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2019 All Australian team: New skipper, nine debutants revealed

2019 All Australian team: The lucky, the unlucky, is it too tall? Nat Edwards and Cal Twomey discuss all of the big talking points after the unveiling of the 2019 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian Team

FREMANTLE superstar Nat Fyfe has not only ended his three-season absence from the Virgin Australia AFL All Australian team but is also this year's captain.

Fyfe last made the side in his Brownlow Medal-winning year in 2015, but a series of injuries – including the broken leg that ended his 2016 season – meant he hadn't quite reached those heights since.

The 27-year-old follows Lance Franklin (2018), Alex Rance (2017) and Joel Selwood (2016) in being named the All Australian captain.

All Australian captain Nat Fyfe. Picture: AFL Photos

West Coast skipper Shannon Hurn (absent) was named the team's vice-captain.

"It's incredibly humbling, if you look at some of the class players and leaders in this team," Fyfe said of his honour.

WHO WAS IN CONTENTION? Check out the All Australian 40-man squad

The 2019 Virgin Australia AFL All Australian team. Picture: AFL Photos

"Some of them I've played with and alongside, at my club, in Lachie Neale, and AFLX and International Rules," Fyfe said. 

"I'm still getting a handle on (being a leader at club level), to be honest. 

"I think we're always learning leadership and in three years as captain, I've become more aware of my shortcomings and how to buffet that with good people around you to make sure there's good balance.

"I think I'd be putting myself on the bench, to start with (if this was a real team). There are some quality players here and I don't think they need much guidance or leadership."

OUR BEST 22 Who made AFL.com.au's All Australian team?

Brownlow Medal fancy Marcus Bontempelli, the AFL Coaches' Champion Player of the Year, earned his second All Australian berth, the first since the Bulldogs' 2016 premiership season.

Bontempelli, who was named on the wing, had the most score involvements in the AFL, to go with 27 disposals (12.7 contested), three centre clearances and more than 500m gained per game. 

Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae arrive for the Virgin Australia AA event. Picture AFL Photos

Carlton co-captain and this team's centreman Patrick Cripps also became a two-time All Australian, in recognition of his AFL-leading clearance work and contested possession prowess. 

On the other wing was All Australian first-timer Tim Kelly, of Geelong, who was an all-round threat with his 25.4 disposals (12.1 contested), 6.2 clearances and 4.2 inside 50s.

Kelly was one of nine first-time All Australians in this year's team.

The mids: Brodie Grundy, Lachie Neale, Nat Fyfe, Patrick Cripps, Marcus Bontempelli and Tim Kelly

Magpie Brodie Grundy made his All Australian debut on the interchange last year but the selectors crowned him as the No.1 ruckman this season.

Grundy had the second-most hitouts to advantage at 12.2 per match and was effectively an extra midfielder as he averaged 21.1 possessions (13.4 contested) and almost six clearances. 

St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt interviews Tim Kelly and Brodie Grundy. Picture: AFL Photos

Fyfe and Brisbane's star recruit Lachie Neale are the rover and ruck-rover, respectively.

Fyfe's campaign included 29.1 disposals and 7.6 clearances per contest, while his ex-teammate Neale ranked first for clearances in the AFL (174) and  third for possessions (688) and handballs (413). 

Neale had never made the team before.

Lion Harris Andrews' ascension to one of the game's elite defenders is complete, being selected at full-back for the first time in the All Australian team. 

Andrews, 22, is the bedrock of top-four side Brisbane's backline and was the AFL's leading spoiler and ranked equal-sixth for intercept marks. 

L-R: Jack Darling, Tom Stewart, Tom Hawkins, Harris Andrews, Charlie Cameron, and Dylan Grimes. Picture: AFL Photos

Flanking him on the last line of defence are Geelong's Tom Stewart and Tiger Dylan Grimes, who has been outstanding in the injury absence of five-time All Australian Alex Rance.

Stewart has made the team in consecutive years – after being recruited as a 23-year-old three years ago – and was second for kicks and third for marks in the competition in season 2019. 

Grimes, like Andrews, had never been chosen in the final 22 until now but his combination of lockdown defence, intercept marking and composure won him a spot.

Pies and partners: Scott and Alex Pendlebury, Brodie Grundy with Rachael Wertheim. Picture: AFL Photos

Another Richmond star, Bachar Houli, also makes his All Australian debut on a half-back flank, alongside West Coast's Jeremy McGovern and Hurn. 

Houli's career-best year saw him average 28.4 disposals and finish in the top 10 among defenders for metres gained. 

McGovern scored his fourth All Australian blazer, while Hurn – arguably the League's best and most penetrating kick – backs up his first-time selection from last season.

Only Greater Western Sydney co-captain Phil Davis matched McGovern's 74 intercept marks and the Eagle was rarely beaten one-on-one. 

Hurn averaged the fifth-most effective disposals per game out of defenders and was again excellent one-on-one and as an intercept marker.

Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron, who kicked 64 goals for the season, is stationed at centre half-forward for what is his second All Australian nod and first for six years.

He averaged an equal-competition-high 3.4 marks inside 50 – in large part because of his expert leading patterns – and only Giants teammate Josh Kelly had more score involvements per match. 

Coleman Medal winner Jeremy Cameron. Picture: AFL Photos

On the half-forward flanks are Geelong's 2016 Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield, who joins rare company as a seven-time All Australian, and Dockers debutant Michael Walters.

Dangerfield amassed 27.3 disposals, 5.7 clearances and 5.9 inside 50s, but also managed to kick 25 goals. 

Walters kicked the second-most goals (40) among small forwards and was also damaging as a midfielder, averaging 21.8 possessions and almost four clearances and inside 50s.

L-R: Patrick Dangerfield, Bachar Houli, Jeremy Cameron, Jeremy McGovern, and Michael Walters. Picture: AFL Photos

The selectors opted for three key forwards, with Jack Darling and Tom Hawkins accompanying Jeremy Cameron, while Brisbane's Charlie Cameron was rewarded for his 54 goals.

Hawkins, a two-time selection, is the team's full-forward after kicking 52 goals, averaging three marks inside 50 and having the AFL's most scoring assists with 40. 

Darling makes the side for the first time thanks to his 54 goals – compared to only 18 behinds – and almost two contested marks a game. 

Charlie Cameron established himself as the game's best small forward, kicking four goals or more six times and repeatedly creating something from nothing.

Melbourne's Max Gawn (third selection), Magpie Scott Pendlebury (sixth), West Coast's Elliot Yeo (second) and Western Bulldog Jack Macrae (first) were chosen on the interchange bench.

Gawn was again the AFL's best rap ruckman, Pendlebury shone with his kicking inside 50, Yeo repeatedly proved himself a matchwinner and Macrae was second in the League for disposals.

A very handy bench: Scott Pendlebury, Elliot Yeo, Max Gawn and Jack Macrae. Picture: AFL Photos

The high-profile omissions included 2017 Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin, Lions skipper Dayne Zorko, Geelong champion Gary Ablett and Port Adelaide's Travis Boak. 

Ablett was bidding to make the team for a record ninth time.