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Your club's mid-season All Australian contenders

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 9: Dustin Martin of the Tigers handpasses the ball during the 2016 AFL Round 03 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Adelaide Crows at the Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on April 9, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Dustin Martin has been in outstanding form for the Tigers this season

WITH the season almost at its half-way mark, reporters take a look at who is in the running for Virgin Australia 2016 AFL All Australian selection.

Eddie Betts: Had a few quiet games, but hit back with five goals and the possible goal of the year against Greater Western Sydney. Betts can retain his All Australian status with a big second half of the season.

Josh Jenkins: Taken his game to a new level including a career-high eight goals against the Bulldogs. Behind Swan Lance Franklin and Eagle Josh Kennedy for All Australian honours.

Rory Laird: Providing great drive off half-back before toe injury. Averaging 25.7 possessions per game, 6.3 marks and 4.3 rebound 50s. In line to replace injured Bulldogs skipper Rob Murphy from last year's All Australian team.

Rory Sloane: Throws himself into everything, averaging 12.4 contested possessions and 6.7 tackles per game. Filled the void left by Patrick Dangerfield's departure for Geelong.

Daniel Talia: Getting back to his All Australian form of 2014. Apart from conceding four goals to Lance Franklin, he's beaten his direct opponent every week. - Lee Gaskin 


Dayne Zorko: Would be a shock to make it and an outside chance at best, but Zorko has averaged 23 disposals, kicked 15 goals and is in the top 10 for tackles, averaging seven a game. Plays half-forward and midfield and shone on a struggling team. - Michael Whiting 

Sam Docherty: Is one of the in-form defenders in the AFL and a future leader. His average of 25 disposals a game this season ranks sixth among backmen. He leads the Blues in marks (80) and intercept possessions (82)and is fourth in disposals (250).

Bryce Gibbs: Has returned to the form that made him the 2014 club champion. The midfielder, whose 2015 season was ruined by injury, is Carlton's leading disposal winner with 275 and has become a more potent attacking force – he is second in the club's goalkicking table with 11 and leads the Blues in score assists (11) and score involvements (70). - Howard Kotton 

Adam Treloar: Perhaps the recruit of the year so far, the ex-Giant is fourth in the AFL for possessions, averaging 30.9 a game, and also leads the Pies in clearances, tackles, inside 50s and goal assists (equal-second in the AFL).

Scott Pendlebury: After playing with broken ribs early on, the skipper wouldn't be considered if the team was selected now, but will be in strong contention if his recent form continues. Fifth in the AFL in disposals. - Ben Collins 

David Zaharakis: Zaharakis is enjoying a career-best season in Essendon's midfield. He has taken on the responsibility of leading the Bombers' on-ball brigade, averaging 28 disposals a game in the opening 10 rounds.

Zach Merrett: The 20-year-old has excelled in his third AFL season, averaging 27 disposals a game. The classy left-footer has spent more time in the midfield and continued his ascent as one of the emerging onballers in the competition. 

James Kelly: It might sound crazy to put him in this mix given the circumstances of his arrival at Essendon, but Kelly's form as a top-up player for the Bombers this year has been exceptional. The former Cat is averaging nearly 27 disposals off the half-back flank and his numbers stack up with all the leading rebound defenders in the competition. - Callum Twomey 

Young Bomber Zach Merrett has emerged as one of the AFL's premier midfielders. Picture: AFL Media

Lachie Neale: Has been superb to lead the AFL with 33.4 possessions despite his team's struggles and ruckman Aaron Sandilands' injury. Ranks No.2 in the AFL for contested possessions (17.1) and equal fifth for clearances (6.9). - Nathan Schmook  

Patrick Dangerfield: Has had as big an impact on his team as any player in the competition, helping the Cats to once again become competitive contested-ball players and win clearances. His strength, power and pace is electrifying and he attracts opponents, thus creating overlap run for the Cats. His only weakness this season has been his set shot kicking but he is averaging 28.9 disposals a game.

Corey Enright: Amazing defender who has remained consistently good. He was critical in keeping Geelong's defensive system strong for the first half of the system. Not only is Enright a genius at reading the play, he uses the ball efficiently and remains cool under pressure. If the Cats are going to threaten for the flag he needs to maintain the rage. 

Cam Guthrie: An improved fitness base has led to a consistent season from Guthrie, who is beginning to be recognised as an elite midfielder. He has clean hands, is strong over the ball, and has developed a powerful burst. Versatile enough to play in defence or the midfield, he has been a standout, averaging 24 disposals at an efficiency of 81.1 per cent.

Joel Selwood: The skipper has not missed a beat after an interrupted pre-season, matching his partner-in-crime Dangerfield for most of the year. Averaging 26.8 disposals, he is winning more football outside the contest and maintaining his brutal efficiency. Has battled with a tag in recent weeks but his form overall has been of a high standard. - Peter Ryan   

Gary Ablett: While not at his imperious best, Ablett is still averaging 27 touches a game and is ranked 11th for clearances. Despite a congested midfield, a big second half of the year could vault the Suns skipper to another All Australian berth.

Tom Lynch: A career-best year with 34 goals to date – not bad in a struggling team with limited forward 50 entries. Is second for contested marks in the AFL and will only improve once the Suns get some quality back in their midfield. - Michael Whiting

Stephen Coniglio: Averaging almost 29 possessions and five tackles per game and is the Giants' number one stopper, having claimed Hawk Sam Mitchell's scalp in round six.

Shane Mumford: Just about the most physical player in the competition, Mumford has over 33 hit-outs per game and makes his midfielders walk taller.

Tom Scully: The running machine averages 25 touches and almost 480 metres gained per match and has also kicked 12 goals off the wing.

Heath Shaw: The best smaller defender going around leads the League for kicks and rebound 50s and gives the Giants enormous drive from the backline.

Dylan Shiel: Has racked up 25+ disposals in all but one game this season, and is averaging just over five clearances per match.

Callan Ward: Leads GWS for contested possessions again this year with almost 13 per game, and inspires his side with his attack on the footy. - Adam Curley

Jack Gunston: Only a handful of Hawks have lifted their performance this year and one of them is Gunston, who has kicked 25 goals, and while nominally Hawthorn's number one forward in Jarryd Roughead's absence, he has become an athletic beast and a mobile midfielder.

Sam Mitchell: His form has dipped slightly in the last few weeks after an imperious start, but Mitchell is still averaging 29 touches a game and remains the most important player in the Hawthorn side. Stop him and you nearly stop the Hawks.

Cyril Rioli: The little champion has played some great footy in stages this year and was particularly good in the wins over West Coast, Richmond and on Saturday against the Lions, when he kicked five goals, one shy of his personal best. His tackling and pressure work remains without peer in the AFL. - Ashley Browne 

Cyril Rioli has been particularly good in some of the Hawks' key wins. Picture: AFL Media

Max Gawn: Gawn leads the AFL in hit-outs (40.7 a game) and has greatly improved his ability to cover the ground. His battle against reigning All Australian big man Todd Goldstein in round three was one of the best individual ruck duels in years, according to Demons coach Paul Roos.

Jesse Hogan: Has had some poor games but has absolutely lit it up in a few as well. The powerful young forward has bags of seven and five and sits equal fifth on the Coleman Medal table. Tall forward spots will be hard to come by this year, so Hogan will need to finish the season with a rush to secure a spot.

Neville Jetta: Goes about his role with a minimum of fuss but is rarely beaten. The best lock-down defender at the club has also improved his attacking ability, averaging a career-high 15.7 disposals per game. He also has an underrated side step, which allows him to burst clear out of traffic.

Jack Viney: The young midfielder has become a genuine star in his fourth season at AFL level. Viney leads the League, comfortably, in centre clearances and is ranked fifth in overall clearances. Puts his head over the ball instinctively and has the ability to lift his team. - Ben Guthrie 

Todd Goldstein: Still the League's No.1 ruckman in many people's eyes, despite quality challengers. Goldstein is ranked second for hit-outs and his stellar work around the ground has arguably been even better than last year's All Australian season.

Robbie Tarrant: His body is finally holding up and Tarrant is in the conversation as one of the AFL's best key defenders after mixing it with the likes of Lance Franklin, Jesse Hogan and Taylor Walker.

Jarrad Waite: In career-best form at the ripe age of 33, with his defensive pressure complementing vice-like hands and reliable goalkicking (27 goals). Has a genuine shot at a first All Australian selection.

Daniel Wells: After fears his career was over, the veteran has bounced back with a vengeance. Injury cost him two games but if his form continues (19.5 disposals), Wells will be in the mix for the 40-man squad.

Jack Ziebell: The hard-nosed midfielder's consistency helped propel the Roos to a 9-1 start. Is averaging nearly 23 touches and is an attacking weapon coming into his prime. – Travis King

Robbie Gray: The two-time All Australian is returning to his best after missing three games with a hamstring injury. Averaging 26.3 disposals per game and is seventh in the league for average clearances and contested possessions.

Jasper Pittard: A revelation this season running off half-back. Averaging 24.1 possessions, 10th in kicks and 11th in rebound 50s in the AFL.

Chad Wingard: Inconsistent early, but getting back to All Australian form in the past two weeks, averaging 23 possessions, 4.5 marks and 2.5 goals. - Lee Gaskin 

Jasper Pittard's run from half-back has been a revelation for the Power. Picture: AFL Media

Trent Cotchin: Leadership debate has distracted from his stellar form, with the skipper ranked No.5 in the AFL for average clearances (6.9) and No.6 for average disposals (29.9). Has been tough under duress.

Dustin Martin: Won a career-best 38 possessions in round 10 and is building each week with more midfield time. No.1 at the club for overall possessions (275), he has been very consistent.

Alex Rance: Has kept the Tigers in matches singlehandedly at times this year. Still the best key defender in the game, he has been beaten only once and split the points with Lance Franklin.

Jack Riewoldt: All Australian last year, Riewoldt has continued to evolve with the game as a forward who can play multiple roles. He has kicked 24.14 and averaged a career-high 15.3 possessions.- Nathan Schmook 

Sean Dempster: Once again, the 2012 All Australian has stood up in defence, with his ability to take intercept marks critical to St Kilda's attacking style from the back half.

Leigh Montagna: A move to half-back hasn't slowed the 32-year-old down – he is ranked No.1 in the competition for total uncontested possessions and provides plenty of run.

Nick Riewoldt: At this stage, the tireless worker is a lock for a spot on the wing. The marvel has taken more marks than anyone else and averages two goals a game.

Jack Steven: The dual club champion does his best work at stoppages but his pace to break away from congestion is instrumental. A ferocious tackler as well. - Dinny Navaratnam

Lance Franklin: 40 goals from 10 games has him on track for a fourth Coleman Medal, and maybe even a crack at the magical ton.

Heath Grundy:Has been a rock in defence for the Swans often against taller and bigger opponents, as shown last week when he dominated North's Drew Petrie.

Dan Hannebery: Ranked second in the competition for disposals at over 31 per game, Hannebery had an incredible 33 touches and 13 tackles in round six against Brisbane.

Josh Kennedy: Stiff to miss selection last year, the hardball king is ranked equal-second for clearances and centre clearances per game and third for contested possessions.

Luke Parker: Started the season with 40 touches against Collingwood and has averaged 28 per game, 14 of them contested. Should be an early leader in the Brownlow.

Dane Rampe: The underrated defender has given the Swans plenty of run and penetration from his left foot in a consistent season. - Adam Curley

Andrew Gaff: The wingman has averaged 30 disposals per game and has provided his usual run. The concussion he suffered against Port Adelaide may harm his chances though, having already missed one game.

Josh Kennedy: Second in the Coleman Medal and with 17 goals in the past three works, the vice-captain may be hitting a purple patch.

Jeremy McGovern: The gun defender went close to making the team last year. He rarely loses a one-on-one contest, whether against talls or smalls.

Nic Naitanui: The big man has long impacted the contest with brilliant tap work. He is averaging more than 11 contested possessions per game – clearly better than any other ruckman.

Matthew Priddis: The 2014 Brownlow medallist is No. 1 in the competition for contested possessions per match and second for clearances per match.

Brad Sheppard: A key part of the fourth-stingiest defence in the AFL. Plays taller than his 186cm suggests he should be able to.

Luke Shuey: Only once this season has he had fewer than 22 disposals. Wins the ball at stoppages but has the speed to break clear as well. - Dinny Navaratnam 

Nic Naitanui has added impressive contested-ball figures to his great ruck work. Picture: AFL Media

Marcus Bontempelli: The third-year sensation is already a certified star with the ability win the ball in close and on the outside. Also a threat up forward, the 20-year-old averages 22 touches and a goal a game this season.

Luke Dahlhaus: After earning selection for the first time in the 2015 squad, the dynamic playmaker has arguably been the Bulldogs best player this season in averaging 27 possessions and six tackles a game.

Easton Wood: The 2015 All Australian has enhanced his reputation this season by adding the captaincy to his impressive output across half-back in the absence of knee victim Bob Murphy. The 26-year-old has been nearly impassable at times with his intercept marking. - Ryan Davidson