MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - APRIL 16: Lachie Hunter of the Bulldogs kicks a goal during the round four AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on April 16, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)

JUST IN: AFLPA’s 22under22 preliminary squad announced

The AFL Players’ Association has tonight released the preliminary list of 50 players in contention to be named in the annual 22under22 squad.

The team, currently in its fifth year, features the best players in the competition under 22 years of age during the 2016 season.

“It’s really promising to sit back and look at the young players coming through that are already consistently strong performers so early on in their career,” AFLPA president Matthew Pavlich said.

“Some of these guys in this squad have only been in the AFL system for one or two years and a few of them are already considered their team’s most important player.

“It’s a really exciting time for the future of the game — I can’t wait to see who the fans select as their final 22.”

The side will be narrowed down to 22 players by fans, who have the opportunity to vote on the team at the AFLPA’s website.

The final 22-man team will be announced at the AFLPA MVP Awards night on September 13.

The full squad.