GOLD Coast's emergence as one of the League's rising forces has been recognised in the AFL Players' Association's 22under22 squad, with a record eight Suns named among the illustrious group.

The club's youngsters make up one-fifth of the 40-man squad, which doesn't even feature last year's No.1 pick Matt Rowell due to an eligibility criterion which mandates that you must play a minimum of eight games to be selected.

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Charlie Ballard, Connor Budarick, Jack Lukosius, Jack Bowes, Noah Anderson, Ben Ainsworth, Ben King and Izak Rankine all earned selection in the squad, which recognises the game's best players under the age of 22 years.

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Despite blooding a series of youngsters – including nine AFL debutants – throughout a season that has so far yielded only one victory, there are no Adelaide players in the squad. Melbourne is the only other team without a single representative.

Essendon midfielder Andrew McGrath and Carlton defender Jacob Weitering are both gunning for their third selection in the team, which is voted on by fans, with 10 other players named in the squad having also earned prior inclusions.

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Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli holds the record for most inclusions, having earned his place in the side five times since the inaugural team was first announced back in 2013.

The 40-man squad was selected by the AFLPA's board, with the final team to be decided via a fan vote. The official 22under22 side will be released on September 22.