Adelaide Crows

Best and fairest 

1. Brad Crouch – Enjoying a brilliant season after missing all of last year with a groin injury. The inside midfielder is averaging 30.9 disposals per game, and has had at least 24 in all 12 matches.

2. Alex Keath – Has come from the clouds to be in All Australian contention with his intercept marking in defence.

3. Rory Sloane – The newly appointed co-captain has had a consistent season, averaging 24.8 disposals and 6.8 tackles in 12 games.

Recruit of the year: Chayce Jones – The 19-year-old Tasmanian, taken with the ninth overall pick in last year's draft, played six of the first 10 games, showing promise with his pace and tackling pressure as a small forward.

Most improved: Alex Keath – It's easy to forget the 27-year-old former cricketer has only played 24 career games – with half of those coming this season. He's a great mark overhead, reads the play well and is calm under pressure.

Rookie of the Year: Elliott Himmelberg – After debuting in round 23 last year, the 198cm key forward got another taste of senior football with six games between rounds five to 10. The 21-year-old presented a strong contest and will be better for the experience.

Goal of the year: Eddie Betts, round five v Gold Coast – Betts defied logic to produce a brilliant left-foot checkside from hard in the left forward pocket, one of his six goals in his 300th game.

Mark of the year: Hugh Greenwood, round eight v Port Adelaide – The former basketballer used all of his hops to take a ride on the back of Power midfielder Willem Drew. - Lee Gaskin 

WATCH Hugh flies high to take mark of the night

Brisbane Lions

Best and fairest 

1. Lachie Neale – Blistering start to the season, averaging 32.7 disposals (equal first in the League), 16 contested (fifth) and 7.5 clearances (fourth). The primary reason for Brisbane's surge into the top eight.

2. Hugh McCluggage – Taken his game up two levels this year. Composed ball use, including 13 goals from the midfield, has been a feature.

3. Dayne Zorko – Not the gaudy numbers of seasons past, but solid every week and his pressure is the best in the competition.

Recruit of the year: Lachie Neale – As above. The Lions nabbed him from Fremantle and expected him to be great, and he's somehow exceeded that.

Most improved: Daniel Rich – Not your usual candidate in this department. Rich missed the top-10 of last year's best and fairest and is now having the best season of his 11 – so tough, so skilled and so consistent – and should be applauded.

Rookie of the Year: Noah Answerth – Drafted at No.55 last year, this was expected to be a development season. Now, with seven games under his belt, Answerth's tenacity and courage in the defensive 50 has been a pleasant bonus.

Goal of the year: Cam Rayner, round 11 v Hawthorn – Two balls soccered off the ground, then two handballs and finished off with a mid-air karate kick by Rayner

Mark of the year: Lincoln McCarthy, round three v Port Adelaide – The half-forward used Dan Houston as a stepladder – much to the amazement of teammate Mitch Robinson. - Michael Whiting 


Best and fairest 
1. Patrick Cripps – No question. The Carlton co-captain has been extraordinary once again. Whether it's winning the contested ball or as the source of going forward to hit the scoreboard, Cripps has been the club's standout. He might even be leading the Brownlow.

2. Sam Walsh – It's remarkable to think of the impact the teenager has had in his first season at the club, but Walsh has quickly risen to become one of Carlton's most important midfielders. His consistency has been crucial.

3. Sam Petrevski-Seton – An improved start to the year saw Petrevski-Seton's numbers and impact rise to career-high levels. Winning more of the footy and using it effectively, the young midfielder is finally finding his feet in the Carlton engine room. 

Recruit of the year: Nic Newman – The Blues snared Newman for a fourth-round selection, but his impact has been worth much more than that. He's averaging 21 disposals across half-back, with his kicking ability a particularly impressive facet of his game. 

Most improved: Jacob Weitering – After a couple of rocky years, Weitering has finally settled nicely in the heart of Carlton's backline. He's intercepting much like he did in junior footy again, while his one-on-one work has also been impressive.

Rookie of the year: Sam Walsh – He's played just 12 games, but the No.1 draft pick has quickly become one of Carlton's most important players. Averaging nearly 25 disposals per game, Walsh is classy, composed and super skilled.

Goal of the year: David Cuningham, round six v Hawthorn – The classy Carlton forward brushed aside Hawthorn captain Ben Stratton with a fend-off, before running to the pocket and squeezing his shot home from just inside the boundary.

Mark of the year: Liam Jones, round six v Hawthorn – Fourth in the queue as a pack assembled, the Carlton defender leapt over teammate Caleb Marchbank and hauled in a lovely contested grab. - Riley Beveridge

WATCH Jones' huge mark against the Hawks


Best and fairest

1. Brodie Grundy – An All Australian season, the gun ruckman has maintained his exceptional standard and remained the AFL's most prolific ruckman, averaging 20.5 possessions (13 contested), 42 hitouts, 5.5 clearances and four tackles.

2. Scott Pendlebury – The skipper has again played at a consistently high level in the midfield while continuing to grow as a leader.

3. Adam Treloar – Second in the AFL for disposals, averaging 32.7 a game, the gut-running midfielder gets on the podium on sheer weight of numbers alone.

Recruit of the year:  Jordan Roughead – The former Bulldogs big man has embraced the challenge of holding down a key defensive post and has proved an astute acquisition with his discipline, experience and steadying influence.

Most improved: Darcy Moore – We saw glimpses of it during his injury-plagued 2018 season but the big-marking, long-striding Moore has cemented his move to defence with a terrific start to the season that has him in All Australian contention.

Rookie of the Year: Isaac Quaynor – The rebounding defender is edging closer to an AFL debut after being named an emergency on several occasions, and he'd probably be the first player called upon if the Pies lose a small or medium-sized backman.

Goal of the year: Steele Sidebottom, round nine v St Kilda – The vice-captain left two Saints clutching at thin air before nailing a crucial goal on the run. 

Mark of the year: Jordan de Goey, round two v Richmond – The matchwinner used Oleg Markov as a stepladder to haul in a spine-tingling grab. - Ben Collins


Best and fairest
1. Michael Hurley – The two-time All Australian defender has never won a best and fairest, but is having another excellent season as the most reliable and dependable key backman for the Bombers.

2. Dyson Heppell – Essendon's skipper always polls well in the club's best and fairest and has had a consistent season in the midfield, averaging 27 disposals.

3. Dylan Shiel – In the Bombers' horrid start to the season Shiel was one of their best players. He has missed only one game with his hamstring complaint.

Recruit of the year: Dylan Shiel – Essendon gave up two first-round picks for the Giants star, and he has added genuine zip and explosiveness to their midfield. Has been criticised at times for his ball use, but Shiel has proved the line-breaking midfield option the Bombers needed.

Most improved: Mason Redman – The attacking half-back is enjoying a breakout season in the senior side. Has shown plenty with his precise and penetrating kicking and also his strength overhead. Looks a player.

Rookie of the Year: Brayden Ham – There's not many Bombers who fit the eligibility, but they blooded Ham on Good Friday against North Melbourne and he impressed with 10 disposals and a goal. Is lightly-bodied, but the late pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft looks a composed type.

Goal of the year: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, round three v Melbourne – The livewire Essendon forward dodged past two Demons defenders, baulked one, baulked another and then slotted a sharp snap from the boundary line.

Mark of the year: Cale Hooker, round six v Collingwood – With Essendon trailing deep in the last quarter on Anzac Day, Hooker's courageous back-with-the-flight grab in front of oncoming traffic gave the Bombers a chance of a late comeback. - Callum Twomey


Best and fairest 

1. Nat Fyfe – Has been a beast in the middle and leads the Dockers for disposals (29.4), contested possessions (17.7) and clearances (7.6). Everything Freo does starts with the inspirational skipper around stoppages.

2. Michael Walters – Won two games off his own boot, leads the goalkicking despite spending plenty of time in midfield and stands head and shoulders above most Dockers with his exceptional ball use.

3. Bradley Hill – Could mount an argument for Hill being Freo's most important player. When he is breaking lines and surging forward the Dockers are at their most dangerous.

Recruit of the year: Rory Lobb – Chose to come to Fremantle partly because of opportunity to play forward but what he offers around the ground as a mobile ruckman has been invaluable. Will be sorely missed due to a foot fracture. 

Most improved: Ethan Hughes – Could also raffle it between Brandon Matera and Darcy Tucker but Hughes seemed the least likely to be a permanent fixture heading into 2019. Has played every game and been reliable across half-back.

Rookie of the Year: Taylin Duman – The lanky defender lost his spot for three weeks after a suspension but looks more and more at home with every game he plays. His size and rebound make him a useful asset down back.

Goal of the year: Michael Walters, round 11 v Collingwood – For the second week in a row Walters lived the dream with a late match-deciding set shot. 

Mark of the year: Joel Hamling, round one v North Melbourne – Chopping off a pass, Hamling spoils with his right arm and reels in the grab with his left. Travis King

WATCH Hamling turns a spoil into a clever mark

Geelong Cats

Best and fairest

1. Tim Kelly – Gone to new heights after his incredible debut season. Has jumped from 22.9 to 26.6 disposals per match and is leading the AFL Coaches Association votes.

2. Mark Blicavs – Has arguably had a better season than last when he claimed his second Carji Greeves Medal. Aside from North Melbourne's Ben Brown in round eight, Blicavs is yet to lower his colours.

3. Patrick Dangerfield – At least four best-on-ground performances, potentially up to six. Only behind Blicavs because he missed one match and had no impact on another through injury.

Recruit of the year: Gary Rohan – Acquired for pick 62 and has delivered in spades. Chris Scott said the Cats couldn't be happier with Rohan's output, especially when the ball is in opposition hands. Has kicked 14.2 from set shots.

Most improved: Mark O'Connor – Transformed from a raw and skinny defender into an integral part of Geelong's defensive structure. Played the final four games of last season and yet to miss a match this season. Incredible composure for a 19-game player.

Rookie of the Year: Gryan Miers – Running machine who has forced his way into the Cats' line-up after spending his entire debut season in the VFL. The 20-year-old has proven the ideal link between the arcs and hit the scoreboard for 15 goals, playing every match. 

Goal of the year: Gary Ablett, round five v Hawthorn. Running towards the left forward pocket at the City End of the MCG, Ablett snapped inside-out on his right boot at a crucial stage of the match.  

Mark of the year: Tom Stewart, round nine v Western Bulldogs. Used Tom Liberatore as a step ladder and made time slow down with a traditional one-on-one hanger. - Mitch Cleary

Gold Coast Suns

Best and fairest 

1. David Swallow – A fantastic, under-rated season from the co-captain. Averaging 23 disposals and kicking nine goals, has played through injury and led from the front with his attack on the footy.

2. Jarrod Witts – Like Swallow, could not do more in his co-captain's role. One of the best ruckmen in the competition.

3. Jarrod Harbrow – Backing up his best and fairest last year with another strong campaign. Averages 20 touches, defends well and offers plenty of run.

Recruit of the year:  Jack Hombsch – A close-run contest with fellow key defender Sam Collins, whose recent injury cost him. Hombsch regularly plays on bigger opponents but has rarely had his colours lowered.

Most improved: Jack Bowes – Entering his third season, the former No.10 draft pick has started to realise his potential. Played largely on-ball, averaged 19 disposals and mixed it with some of the competition's biggest midfielders before a quad injury halted his progress.

Rookie of the Year: Wil Powell – After seven games in his first season, Powell has been thrust into the crucial wing role this year. Skillful, a terrific runner and brave well beyond his size, Powell is now entrenched in the 22.

Goal of the year: Jack Bowes, round four v Carlton – Not the cleanest strike, but Bowes snatched victory with his left-foot snap inside the final 15 seconds. 

Mark of the year: Sam Collins, round two v Fremantle – Against his former club, Collins went back with the flight to take a match-saving mark he'll always remember. - Michael Whiting 

GWS Giants

Best and fairest 

1. Stephen Coniglio – It's been another outstanding season for Coniglio, averaging 27 disposals and a goal a game. He has stepped up with the departure of key midfielders last year and is not letting his out-of-contract status hurt his football in any way.

2. Lachie Whitfield – Has shown his class and importance to the Giants across half-back, but has been equally as damaging when on the wing or in the midfield. A jet with his foot skills and run and carry, and set for another All Australian jumper.

3. Tim Taranto – Taranto has become a vital member of the club's on-ball brigade. The 21-year-old has averaged 29 disposals this season and five clearances. He will reach his 50-game milestone this weekend against North Melbourne and should be polling well in the club's best and fairest count.

Recruit of the year: Shane Mumford – Mumford has shown why the Giants pulled him out of retirement, where he was their ruck coach, to be back on the field and leading their midfield division. A physical, imposing force who could be important in the finals.

Most improved: Brent Daniels – It's been an impressive season for Daniels, who has played every game in the Giants' forward half. He has booted five goals, but has been handy with his tackling pressure and pace.

Rookie of the Year: Sam Taylor – Taylor has held down a key defensive position for the Giants in all bar one game this year and shown his competitiveness and athleticism. Was nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star last year and is eligible again.

Goal of the year: Jeremy Cameron, round 11 v Gold Coast – The Coleman Medal leader was far too good for the Suns, showing his class with a brilliant snap after a handball on the boundary line from Coniglio in the third term.  

WATCH Classy Cameron's brilliant finish

Mark of the year: Jeremy Cameron, round three v Richmond – Cameron leapt high in the forward pocket in a pack of players to complete a strong grab. It kickstarted an amazing afternoon for Cameron, who kicked 7.5 from 30 disposals. - Callum Twomey


Best and fairest

1. Ricky Henderson – The winger was one of the last-contracted Hawks last year, but burst into unlikely All Australian contention with an extraordinary start to the season. Has six games with at least 29 possessions and boasts clean skills.

2. Jaeger O'Meara – Admirably shouldering the load as Hawthorn's No.1 onballer in Tom Mitchell's absence. Won 42 disposals against Carlton.

3. Ben McEvoy – One of the AFL's form ruckmen until an ankle injury put him on the shelf in round nine.

Recruit of the year: Jack Scrimshaw – The ex-Sun and 2016 top-10 draft pick cost the Hawks very little but quickly became a staple in defence with his composure and intercept marking. A knee injury has sidelined him but he's proven his worth.

Most improved: James Worpel – Not enough is made of Worpel's midfield feats in 2019, given he's still only 22 games into his career. Already an established onball member and hasn't dipped below 21 touches this year.

Rookie of the Year: James Cousins – Accumulated only seven games across his last two seasons, but Tom Mitchell's injury opened a spot for him. Has won at least 20 disposals five times and proved his worth with an outstanding display in Hawthorn's upset of GWS.

Goal of the year: Chad Wingard, round three v North Melbourne – Wingard's brown and gold debut was a thrilling one as he slotted the match-winner, including dancing through traffic to snap a third goal for the day

Mark of the year: Isaac Smith, round three v North Melbourne – Courage personified for Smith, who held his ground under a skied Sherrin – even as teammate Chad Wingard charges in – to haul in a terrific grab. - Marc McGowan

WATCH Smith's leap of faith against Kangas

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Best and fairest

1. Max Gawn – There could be no other. After a rough start when he struggled in round one against Port Adelaide, Gawn has been exceptional and has continued to vie with Collingwood big man Brodie Grundy for the title of the competition's premier ruckman.

2. Christian Salem – Going very well down back. His clean disposal has stood out in a side that has lacked polish this year. Averaging 25 disposals and five rebound 50s.

3. James Harmes – It's a tight battle with Clayton Oliver, but Harmes has been reasonably solid despite the Dees' struggles, and flourished in the past month.

Recruit of the year: Marty Hore – this almost certainly would have been Steven May but a groin injury has sidelined the former Gold Coast co-captain for much of the year. Nevertheless, Hore has been remarkably effective in defence and has displayed strong aerial prowess.

Most improved: Jayden Hunt – after a disappointing run last season, the speedster has looked good in attack. He hasn't necessarily been better than his breakout 2017 but there haven't been many Dees to have gone to another level.

Rookie of the Year: Oskar Baker – the criteria was the same as that for the NAB AFL Rising Star, ruling out Hore, and Baker has shown off an impressive pair of wheels in his four games.

Goal of the year: Christian Petracca, round four v Sydney – off a looseball get, with Jackson Thurlow holding on to his jumper and swinging him around in a tackle, Petracca threw the footy on his right boot and it somehow sailed through. 

WATCH Trac swings through an incredible major

Mark of the year: Jake Melksham, round five v St Kilda – with a long ball sent into the Dees' forward line, Melksham soared over Josh Battle to take the grab. - Dinny Navaratnam

North Melbourne

Best and fairest

1. Ben Cunnington – Putting together one of the great midfield seasons. Is racking up AFL-highs in contested possessions (17.7) and clearances (8.5), relegating Carlton superstar Patrick Cripps to second in each. Physical brute with the best hands in the business.

2. Shaun Higgins – Going every bit as well as his All Australian campaign last year. Averaging career-high disposals but faces six weeks out now because of AC joint injury.

3. Robbie Tarrant – Arguably enjoying his best season at age 30. He's beaten the likes of Tom Lynch, Jack Gunston and Taylor Walker.

Recruit of the year: Jared Polec – Arrived on a big-money deal from Port Adelaide and the critics didn't miss him early in the season. In reality, he's performed the role he was asked to – specifically as an outside player – and his past fortnight was particularly good.

Most improved: Nick Larkey – This could easily be Cam Zurhaar, but Larkey's breakout as a key target in the forward line, including multiple three-goal efforts, gives him the nod in arguably a tougher position.

Rookie of the Year: Tarryn Thomas – Doesn't need much of the ball to make an impact, but his influential moments in games are becoming more common. Thomas was rewarded for his best performance yet with the round 12 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee.

Goal of the year: Jared Polec, round nine v Sydney – The Roos trailed by 11 points inside the last two minutes, and Polec received a free kick 50m out on the boundary. The resultant set shot was struck magnificently.

WATCH Polec threads the needle in Hobart

Mark of the year: Mason Wood, round eight v Geelong – A long Roos kick out of defence found its target when Wood soared over outsized Cat Zach Tuohy to take a speccy. - Marc McGowan

WATCH Wood launches for a huge grab

Port Adelaide

Best and fairest 

1. Travis Boak – The former skipper has been re-energised without the burden of the captaincy and a move back to the midfield. In All-Australian contention, averaging 31.9 disposals and 6.6 clearances per game.

2. Tom Rockliff – Back to his best, finding plenty of the ball and showing why the Power signed him to a four-year contract as a free agent at the end of 2017.

3. Dan Houston – Has provided lots of dash out of defence and showed he can even roll through the midfield.

Recruit of the year: Scott Lycett – The West Coast premiership ruckman has been a valuable pick-up for the Power this season. He's been solid in the ruck with just under 23 hitouts per game, while also averaging 13.6 disposals and three clearances.

Most improved: Dan Houston – Has gone from being a solid defender to an attacking weapon off half-back. Houston also showed his versatility when he had 28 disposals playing as a midfielder against St Kilda in round 11 in China.

Rookie of the Year: Connor Rozee – The fifth overall pick in last year's draft has exceeded expectations with his ability to turn a game and thrive in the big moments. Booted five goals against Brisbane in round three.

Goal of the year: Paddy Ryder, round six v North Melbourne – The Power ruckman used his athleticism to grab the ball out of the air and snap it from a tight angle. 

Mark of the year: Dougal Howard, round 11 v St Kilda – The key defender took a nice little grab over a Saints opponent on the wing. - Lee Gaskin 

WATCH Howard flies high in Shanghai


Best and fairest 
1. Shane Edwards – Has come full circle with a return to half-back where he started his career. Acting captaincy suited him in an injury-ravaged season for the club, and he has been consistent and creative out of defence.

2. Dustin Martin – Had some quieter games, but some absolute top-liners as well. Is hitting the scoreboard and showing leadership.

3. Bachar Houli – Is averaging a career-high 29.3 disposals despite missing three games with a hamstring strain.

Recruit of the year: Sydney Stack – Signed at the end of the Supplementary Selection Period in March, the rookie has shone in defence; his toughness, physicality and skill under pressure has won fans across football.

Most improved: Noah Balta – Still has quite a way to go, but has cemented himself in the side since debuting in round one. Looks at his best on the ball or bounding down the wing, where his athleticism and ball-reading ability is at its strongest.

Rookie of the Year: Liam Baker – Could easily slot into "most improved" but has a Rising Star nomination. Tough as nails, the diminutive forward has also spent time on the wing where his speed and strong marking has stood out.

Goal of the year: Jason Castagna, round 8 v Fremantle – A lot of elements here. Sprinting, spinning, a bounce, two opponents and an umpire. Enjoy.

Mark of the year: Sydney Stack, round 6 v Melbourne – Jack Riewoldt unlucky, but this gets the points for being taken over two opponents. - Sarah Black

St Kilda

Best and fairest
1. Jack Steele – Trying to tip the leader is very difficult, because the Saints have been very even. However, the midfielder has been consistent inside the contest and has performed his stopping role with aplomb.

2. Jack Billings – The wingman has taken the next step in his career, although there have been some games when his influence has been quelled.

3. Rowan Marshall – A bolter. Missed two games this year, but has been excellent despite having to shoulder the burden as sole ruckman.

Recruit of the year: Callum Wilkie – Injuries to Jake Carlisle, Dylan Roberton and Jarryn Geary should have decimated the Saints' backline, but instead, others have stepped up. Wilkie has been among them. Drafted because of his similarity to Roberton, the South Australian has delivered.

Most improved: Josh Battle – It could easily be Marshall, but the way Battle has moved from attack to defence, not only stopping opponents but delivering it accurately by foot, has been critical.

Rookie of the Year: Ben Paton – the NAB AFL Rising Star Award eligibility criteria applied here, and Paton has been the best of the bunch. Has managed six games and was dependable in defence, despite his youth and inexperience.

Goal of the year: Shane Savage, round eight v West Coast – running towards the boundary, the backman didn't quite seem balanced but miraculously snapped it through anyway.

Mark of the year: Josh Bruce, round two v Essendon – rode Michael Hurley's shoulders and twisted mid-air. - Dinny Navaratnam

Sydney Swans

Best and fairest
1. Luke Parker – You could throw a blanket over five but the new co-captain has had an exceptional past month. He was Sydney's standout player against Geelong and Essendon, and has featured in the best most weeks; on track for his third Bob Skilton Medal.

2. George Hewett – The stocks of this former 'run-with' player continue to rise. He now finds plenty of ball and was clear BOG against North.

3. Jake Lloyd – The reigning best-and-fairest winner gets the nod ahead of Tom Papley. Lloyd is having another stellar season (top three in the comp for disposals and total metres gained).

Recruit of the year: Ryan Clarke – The Swans recruits haven been disappointing, however, Clarke has shown he is clearly too good for NEAFL. It looks like he's found his place in the team as a tagger after stunning shutdown jobs on Shaun Higgins and Steele Sidebottom.


Most improved: Jordan Dawson – The Swans have rated Dawson for a while, but injury has held him back. He has a nice left leg, is brilliant overhead, he's brave, and versatile. He may well go past some of his more fancied teammates in a year or two. 

Rookie of the Year: Nick Blakey – The half-forward's class is there for all to see. He's surprisingly quick, has a huge leap, and is a really clever user by foot. Had 17 touches and five tackles against Essendon, and has kicked nine for the year – on track to take a massive hanger.

Goal of the year: Tom Papley, round seven v Brisbane. Papley has a few contenders. The one against the Lions where he paddles the ball forward and runs circles around Noah Answerth is the best.

Mark of the year: Isaac Heeney, round one v Western Bulldogs. Didn't take long for the 2018 MOTY winner to get on the board in 2019. He gets huge hang time on Bulldog Bailey Williams' back in the first couple of minutes of the first game of the season. - Cameron Noakes

West Coast Eagles

Best and fairest 

1. Shannon Hurn – Has the skipper's 2019 been better than last year? Kicks, possessions, disposal efficiency, contested marks and rebound 50s all increased. On track for All Australian honours again, maybe this time as captain.

2. Elliot Yeo – Started a touch slowly after a limited pre-season but was an inspiration behind five-game winning streak. Could push for rare honour of three straight John Worsfold medals, depending on severity of his calf injury.

3. Brad Sheppard – 'Mr. Consistent' down back. Regularly shuts down the opposition's most dangerous small forward and averaging a career-best 19.7 disposals.

Recruit of the year: Tom Hickey – The Eagles needed someone to compete and help hold the fort without Nic Naitanui and the former Saint has been their best option in the ruck to date, averaging 19 hitouts and 12 disposals in eight games. 

Most improved: Jack Petruccelle – His form has tailed off slightly in the past month but Petruccelle's blistering pace and smarts were on display in a 10-goal stretch over five games early in the year. Played every match after three in debut year.

Rookie of the Year: Oscar Allen – Could argue for Petruccelle, however Allen's ability to pinch-hit in the ruck and play off Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling in attack has been more important to the overall team structure. Has 12 goals in 11 games. A future star. 

Goal of the year: Jack Petruccelle, round two v Greater Western Sydney – Streaking away from congestion on the wing, Petruccelle took two bounces and drilled a team-lifting major. 

Mark of the year: Liam Ryan, round nine v Melbourne – Ryan sprinted from outside 50 to the top of the goalsquare and launched over Melbourne giant Max Gawn for a towering grab before slotting the go-ahead major. - Travis King

Western Bulldogs

Best and fairest
1. Marcus Bontempelli – The brilliant playmaker has been the Dogs' most damaging player, averaging 27 possessions (12 contested), six clearances, a goal and a goal assist. Started particularly strongly and his only blemish has been his conversion.

2. Caleb Daniel – The diminutive runner has been a superb ball user in the back half where opponents have been forced to pay him considerable attention.

3. Jack Macrae – The Bulldogs' other tall left-footed midfielder has been his club's most prolific ball-winner, averaging 29 touches enjoying several standout performances.

Recruit of the year: Sam Lloyd – The former Richmond opportunist, 29, has enjoyed an impressive first season at Whitten Oval, tallying 17 goals (equal-best at the club), including six multiple-goal efforts, and being held goalless just once.

Most improved: Aaron Naughton – The teenage sensation from Western Australia finished fourth in the Dog's best and fairest last year as a key defender and this season has showcased his tremendous versatility and marking ability in attack.

Rookie of the Year: Bailey Smith – The uber-professional draftee seems set for stardom. Already nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star award, the hard-running midfielder has played every game and averaged 18 possessions.

Goal of the year: Bailey Smith, round four v Collingwood – The youngster's first career goal was one to savour – a banana on the run while under pressure.

Mark of the year: Hayden Crozier, round four v Collingwood – The defender launched himself onto the shoulders of fellow high-flyer Jamie Elliott to take a sensational grab. - Ben Collins