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Old stagers or fresh faces? Your club's All Australian contenders

Patrick Cripps, Charlie Cameron, Jack Darling and Bradley Hill are among the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian contenders - AFL,Adelaide Crows,Brisbane Lions,Carlton Blues,Collingwood Magpies,Essendon Bombers,Fremantle Dockers,Geelong Cats,Gold Coast Suns,GWS Giants,Hawthorn Hawks,Melbourne Demons,North Melbourne Kangaroos,Port Adelaide Power,Richmond Tigers,St Kilda Saints,Sydney Swans,West Coast Eagles,Western Bulldogs,News,All-Club Special
Patrick Cripps, Charlie Cameron, Jack Darling and Bradley Hill are among the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian contenders

WITH one round remaining, the auditions for the 2019 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian team are almost over and our reporters have cast their eyes over all 18 clubs to canvass the contenders for this year's 40-man squad.

Some familiar faces will be missing with regular members Alex Rance (Richmond) and Lance Franklin (Sydney) suffering injury-ruined seasons, while several players are in the frame for their first All Australian blazers. 

Read on to see who's in the mix from your club.

Brad Crouch
The midfielder has enjoyed a strong season after missing all of last year through injury. Seventh in the League for average disposals (30.6 per game) and top-20 in tackles (5.2) and clearances (5.7). Played every game.

 

Matt Crouch (One-time All Australian)
The younger of the two Crouch brothers has had another consistent year. He's third in the League for average disposals with 31.8 per game. Missing three games through injury might hurt his chances of adding a second All Australian jumper to the one he collected in 2017.

Rory Laird (Two-time All Australian)
Another solid season for the small defender who has won All Australian honours the past two years. Averaging 28.2 disposals per game, Laird is also fifth in the League for effective disposals, seventh for intercepts and 11th in rebound 50s. 

Daniel Talia (Two-time All Australian)
The reliable key defender has stood tall under a barrage of inside 50s from the opposition. Third in the League for one percenters to be a chance for his first All Australian jumper since 2016. - Lee Gaskin

Harris Andrews 
After making the 40-man squad last season, Andrews has taken his game to another level in 2019. Usually takes the best forward and not only stops them but launches Brisbane's attack with his intercept marking.

Charlie Cameron 
The best small forward in the competition and a lock for the team. Cameron has kicked 52 goals and frightens the life out of opposition defenders with his blistering speed.

 

Hugh McCluggage 
Has made the wing role his own with a major leap in his third season. McCluggage averages 22 disposals and has kicked 21 goals – more than any winger in the league.

Lachie Neale 
Delivering a brilliant first season in Lions colours, Neale has won more clearances (160) than any other player and is ranked top five for both disposals and contested possessions. So adept at setting up his teammates.

Daniel Rich 
Enjoying the best year of his career, the 29-year-old has been one of Brisbane's best players almost every week. His lethal left boot off half-back is both penetrating (second most metres gained) and accurate (81 per cent efficiency).

Mitch Robinson 
A smokey for the 40-man squad. Like McCluggage, Robinson has found a home on the wing, averaging 21 touches and kicking 16 goals. His honed aggression makes the Lions a better team.

Dayne Zorko (One-time All Australian)
Don't forget the Brisbane skipper. Zorko is the best defensive midfielder in the AFL (first in pressure acts and tackles inside forward 50) but is just as damaging with ball in hand, averaging 22 touches, kicking 20 goals and ranked sixth for metres gained. – Michael Whiting 

Patrick Cripps (One-time All Australian)
He's a lock for a midfield spot. One of the genuine Brownlow frontrunners, Cripps has enjoyed a fantastic season that has seen him rank third for clearances and fifth for contested possessions. He's led the Blues well all year. - Riley Beveridge

 

Jack Crisp
Despite a limited pre-season, the rangy left-footer has averaged 26 disposals to again been one of the best defensive runners in the game. Has also thrived when swung into the midfield.

Brodie Grundy (One-time All Australian)
After being named on the bench last year, the tireless big man is primed to claim the No.1 ruck mantle after averaging 20.6 possessions (13 contested), six clearances, four tackles and 41 hitouts.

Scott Pendlebury (Five-time All Australian)
The Magpies skipper has been selected or nominated in 10 of the past 11 seasons and that trend should continue given the champion midfielder has again produced some brilliant performances.

Adam Treloar
The hard-running onballer has been the AFL's leading ball-getter this season, averaging 33.5 possessions (13.5 contested), six clearances and five tackles. Isn't always damaging, but his sheer weight of numbers is compelling. - Ben Collins

 

Zach Merrett (One-time All Australian)
The midfielder's consistency has again been exceptional, with Merrett averaging nearly 29 disposals a game this season. Was excellent in recent wins over Adelaide and Port Adelaide. 

Adam Saad
Saad has managed to find the balance between shutting down opponents and using his blistering speed to start up the Bombers' attack. Is a crucial player for Essendon and has had some match-turning moments this season.

 

Dylan Shiel (One-time All Australian)
The former Greater Western Sydney midfielder started the season in hot form at his new club. His ability to cut through traffic with his speed, combined with his consistency (he has averaged 26 disposals and five clearances a game) means he could find a place in the All Australian squad. 

Jake Stringer (One-time All Australian)
Leads Essendon's goalkicking with 33 majors from 18 games. Stringer has been hugely influential in most of the Bombers' wins, and been a multiple goalkicker in 11 games. Has also added some power to the midfield at stages. - Callum Twomey

Nat Fyfe (Two-time All Australian)
A lock for the All Australian midfield. Won the Brownlow averaging 28.9 disposals and kicking 17 goals from 18 games in 2015, and going at 29.3 touches with 15 goals this year from 19 matches.

 

Joel Hamling
Should be a contender for the 40-man squad. Rarely beaten and has held the backline together since Alex Pearce went down, playing all 21 games so far.

Bradley Hill 
Won the Doig Medal in 2017 but has enjoyed a more impressive season this year, averaging a career-high 25.1 disposals. Is AFL No.4 for kicks and has used the ball with more precision and penetration. Should be a starting wingman.

 

Luke Ryan
Probably needed a big finish to stay in selectors' minds but suffered an untimely hamstring injury in round 19. An elite intercept marking defender, tough and a brilliant distributor by foot.   

Michael Walters 
It's hard to believe a player of Walters' quality has only been nominated for the All Australian squad once, back in 2013. A 36-disposal, two-goal effort against Essendon was timely, and with 37 majors and nearly 22 touches per game as a mid-forward he would be incredibly stiff to miss out on the team. – Travis King

 

Gary Ablett (Eight-time All Australian)
Started like a house on fire with 26 goals in the first 13 matches but has managed just four majors from seven games since. An average of 20 disposals a game makes him a squad contender.   

 

Mark Blicavs
Part of the squad last year, Blicavs has been responsible for locking down some of the biggest forwards in the game this season. Spending the past fortnight in the ruck shouldn't hurt his chances.

Patrick Dangerfield (Six-time All Australian)
Has seven best-on-grounds to sit one vote behind Patrick Cripps in the AFL.com.au Brownlow Predictor.

Mitch Duncan
Has collected some big numbers since the bye and only been below 20 disposals on two occasions this year. Would be on the fringe of the 40-man squad.

Tom Hawkins (One-time All Australian)
Sits equal-fourth in the race for the Coleman Medal so would need a big final match against Carlton to get his name back up in lights. Has the equal-most score involvements in the competition with Bulldog Marcus Bontempelli.

Tim Kelly
Behind only Bontempelli on the AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year Award, the damaging midfielder has a serious case for a berth in the starting 18. 

 

Tom Stewart (One-time All Australian)
Has continued his rise from local footballer to star defender in the space of three years. Has increased his output from his maiden All Australian year last season. - Mitch Cleary

Jarrod Witts 
Trailing Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn, but Witts is on the next level of ruckmen. He was a huge reason why the Suns were competitive until the bye and has not dropped his standard. Most hit-outs in the competition and fourth most to advantage. - Michael Whiting

Jeremy Cameron (One-time All Australian)
The runaway Coleman Medal leader until last week, Cameron has kicked 58 goals from 19 games at an average of just over three per match.

Stephen Coniglio
Was a lock for the 22 before a knee injury hit, but his 26.6 disposals, 5.1 clearances and 15 goals from 15 games could still be rewarded.

Phil Davis 
Another consistent season from the co-captain and anchor of the Giants' defence. Davis is rarely beaten one on one and has added more attack to his game this year.

Nick Haynes 
The star defender has been brilliant with his intercept marking and has been a rock for the Giants, averaging a career-high 18.2 possessions in 19 games this season.

Jacob Hopper
Ranked No.1 at GWS for clearances and contested possessions, the tough onballer has thrived after finally getting some luck with his body and has averaged 26.6 touches per game.

Tim Taranto 
Big things were expected in 2019, and the third-year midfielder has delivered. Leads the club for disposals with an average of 28 per game, and has done a power of work with star teammates missing.

 

Lachie Whitfield (One-time All Australian)
Missed multiple game after collarbone surgery but has been a star across half forward and through the midfield. Whitfield has gathered a career-high 28.7 possessions and is the Giants' most influential ball user.

Zac Williams 
Rebounded strongly from a nightmare 2018 to rack up a career-high 24.4 disposals and 4.7 rebound 50s. Williams' dash from half back sets up plenty of GWS attacks and he's also chimed in with cameos in the midfield. - Adam Curley

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James Sicily
Looks destined for his first All Australian appearance after a stellar season across half-back. He's ranked fourth for intercept marks this year, showing his strength in the air, while his ball use out of defence has been exceptional.

 

Ben McEvoy
The big Hawk had a terrific start to the year, but has tailed off recently. He ranks sixth for hitouts to advantage, but might be a bit far back in the queue due to the form of Brodie Grundy, Max Gawn, Todd Goldstein and Stefan Martin.

Jarman Impey
Will his season-ending knee injury ruin his surge into the All Australian squad? Impey had established himself as one of the game's best small defenders when he went down in round 18, ruling him out of the final five matches of the season. - Riley Beveridge

Max Gawn (Two-time All Australian)
While his teammates have endured a dismal season, the awesome big man has maintained the enormously high standard he set last year. Influences the game at stoppages and also around the ground, where he uses his excellent contested marking skills.



Clayton Oliver (One-time All Australian)
Unlikely to make the squad but no-one has won more contested possessions in the competition than the 22-year-old heading into the final round, which might have gone under the radar amid the side's struggles. - Dinny Navaratnam

Ben Brown
Brown's 10-goal outing against Port Adelaide, combined with Giant Jeremy Cameron's injury absence, propelled the prolific Roo four clear in the Coleman Medal race. Winning that award should book him an automatic berth in the 40. 

 

Ben Cunnington
Leads the AFL in centre clearances and is second in total clearances, third in contested possessions, fourth in handballs, fifth in groundball-gets and 16th in disposals. The man's a beast, as he proved at the weekend. 

Todd Goldstein (One-time All Australian)
Produced one of the all-time great ruck performances on Saturday night, but has been in good touch for at least two months amid what's been an impressive season at age 31.

Shaun Higgins (One-time All Australian) 
Made the final 22 last year and his numbers are similarly strong in 2019. The biggest difference is Higgins missed five games, so that hurts his chances, but he could make the 40.

Jasper Pittard
Was shortlisted for the All Australian squad in 2016, and has been defensively superior to that this year. Leads all general defenders for spoils and ranks seventh for intercept marks.

 

Robbie Tarrant
Tarrant's time might finally have arrived. Held the Roos' defence together and was rarely beaten, as well as ranking fourth for disposals, equal-third for rebound 50s and fourth in metres gained among key backmen. - Marc McGowan

Travis Boak (Two-time All Australian)
The former Power skipper has thrived since returning to the midfield this season. Sixth in the League for average disposals (30.7 per game) and clearances (seven per game).

 

Darcy Byrne-Jones
The 23-year-old defender has had a breakout season, averaging 22 disposals per game. Top 10 in the League for intercepts and provides plenty of drive across half-back.

Tom Clurey
Developing into one of the best key defenders in the competition. Clurey, 25, has taken a host of big scalps this season and is rarely beaten one-on-one. - Lee Gaskin

Dylan Grimes
As an attacking key back, Grimes is now in the position of forcing opponents to come to him, rather than the other way around. Intercepts at will and is the fulcrum of Richmond's defence.

Bachar Houli
Has had a very consistent season and is in career-best form at the age of 31. Houli is averaging 28 disposals and five rebound 50s off half-back from 18 games this year.

Tom Lynch (One-time All Australian)
May not make the cut for the final side but is currently sitting third in the Coleman medal with 53 goals for the year. Has been a strong focal point up forward and excellent in the wet.

Dustin Martin (Three-time All Australian)
After a relatively slow start to the year, Martin has hit full-steam and is in excellent touch. Hasn't hit the scoreboard much but is averaging 27 touches and has had several match-winning games.

 

Dion Prestia
Arguably Prestia's best season of his career. An uninterrupted pre-season has done wonders, with the inside midfielder averaging 27 touches, seven score involvements and five clearances a game. - Sarah Black

 

Jack Billings
If the selectors want to pick genuine wingmen, the classy left-footer would have a reasonable case to be in the discussion for a spot. Has averaged 26 disposals without missing a game, while having slotted 13 goals for the season. - Dinny Navaratnam

 

Jake Lloyd 
Unlucky to miss out last year, the Swans' club champion has been even more damaging as a running defender in 2019, picking up over 30 possessions per match.

Luke Parker (One-time All Australian)
In a tough season, the co-captain has been the team's most consistent midfielder and leads the club for contested possessions and clearances.

Dane Rampe (One-time All Australian)
Despite a couple of controversial moments, Rampe has been a star playing as the Swans' deepest defender on talls and smalls. Hardly ever beaten in one on one contests and always creative from the back 50. - Adam Curley

 

Jack Darling 
Has enjoyed a career-best season, stepping up as the main man in attack while Josh Kennedy's form tapered off. One goal shy of equaling personal record of 53 and equal fourth in the Coleman Medal race. 

 

Andrew Gaff (Two-time All Australian)
Has been ultra-consistent racking up disposals, never dropping below 27 possessions. Some haphazard use early in the year might count against him and has only booted one goal, after slotting 12 last year. 

Jeremy McGovern (Three-time All Australian)
Difficult season to evaluate. Still ranked elite for contested and intercept marks, plus score launches, yet his impact hasn't been as pronounced. If judges take into consideration that opponents change the way they attack to counter one man, then McGovern is a lock. 

Brad Sheppard
Leads the competition for marks and has become more of a distributor to finally get some due recognition after putting together quality season after quality season shutting down the AFL's most dangerous smalls. 

Luke Shuey
Has put together an enormous campaign, averaging a personal-high 26.5 disposals, but it's the quality of his possessions and ability to stand up in big moments that makes Shuey a star.

Elliot Yeo (One-time All Australian)
In the conversation as the AFL's best player and put the Eagles on his back after their shaky 3-3 start to the year. Could win a third straight John Worsfold Medal and is AFL No.2 for tackles, No.7 for inside 50s and No.12 for clearances. – Travis King

 

Marcus Bontempelli (One-time All Australian)
Bontempelli made the squad in 2017 and the interchange in 2016, but 2019 might be his best year. He sits seventh in the Official AFL Player Ratings and looms as a Brownlow chance.

 

Josh Dunkley
He has never been nominated for the All Australian squad, but he’s sitting level with teammate Bontempelli on 19 votes in the AFL.com.au Brownlow Predictor. Dunkley averages 28.5 disposals a game and might be the most improved player in the league.

 

Jack Macrae
The only Bulldog to be nominated for the 2018 All Australian squad, Macrae trails only Adam Treloar for most disposals in 2019. Could it be his year? - Jourdan Canil

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs