C: Richard Douglas, Scott Thompson, Paul Seedsman
HF: Charlie Cameron, Taylor Walker, Tom Lynch
F: Eddie Betts, Josh Jenkins, Troy Menzel
FOLL: Sam Jacobs, Rory Sloane, Brad Crouch
INT: Matt Crouch, Curtly Hampton, Nathan van Berlo, Wayne Milera

Wayne Milera's electric start to his career – combined with the arrivals of Paul Seedsman, Curtly Hampton and Troy Menzel – has tightened the selection squeeze. Despite his fitness queries, Menzel is in Adelaide's best 22 on sheer talent alone. Nathan van Berlo was fighting back from his Achilles issue last season and is expected to return to his best after a full pre-season. There's plenty of depth through the middle, with a host of onballers pushing for spots, while David Mackay, Kyle Cheney and Ricky Henderson are among those counting themselves unlucky not to be in this side. - Travis King 

B: Dan McStay, Daniel Merrett, Ryan Harwood
HB: Sam Mayes, Harris Andrews, Tom Cutler
C: Pearce Hanley, Daniel Rich, Marco Paparone
HF: Tom Bell, Josh Schache, Allen Christensen
F: Josh Green, Josh Walker, Dayne Zorko
FOLL: Stefan Martin, Tom Rockliff, Dayne Beams
INT: Ryan Bastinac, Mitch Robinson, Lewis Taylor, Ryan Lester

With the off-season additions of Tom Bell, Ryan Bastinac and Josh Walker, along with the drafting of tall forward Josh Schache, the Lions have some genuine depth for the first time in a few years. Jono Freeman is a touch unlucky to miss out in the forward line, but Walker's bigger frame and ability to pinch-hit in the ruck gives him the nod. With Ryan Harwood and Tom Cutler in the back half, the Lions now have plenty of speed to break the lines, while Sam Mayes is one of their best ball users and can set up attack from the defensive 50. Marco Paparone edges Rohan Bewick for a wing spot, while draftees Rhys Mathieson and Ben Keays will also push for versatile Ryan Lester's position. - Michael Whiting 

Former Blue Tom Bell adds a big body to the Lions' midfield. Picture: AFL Media

B: Sam Rowe, Michael Jamison, Zach Tuohy
HB: Sam Docherty, Jacob Weitering, Kade Simpson
C: Ed Curnow, Bryce Gibbs, Blaine Boekhorst
HF: Andrejs Everitt, Simon White, Nick Graham
F: Andrew Walker, Levi Casboult, Sam Kerridge
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Patrick Cripps, Marc Murphy
Int: Andrew Phillips, Dylan Buckley, Dale Thomas, Matthew Wright 

Kicking a winning score is the major issue at Carlton and Simon White has the ability and adaptability to complement last year’s leading club goalkicker Andrejs Everitt along with Levi Casboult and Andrew Walker. Former Giant Andrew Phillips looms as the best support ruckman for the team’s most important player, Matthew Kreuzer. No.1 draft pick Jacob Weitering has shown in his two NAB Challenge games that he is worthy of a starting spot in the 18. Sam Kerridge has been impressive in the pre-season and another former Crow, Matthew Wright, wins a spot on the bench as another midfielder who can go forward and score. – Howard Kotton 

B: Alan Toovey, Nathan Brown, Tyson Goldsack
HB: Tom Langdon, Ben Reid, Marley Williams
C: Steele Sidebottom, Adam Treloar, Jack Crisp
HF: Dane Swan, Darcy Moore, Travis Varcoe
F: Jamie Elliott, Travis Cloke, Alex Fasolo
FOLL: Brodie Grundy, Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams
INT: Levi Greenwood, Jeremy Howe, Jordan De Goey, James Aish 

This team is contingent on the fitness of stars Ben Reid and Jamie Elliott, along with Tyson Goldsack, who is battling knee tendinitis but at his best is an important player for his versatility and battle hardness. If either he or Reid are unavailable, the Pies can call on the likes of stiff pair Jonathon Marsh and Jack Frost. All three high-profile recruits get a guernsey – Adam Treloar slots straight into the centre while Jeremy Howe and James Aish were favoured for their flexibility, class and, importantly, their kicking skills in a team needing more quality ball users. Elevated rookie Corey Gault misses out, but the Pies risk being top-heavy if he plays alongside Travis Cloke and Darcy Moore. On form, Gault actually deserves a game ahead of Cloke. Other difficult omissions include premiership players Brent Macaffer and Jarryd Blair. - Ben Collins

Levi Greenwood is keen to make up for missed time in Magpie colours. Picture: AFL Media

B: Mark Baguley, Mitch Brown, James Gwilt
HB: Courtenay Dempsey, Nathan Grima, Orazio Fantasia
C: James Kelly, Brendon Goddard, Darcy Parish
HF: Adam Cooney, Shaun McKernan, Ryan Crowley
F: Mathew Stokes, Joe Daniher, Nick Kommer
FOLL: Matthew Leuenberger, Zach Merrett, David Zaharakis
INT: Craig Bird, Martin Gleeson, Kyle Langford, Jayden Laverde

Picking Essendon's 'best' 22 is a difficult task this season, given that half of its best team is suspended for the year. It is also hard to know exactly what the Bombers want this year – if it's just to be competitive then the older top-up players will get more of a run. If it's solely about developing the next premiership team, then the youngsters should feature heavily. We've struck a balance here, giving the likes of Jayden Laverde, Kyle Langford and Darcy Parish first crack at things. Late recruits Mathew Stokes, James Kelly, Nathan Grima and Ryan Crowley have also been picked, but expect other pick-ups such as Sam Grimley and Jonathan Simpkin to get some good exposure across the year. - Callum Twomey 

B: Cameron Sutcliffe, Zac Dawson, Lee Spurr
HB: Garrick Ibbotson,Michael Johnson, Stephen Hill
C: Danyle Pearce, Nat Fyfe, Harley Bennell
HF: Michael Walters, Matt Taberner, Chris Mayne
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Jon Griffin
FOLL: Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Lachie Neale
INT: Michael Barlow, Nick Suban, Tendai Mzungu, Tom Sheridan

The Dockers have some exciting youngsters in their squad but it seems unlikely that any of them can push into the best 22 on the back of the NAB Challenge. Lachie Weller, Connor Blakely, Ed Langdon and Alex Pearce have all shown plenty of promise but have yet to go past the established veterans. Pearce and Weller are the closest to edging into the Dockers' best side but they will need some players to drop off in form. Harley Bennell is a welcome addition to the line-up and it might allow Stephen Hill to play a fair bit at half-back to utilize his exquisite foot skills. Jon Griffin has locked in the second ruck spot but Zac Clarke will continue to push. - Alex Malcolm 

Lachie Neale is already a fan favourite in Fremantle colours. Picture: AFL Media

B: Corey Enright, Tom Lonergan, Lachie Henderson
HB: Cameron Guthrie, Harry Taylor, Jake Kolodjashnij
C: Mitch Duncan, Patrick Dangerfield, Mark Blicavs
HF: Daniel Menzel, Nathan Vardy, Nakia Cockatoo
F: Darcy Lang, Tom Hawkins, Steve Motlop
R: Zac Smith, Josh Caddy, Joel Selwood
Int: Jimmy Bartel, Andrew Mackie, Rhys Stanley, Lincoln McCarthy

On paper, a solid line-up with Cory Gregson and Jordan Murdoch left out merely because only 22 can be selected. On talent, Mitch Clark would be in the team at the expense of Nathan Vardy, but Clark's troublesome calf makes him a "wait and see" proposition, so Vardy is the safer pick. Josh Cowan is also unlucky but he needs to string games together before forcing his way into the best 22, while Jackson Thurlow would be a lock except for his season-ending knee-injury. Recruit Scott Selwood will be knocking on the door when he recovers from injury. Billie Smedts, George Horlin-Smith, Sam Menegola and Tom Ruggles provide good depth and cover. The Cats have a list capable of challenging if they can stay resilient. - Peter Ryan

B: Adam Saad, Rory Thompson, Kade Kolodjashnij
HB: Jarrod Harbrow, Steven May, Nick Malceski
C: Matt Rosa, David Swallow, Michael Rischitelli
HF: Aaron Hall, Tom Lynch, Jack Martin
F: Brandon Matera, Sam Day, Touk Miller
FOLL: Tom Nicholls, Gary Ablett, Jaeger O'Meara
INT: Dion Prestia, Jesse Lonergan, Sean Lemmens, Alex Sexton

The most hotly contested spot all pre-season has been the key forward position to play alongside Tom Lynch. Sam Day gets the edge here for his ability to be just as competitive on the ground as in the air, but with Peter Wright nipping at his heels, Day is on a short leash. The same goes for small forward Brandon Matera, who has done just enough this pre-season to hold off challenges from draftee Callum Ah Chee and youngster Jarrod Garlett. When all are fit, the Suns' midfield depth is exceptional, with forwards Aaron Hall, Touk Miller and Jack Martin capable of big minutes in the middle of the ground. Matt Rosa is a perfect complementary piece on the wing. - Michael Whiting 

Tom Lynch will leads the Suns' attack this year, but who will be alongside him? Picture: AFL Media

B: Nathan Wilson, Aidan Corr, Joel Patfull
HB: Heath Shaw, Phil Davis, Nick Haynes
C: Tom Scully, Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield
HF: Ryan Griffen, Adam Tomlinson, Steve Johnson
F: Devon Smith, Jeremy Cameron, Rory Lobb
FOLL: Shane Mumford, Dylan Shiel, Stephen Coniglio
INT: Rhys Palmer, Josh Kelly, Jack Steele, Toby Greene

Leon Cameron is going to have a tough job at selection this season and while most of the side picks itself, players have forced their way past teammates with standout performances in the NAB Challenge. Wilson has edged Zac Williams for the second small defender role behind Heath Shaw, while Patfull's experience and bigger body gets him the nod over Caleb Marchbank. This 22 boasts plenty of versatility and run, and with James Stewart, Adam Kennedy, Matt Buntine and Will Hoskin-Elliott also in form, spots will be tight in 2016. Key forward Cam McCarthy wasn't considered as he continues his personal leave in Western Australia. - Adam Curley 

B: Taylor Duryea, James Frawley, Ben Stratton
HB: Grant Birchall, Josh Gibson, Shaun Burgoyne
C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Bradley Hill
HF: Cyril Rioli, Jack Gunston, Ryan Schoenmakers
F: Paul Puopolo, Jarryd Roughead, Luke Breust
R: Ben McEvoy, Luke Hodge, Jordan Lewis
INT: Billy Hartung, Daniel Howe, Liam Shiels, Jonathon Ceglar

The Hawks' depth is the envy of the competition and some more-than-handy players miss out here, although Angus Litherland, James Sicily, Will Langford, Jono O'Rourke and Brendan Whitecross will expect to see plenty of game time in 2016. Litherland or even Kaiden Brand could start in the backline on Easter Monday against Geelong, however composed utility Daniel Howe's versatility may give him an edge longer term. How the Hawks structure their defence is set to be a 'horses for courses' approach after Alastair Clarkson had trouble fitting Brian Lake, James Frawley, Ben Stratton and Josh Gibson into the same side last year. Sicily is likely to get first crack to replace the injured Roughead. - Travis King 

Daniel Howe leads the next generation of Hawks seeking a taste of premiership glory. Picture: AFL Media

B: Neville Jetta, Lynden Dunn, Colin Garland
HB: Tom Bugg, Tom McDonald, Christian Salem
C: Angus Brayshaw, Nathan Jones, Dom Tyson
HF: Dean Kent, Sam Frost, Aaron vandenBerg
F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Jack Watts

Foll: Max Gawn, Bernie Vince, Jack Viney

INT: Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Heritier Lumumba, Ben Kennedy

The main area of contention is who the second tall forward will be to accompany Jesse Hogan. Sam Frost gets the nod because of his versatility, speed and forward-line pressure. Injured forward Chris Dawes remains out of the team until he can prove he deserves a spot. Recruits Tom Bugg and Ben Kennedy come in as they both fall under the category of 'competitor', a key criteria the Demons' match committee will take into account when selecting the team in 2016. Heritier Lumumba, despite an injury-interrupted pre-season, retains his spot ahead of promising youngster James Harmes. If fit and in form, Christian Petracca earns his place in the 22 based on his talent and potential. - Ben Guthrie 

B: Lachie Hansen, Scott Thompson, Shaun Atley
HB: Sam Wright, Robbie Tarrant, Jamie Macmillan
C: Daniel Wells, Jack Ziebell, Nick Dal Santo
HF: Shaun Higgins, Jarrad Waite, Brent Harvey
F: Lindsay Thomas, Drew Petrie, Ben Brown
FOLL: Todd Goldstein, Andrew Swallow, Ben Cunnington
INT: Michael Firrito, Taylor Garner, Ben Jacobs, Jed Anderson 

We have made just one change to the best 22 named in late November, with veteran Michael Firrito coming in for Luke McDonald. Although McDonald still shapes as a key player for the Roos over the next decade, Firrito looks a more reliable option in defence right now, especially in one-on-one contests. Aaron Mullett's encouraging start to 2016 suggests he will also press strongly for opportunities in the Roos' backline. We have retained Jed Anderson on the interchange bench, but the former Hawk will need to improve on his pre-season form to keep fellow small forwards Kayne Turner and Robin Nahas out of the team. Ben Brown remains as the Roos' third tall in attack but will be vulnerable to challenges from Aaron Black, Mason Wood and Majak Daw if he continues to regularly mis-time marking attempts. - Nick Bowen 

B: Jack Hombsch, Alipate Carlile, Jarman Impey
HB: Matthew Broadbent, Jackson Trengove, Jasper Pittard
C: Hamish Hartlett, Travis Boak, Sam Gray
HF: Justin Westhoff, Charlie Dixon, Robbie Gray
F: Jake Neade, Jay Schulz, Chad Wingard
Foll: Matthew Lobbe, Brad Ebert, Ollie Wines
INT: Matt White, Tom Jonas, Brendon Ah Chee, Jared Polec

The jury is still out as to whether Jimmy Toumpas can make it at AFL level, and as a result he will have to prove he deserves to be included in Port's first-choice 22. However the former No.4 draft pick displayed some encouraging signs during the NAB Challenge and Power coach Ken Hinkley will be keen to give the ex-Demon opportunities. Jake Neade has had a strong pre-season and appears to be in the right age demographic to take the next step with his football as a nippy small forward. Losing Patrick Ryder will hurt, and Charlie Dixon or even Jackson Trengove will be called on to relieve Matthew Lobbe in the ruck. - Ben Guthrie 

Port's man of the people, Justin Westhoff, will look to push the Power up the ladder. Picture: AFL Media

B: Nick Vlastuin, David Astbury, Dylan Grimes
HB: Reece Conca, Alex Rance, Bachar Houli
C: Brandon Ellis, Jacob Townsend, Dustin Martin
HF: Brett Deledio, Jack Riewoldt, Shane Edwards
F: Ben Griffiths, Ty Vickery, Ben Lennon
FOLL: Ivan Maric, Trent Cotchin, Anthony Miles
INT: Chris Yarran, Kane Lambert, Shaun Grigg, Connor Menadue 

There are a dozen locks for the Tigers' best team this season, but it gets tricky thereafter with a lot of competition down to their 30th player. David Astbury has won the battle with Troy Chaplin for a key defensive post and it appears unlikely at this stage Chaplin can fit into an already tall forward line. Ben Lennon gets first crack as a small/medium forward ahead of Sam Lloyd and draftee Daniel Rioli, while Kamdyn McIntosh is squeezed out for impressive youngster Connor Menadue. Jacob Townsend was recruited for a reason and has shown his hardness will be an asset to the midfield. The Tigers will hope Corey Ellis is in their best team by the end of the year. – Nathan Schmook

B: Dylan Roberton, Sean Dempster, Jimmy Webster
HB: Jarryn Geary, Sam Fisher, Shane Savage
C: Jack Newnes, David Armitage, Leigh Montagna
HF: Maverick Weller, Nick Riewoldt, Jack Billings         
F: Jade Gresham, Josh Bruce, Jack Lonie
FOLL: Billy Longer, Seb Ross, Jack Steven
INT: Tom Hickey, Blake Acres, Sam Gilbert, Luke Dunstan 

Paddy McCartin doesn't make the side because Nick Riewoldt and Josh Bruce are clearly better options at this stage. However, the first pick in 2014 will get game time to help his development. Billy Longer is returning from a shoulder reconstruction and is unlikely to play early in the season, but when his form improves he should become the primary option over Jason Holmes. Nathan Freeman's run will be critical when he gets fit but he will need to prove himself in the VFL. Jack Sinclair is left out, with Jade Gresham and Jack Lonie ahead of him in that role. Gresham is young but too classy to be left out. - Dinny Navaratnam

Luke Dunstan is well placed for a breakout season with the Saints. Picture: AFL Media

B: Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe
HB: Jarrad McVeigh, Ted Richards, Callum Mills
C: Dan Hannebery, Josh Kennedy, Harry Cunningham
HF: Kieren Jack, Sam Reid, Dean Towers
F: Callum Sinclair, Lance Franklin, Isaac Heeney
FOLL: Kurt Tippett, Luke Parker, Tom Mitchell
INT: Jeremy Laidler, Jake Lloyd, Zak Jones, Ben McGlynn

John Longmire will be hoping some of his veterans can leave their pre-season injury worries behind them, with Jarrad McVeigh (knee), Ben McGlynn (hamstring) and Ted Richards (calf) all missing the NAB Challenge. Having Jeremy Laidler on the bench allows McVeigh the freedom to move into the midfield when needed, while the pace and versatility of Zak Jones lands him a spot over James Rose, Brandon Jack and George Hewett. Michael Talia is also in the wings as insurance for Richards. Gary Rohan (hamstring) will spend the first few weeks of the season on the long-term injury list and faces an extended run in the NEAFL when he returns. - Adam Curley

B: Will Schofield, Eric Mackenzie, Shannon Hurn
HB: Brad Sheppard, Jeremy McGovern, Sharrod Wellingham
C: Andrew Gaff, Matt Priddis, Lewis Jetta
HF: Chris Masten, Jack Darling, Mark LeCras
F: Jamie Cripps, Josh Kennedy, Josh Hill
FOLL: Nic Naitanui, Elliot Yeo, Luke Shuey
INT: Xavier Ellis, Jack Redden, Liam Duggan, Scott Lycett

There's a lot of depth in the Eagles' squad and it is a difficult side to select. Midfielders such as Dom Sheed and Mark Hutchings could easily slot into the line-up but injury-interrupted summers and the arrival of Jack Redden and Lewis Jetta mean they might get squeezed out. Scott Lycett will get the first crack at the second ruck spot but Jonathan Giles will push him. Jeremy McGovern is required in defence but he will swing forward at stages depending on what the team requires. Veterans such as Sam Butler and Mitch Brown are likely to be depth players in 2016. Jackson Nelson is also pushing for a berth in the back six. - Alex Malcolm

Jack Darling will be keen to atone in 2016 for 'that' dropped Grand Final mark. Picture: AFL Media

B: Dale Morris, Marcus Adams, Easton Wood
HB: Matthew Boyd, Fletcher Roberts, Robert Murphy
C: Jason Johannisen, Tom Liberatore, Liam Picken
HF: Jack Macrae, Jordan Roughead, Luke Dahlhaus
F: Tory Dickson, Tom Boyd, Jake Stringer
FOLL: Tom Campbell, Mitch Wallis, Marcus Bontempelli
INT: Lachie Hunter, Koby Stevens, Toby McLean, Matthew Suckling

Once a rarity at Whitten Oval, depth is one of the Bulldogs' greatest strengths heading in to 2016. Luke Beveridge handed nearly every player on the list a game last season and he's going to have a few headaches picking his best side each week. Shane Biggs, Caleb Daniel, Joel Hamling and Jack Redpath are desperately unlucky to miss out, while Nathan Hrovat, Bailey Dale, Lukas Webb and Zaine Cordy are ready to go if required. The backline looms as an interesting sub plot, with ageing warriors Robert Murphy, Matthew Boyd and Dale Morris unlikely to play every game. And with key defenders Fletcher Roberts and Joel Hamling yet to establish themselves, draftees Marcus Adams and Kieran Collins have staked a claim for an early season debut after impressing during the NAB Challenge. - Ryan Davidson