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All Australian 40-man squad: Who's in the mix from your Club?

Two months ago,'s writers named each Club's contenders for the 2017 Australia AFL All Australian team, and selected their mid-season team of the year. 

With two rounds to go, our writers revist their selections, taking into account whose form has improved and whose has stagnated. Which players from your club could make 2017's best team?

Eddie Betts: Had a few quiet games, but the champion small forward has still booted 45 goals this season (seventh in the AFL) to go with 21 goal assists (third in the league). On track for his third straight All Australian jumper.

Matt Crouch: One of the big improvers in an under-rated Crows midfield. Has the second-most disposals with 647 this season, averaging 32.4 per game. Has had 30 or more possessions in 14 straight games.

Sam Jacobs: Got the better of fellow All Australian contender Paddy Ryder in round 20 to win the Showdown Medal. Leads the AFL in hit-outs with 783 at 39.2 per game.

Rory Laird: An All Australian nominee for the past two years, the running defender is building a resume too good to ignore. He's second in effective disposals, fourth in disposals (602 at 30.1 per game) and sixth for rebound 50s.

Jake Lever: The 21-year-old defender has shrugged off speculation about his future to take his game to another level, with his intercept marking a highlight.

Tom Lynch: Another consistent season from the important link-up forward, averaging 20.7 possessions and 7.2 marks per game while kicking 27 goals. In the 40-man AA squad in 2016.

Rory Sloane: Last year's All Australian vice-captain had some quiet weeks when tagged, but has dominated enough games to be named in the 40-man squad. - Lee Gaskin 

Dayne Beams: Back near his best after injury ruined his 2016. The Lions skipper has played as both an inside and outside midfielder, averaged 27 disposals and is back kicking long-range goals.

Dayne Zorko: Best season yet for the two-time best and fairest winner. Has become one of the game's most damaging midfielders with his ability to break lines and kick goals. Averaging 25 touches and kicked 31 goals. - Michael Whiting

Sam Docherty: Was named in the All Australian squad last year and set to go one better this season.  Leading mark taker in the AFL and leads the Blues in kicks (419) and intercept possessions (119).

Sam Docherty had big AA claims last year and has an even better chance in 2017. Picture: AFL Photos

Matthew Kreuzer: Missed only one game this season and has been in the most consistent form of his career, carrying the Blues' ruck division. His clearance work and tackling have been impressive.

Marc Murphy: Has carried a heavy load in the midfield and has been most consistent, polling votes from the coaches in 14 of his 20 games. Leading disposal winner at Carlton (590). - Howard Kotton 

Brodie Grundy: A two-game suspension for a heavy tackle cost the South Australian the opportunity to enhance his chances of All Australian selection by taking on Port Adelaide's Paddy Ryder, the consensus No.1 tap man in the game. Averaging 18.3 touches – more than any other ruckman.

Jeremy Howe: In the minds of many, the versatile former Demon is a certainty for a defensive post after a sensational season of intercept marking, screamers and precision kicking.

Adam Treloar: The gut-running midfielder has produced another consistent season, averaging a club-high 30.5 possessions – fifth in the AFL – along with six tackles and 5.4 clearances. - Ben Collins

Joe Daniher: With two rounds to go, Daniher is in the running to win his first Coleman Medal. The Essendon spearhead has booted 59 goals (one short of leader Josh Kennedy) and he has won several games of his own boot for the Bombers. A genuine match-winner who should get his first All Australian jumper.

Orazio Fantasia: A hamstring injury Fantasia suffered in the Bombers' round 20 win over Carlton could dash his hopes of making the All Australian team. But Fantasia's excellent season – he kicked 38 goals in 19 games – should see him at least make the extended squad as one of the small forward options.

Orazio Fantasia and Joe Daniher may both get their first AA nominations. Picture: AFL Photos

Michael Hurley: The Bombers defender has had his colours lowered only a couple of times since his slow start to the season. He is a commanding presence in the back half, he sets up the play with his long kicking and can dominate games from the defensive 50. Has averaged a career-high 25 disposals this season.

Zach Merrett: Has perhaps dropped behind a few other midfield options in the past month or two with some quieter games (by his lofty standards) and he missed last week through suspension. But after averaging 30 disposals for the season he should make the 40-man squad having been unlucky not to be in last year. - Callum Twomey 

Bradley Hill: Had a stinker against the Swans but his form has otherwise been excellent in the second half of the season. Is averaging a career-high 23.7 disposals per game and will be in Fremantle's club champion count up to his eyeballs.

Lachie Neale: Has been sore and also struggled against the Swans but prior to that strung together eight games with 27 touches or more. Was unlucky to miss out on an All Australian guernsey last year. Favourite to claim back-to-back Doig Medals.

Michael Walters: On track for his first All Australian gong before suffering a PCL injury. Was in blistering touch from round seven onwards, with a six-goal, 32-disposal effort against St Kilda in round 15 arguably the best individual performance this year. Will 17 games be enough to make the 40-man squad? - Travis King

Patrick Dangerfield: Can't win the Brownlow, but should be named in his fifth All Australian line-up for his remarkable consistency over all but one game, with an average of over 30 disposals plus 35 goals.

Joel Selwood: Missing the last month might hurt the Geelong captain's chances of progressing beyond the squad, but the majority of his season before that was excellent as he averaged over 26 disposals and six clearances a game.

Zach Tuohy: Touted as recruit of the year for seamlessly filling the hole left by Corey Enright, the ex-Blue deserves consideration for his maiden AA guernsey for his composure and creativity off half back. - Jennifer Phelan

Gary Ablett: Might have missed a few too many games now, but when Ablett has played, he's been terrific. The eight-time All Australian leads the League in average clearances (7.6) and is second for average disposals (33).

Jarrod Witts: Getting better as the season wore on, Witts rarely had his colours lowered. A fantastic tap ruckman, Witts was a primary reason behind Gold Coast averaging the most centre clearances in the League. - Michael Whiting 

Phil Davis: the Giants' co-captain has been a rock in defence and has rarely been beaten, despite taking on the best key forwards in the game like Lance Franklin, Tom Lynch and Tom Hawkins.

Josh Kelly: his future is still up in the air beyond this season but it hasn't affected the gun midfielder. Kelly has averaged 28.8 possessions and 6.4 tackles per game, and has kicked 17 goals from his 19 games.

Tom Scully: one of the competition's elite running machines has done a power of work on the wing, averaging 23.6 touches per game, and has also finished off with 13 goals.

Dylan Shiel: the explosive midfielder has averaged 28 disposals and seven clearances in 20 games this season, and has been in blistering form of late, gathering 30+ possessions in six of his past 10 matches. - Adam Curley


Ben McEvoy: Ranks only 14th in hit-outs with 32.7, but the devil is in the detail for McEvoy. Solid across many categories, but leads ruckmen in marks (4.1) and contested marks (1.8) and is equal second in marks inside 50 (0.7). What are we always wanting more from out of big men?
Ben McEvoy's contribution goes well beyond hit-outs. Picture: AFL Photos

Tom Mitchell: Barring injury, the ex-Swan will break Lachie Neale's AFL season disposals record of 737 from last year as soon as this weekend. Is averaging 35.6 possessions (first in League), including 14.7 contested (fifth), 6.2 clearances (equal 13th) and 6.5 tackles (15th). - Marc McGowan

Jeff Garlett: The classy forward has put together the most consistent season of his 165-game career, booting a team-leading 38 goals, and equal with fellow All Australian contender Essendon's Orazio Fantasia. Garlett's forward-half pressure has also been a staple of his game and a marked improvement on recent seasons.

Michael Hibberd: Missed the first four games due to an Achilles injury, but the former Bomber has been one of the competition's best defenders this season. Hibberd has been one of the recruits of the year, with the attacking defender averaging a career-high 28 disposals and ranking No.1 in the AFL for average metres gained per match (566.9m).

Neville Jetta: The underrated defender does not get the credit he deserves but the fact of the matter is Jetta is one of the competition's best one-on-one defenders. Regularly matches up on the opposition's most dangerous small forward and rarely gets beaten.

Clayton Oliver: Deserves to be in the final team based on his consistent output in a breakout second year at AFL level. Oliver has averaged 30 disposals, including 10 games above 30 touches or more, and 6.8 clearances per game. Gets criticised by some for over handballing, but his hands in heavy congestion are elite and almost unrivalled. - Ben Guthrie 

Ben Brown: Joins Sun Tom Lynch as the only players from teams placed 11th or lower to feature in the top 20 in total goals. Is fourth overall with a career-best 54 majors and ranks third behind Josh Kennedy and Tom Hawkins for goalkicking accuracy among the top 10 goalkickers.

It's been a standout, and surprising, year for Ben Brown. Picture: AFL Photos

Ben Cunnington: Wins 25.2 disposals per game, which is a modest number in this company, but where he comes into his own is in clearances (7.3, ranked third in the AFL) and contested ball (14.5, sixth). One of the game's best, most creative handballers – and averages 16.2, the seventh-most in the competition.

Robbie Tarrant: Being the No.1 key defender in the third-worst side is a tough gig, but has stepped up his offensive game with career-highs in disposals (17.5), rebound 50s (4.1) and metres gained (303.2) while regularly manning the opposition's best forward. - Marc McGowan

Robbie Gray: Has played predominantly forward, kicking a career-high 44 goals this season, second in the League for goal assists and has won games off his own boot. Was an All Australian in 2014 and 2015.

Paddy Ryder: Gives his midfielders excellent service with his ruck work. Probably behind Sam Jacobs as the first-choice ruck in the AA team, but should make the 40-man squad.

Chad Wingard: A two-time All-Australian in 2013 and 2015, Wingard's move to the midfield has been a masterstroke. Has had five games of 30 or more possessions to go with 19 goals in 16 games. - Lee Gaskin  

David Astbury A rock in defence, Astbury has taken on the big jobs and played every game. Involved in 91 one-on-one contests (fourth most in the AFL) and has lost only 18.  

Trent Cotchin Back to his best and relishing more freedom under a new attacking game plan. Averaging 24 possessions (11.3 contested) and a team-high 5.7 tackles, leading by example and standing up at critical moments in games.   

It's been a return to best form this year for Trent Cotchin. Picture: AFL Photos

Dustin Martin Arguably the best midfielder in the competition and a short-priced favourite to win his first Brownlow Medal. Has kicked 28 goals and is feared when isolated deep forward. Also averages 28.9 disposals (No.10 in the AFL) and an AFL-high 3.7 centre clearances.

Alex Rance The intercept king of the AFL, Rance ranks No.1 in the League for intercept possessions (185) and No.3 for intercept marks (60). No.2 in the AFL for spoils (172) and without peer as the game's best key defender.    

Jack Riewoldt Has held a small forward line together and played a selfless role that has been underrated. Kicked 43.30 in 18 games and ranks No.12 in the AFL for overall scoreboard impact (357 points) when goal and behind assists are included. – Nathan Schmook  

Dylan Roberton: Started the season on fire and while he has slowed a touch since, the defender has been one of his side's best. Has averaged 24 disposals, six rebound-50s and 485m gained per game.

Seb Ross: The midfielder has racked up plenty of the footy, averaging 30 disposals per game, and has also been used to nullify the opposition's gun ball-winner. - Dinny Navaratnam 

Lance Franklin: sits third in the Coleman medal race with an inaccurate 56.53 for the season, and leads the competition with 9.1 score involvements per game.

Josh Kennedy: the new skipper has thrived in the role averaging 28.4 possessions and seven clearances per game, while also floating forward to kick 12 goals.

Jake Lloyd: the former wingman has been outstanding across half-back averaging 26.7 disposals per game, and has been a brilliant rebounder for the Swans.

Luke Parker: after a slow start to the year the 2016 Brownlow medal runner up has led the Swans’ revival, averaging 25.5 possessions, 6.2 clearances, and 5.5 tackles per match. - Adam Curley

Josh Kennedy: Stunning comeback from five games out nursing a calf strain has seen the star spearhead boot 26 goals in five matches to reclaim the Coleman Medal lead and almost single-handedly keep West Coast's finals hopes alive.

Jeremy McGovern: The Eagles' 'Mr. Fix It' has done it all this year in defence, attack and the ruck. Third in the League for marks (155) and contested marks (47). Rarely plays a bad game.

Elliot Yeo: Blistering early season form has tailed off although he was influential early with his trademark dash against Carlton last round. Was starring across half-back before he was moved to midfield out of necessity to add size and speed. Still right in the mix. - Travis King

Marcus Bontempelli: Had a flat patch in the middle of the season, but he's been the only Bulldog to regularly perform at his best. Several match-winning performances should persuade the selectors to give him back-to-back gongs. - Ryan Davidson 


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