The art of the wingman is one that has been long forgotten as the inside midfielder has taken hold of the competition.
Debates arise every All-Australian period about the absence of out-and-out wingmen in the final 22, so we've decided to look at each club's wingmen and rank them.
These rankings do not directly correlate with actual team performance, rather focussing on just the wing setup at each club and how they perform each week.
Most duos chosen are based on the 2022 team selections, while some feature players who are yet to play in 2022 but are proven wingmen e.g. Paul Seedsman.
Bear in mind, that some teams rarely stick with the same duo on each wing, while clubs, such as Melbourne, have stuck through and seen first-hand the benefits a successful wing setup can bring to your club, which greatly affects their ranking on this list.
Wing Duo: Dan Howe and Harry Morrison
The Hawks haven't yet cemented a wing duo so far in 2022, with young midfielder Harry Morrison the only regularity on the wing.
Morrison has averaged 19.6 disposals, 5.8 marks and 2.8 tackles so far in 2022, and has become a regular contributor for Sam Mitchell's side as they continue to defy sceptics in the opening portion of the season.
Howe has been in and out of the side this season but his history on the wing in previous seasons makes him the obvious candidate. The 27-year-old has averaged 14 disposals, five marks and two tackles so far this season, numbers he'd be looking to improve on as the season continues.
The unclear setup at Hawthorn is the reason for their low ranking, despite their bright start to the season. Expect them to begin to cement a duo as the season draws on.
17. North Melbourne
David Noble will be looking for more from his wingmen in 2022 after an underwhelming start to the season for the Kangaroos, who looked set to have an improved season.
It has been a tough start to 2022 for both players, who look like the wing setup that Noble is looking to stick with when both are healthy.
Young has averaged 15 disposals, 3.6 marks and two tackles this season, with the former Bulldog putting in serviceable performances, however, he would be eager to become more of a consistent contributor.
Polec has endured a tough time at North Melbourne since making the move from Port Adelaide, falling in and out of favour and not putting in the performances that AFL fans became accustomed to when he was at Port Adelaide.
The winger has averaged 14 disposals, five marks and 1.5 tackles in his two games this season, with his disposal count down on his career average of 20.1, despite the small sample size.
Recapturing the form that made him a real threat on the wing could be hugely beneficial for the Kangaroos for the remainder of the season.
Wing Duo: Will Setterfield and Lochie O'Brien
Another emerging duo, who have stepped up their ability within their team, Setterfield and O'Brien started on the wing for the Blues in four of the first five games before O'Brien was omitted for their clash against the Power last weekend.
Given the regularity of the two being named on the wings, we have gone with this setup for Carlton, but there needs to be a mention to young star Sam Walsh, who has taken up a running, uncontested role in the Carlton midfield this season.
Setterfield has started the season impressively, averaging 19 disposals and 4.4 marks per game this season on the wing, using his big frame and running ability to provide another useful option for the already stacked Blues midfield.
In his fifth season, O'Brien looks set to be a constant figure on the wing for Blues in 2022 and beyond, even despite his recent dropping from the 22. Having a career season so far, O'Brien has improved in most key stats compared to his career averages.
Having endured an inconsistent start to his career, the 22-year-old averaged 18.5 disposals and 5.5 marks in the first four games of the season and will be desperate for consistent senior football this year as he reaches a vital period of his career.
Another duo that could be higher at the season's end, with the Blues having a great start to 2022 with Michael Voss' side sitting in 6th.
15. GWS Giants
We've gone with another youngster in Tanner Bruhn, who has spent early parts of the season on the wing in a much-improved 2022 for the second-year midfielder.
Ash has averaged 15 disposals, 3.4 tackles and 4.4 marks in 2022 and has become a player that opposition teams look to restrict.
Probably the youngest setup on this list, the signs are positive for the Giants but will be hoping for a big step from both in the latter stages of the season.
14. Gold Coast Suns
28-year-old Ellis has started the season averaging 21.2 disposals, 4.2 marks and 2.4 tackles a game in a role that sees him shifting from midfield to defence.
Hard-running winger Jeremy Sharp started the season in Stuart Dew's 22, averaging 14.3 disposals and 2.7 marks before being omitted. These numbers are slightly down on his average across his previous 11 career games.
The 20-year-old will be eager to break back into the Suns' team and cement his spot, with his speed and endurance valuable assets in their game plan.
More continuity in the Suns' wing setup could prove beneficial, with their run and carry ability a threat to their opponents when they are at their best.
13. West Coast
This is probably a controversial ranking given Gaff's output as a wingman in his career, but with the COVID issues at the Eagles, Gaff has not played on the wing as much as he has in his career which is why the Eagles fall here.
Ex-Blue Sam Petrevski-Seton has been a regular on the wing for the Eagles in his first season at Lathlain Park. Petrevski-Seton has averaged 14 disposals, 5.3 tackles and 3.3 marks in three matches this season.
Gaff has averaged 28.5 disposals, 5.5 marks and 3.5 tackles in what has been a very productive season for the reliable wingman, despite only featuring in two of West Coast's opening five games.
However, as mentioned earlier, Gaff hasn't been playing on the wing in the absence of some key midfield figures at the Eagles, with new recruit and former Tiger Patrick Naish being an honourable mention here.
Naish has averaged 22 disposals and 4.6 marks while also playing in all of the Eagles' opening games since signing during the Supplemental Selection Period (SSP) this year.
Gaff will most likely move back to his favoured position on the wing once the Eagles regain their experienced players, who have been in and out this season with injuries and COVID protocols.
Wing Duo: Andrew McGrath and Nik Cox
Another tough ranking here, as Andrew McGrath, much like Gaff, has spent more time in the middle so far in 2022.
Meanwhile, young midfielder Nik Cox has grown into a role on the wing for the Bombers in his first two seasons despite his ruckman-like 200cm frame.
Cox has been handy on the wing this season, despite the Bombers' disappointing start to season 2022, with the 20-year-old averaging 15.3 disposals and four marks per game.
Cox would be hoping to increase his output throughout the season as he develops in his second season.
Meanwhile, already one of the younger stars of the comp, McGrath has averaged 22.6 disposals, 3.4 marks and 4.6 clearances in the opening five rounds.
With key Essendon midfield figures out with injury, McGrath has had to step up in the middle as he adapts his game towards the contested side as well.
With the Bombers looking to improve on their lacklustre early season performances, both Cox and McGrath could be key cogs in getting their season back on track.
Aish has started the season averaging 19.5 disposals, 3.3 marks and 2.8 tackles a game and has given the Dockers an outside avenue to their game.
The former Lion and Magpie has improved in almost all areas of his game compared to his previous 120 games, with only his average marks lower than his 3.8 career average, demonstrating his drastic improvement and importance to this rising lineup.
Acres has also shone in the wing role for Fremantle, averaging 21.2 disposals, 5.6 marks and 2.6 tackles in 2022, taking his game to a new level.
Come season's end, this duo could easily be in the top 10 in the competition, but given the limited sample size, they are just squeezed out.
While younger brother and prized draftee Nick has been receiving all the plaudits for his remarkable start to his career, Josh has averaged 23.4 disposals, four marks and 4.2 tackles a game for the Pies.
The Magpies have shown improvement on the field and could count themselves unlucky to not at least have one more win to their tally after their loss to Geelong after holding a 37-point lead deep in the third quarter.
Daicos is having a career-best season, like many young wingmen on this list, and is one of many young players on this Magpie list that have given the black and white army hope for future seasons.
Veteran midfielder Steele Sidebottom has been quieter this season compared to his previous seasons as he enters the twilight period of his career but continues to be a serviceable and calm head amongst the young Collingwood team.
The 31-year-old has averaged 16.4 disposals, 3.6 marks and 2.8 tackles on the wing and looks to be settled there for the season, with his decision-making and kicking ability a useful weapon when going inside 50.
9. Western Bulldogs
Lachie Hunter has been a regular on the wing for the Bulldogs, playing the majority of his 168-game career on the outside.
Hunter has averaged 19.8 disposals and 5.2 marks this season, playing in all five games. His disposal numbers are down on his career average but Hunter has increased his output each week this season.
However, with Hunter taking indefinite leave from the Bulldogs, Luke Beveridge will have to look elsewhere in his squad for a replacement on the wing.
Roarke Smith looks to stake his claim on the wing, after an inconsistent eight years at the Dogs that have been seriously hampered through long-term injuries.
The 25-year-old has averaged 14.7 disposals and four marks a game this season but has looked a little shakey in some moments but the more minutes put into him, the more confident he will become.
Hunter's history as a great wingman and system player helps the Dogs' ranking on this list, who will hope Smith can turn into a reliable winger in coming seasons.
A wing setup that has dropped off a little in recent seasons, in line with the Tigers' form slump, the wing duo at Richmond of Kamdyn McIntosh and Marlion Pickett doesn't blow the stat sheet away but it is the contribution they make with each touch that made them both key players in the Tigers' dominant period between 2017-2020, with Pickett only joining towards the end of the period in 2019.
McIntosh has started the season with averages of 15.3 disposals and 5.3 marks per game in the three games he has played as the Tigers have suffered from a stuttering opening period of the season.
Pickett is having his best season to date, averaging 16.6 disposals, 5.6 marks and 2.2 tackles per game and despite being 30 years of age, is showing signs of improvement.
The drop in form may warrant a lower ranking but the history and ability of these two players at their best are too much to drop them below some duos ranked earlier.
7. St Kilda
The Saints have a few players at their disposal that can play on the wing, with Mason Wood another who has shifted to midfield minutes in 2022 and Ben Paton who has started to edge towards a midfield spot as well, but it is Brad Hill and Dan McKenzie who have been chosen here.
Both Hill and McKenzie can play off half-back rather than the wing but in 2022 have shown great ability in the midfield.
Hill has started the season in impressive fashion after receiving criticism for his performances in the past couple of seasons.
The former Hawk and Docker averages 22.6 disposals, 4.8 marks and 406 metres gained per game with his trademark speed and skills becoming a major factor in his return to form.
McKenzie is averaging 19 disposals and five marks a game, with the hard-running defender/midfielder showing some good early form for the Saints, who have started the season in good fashion.
The improvement of these two and the Saints' start to the season has pushed the duo to a high ranking, with Bradley Hill already regarded as one of the better outside runners in the competition.
Another young duo on this list, when these two are at the top of their games, they become extremely exciting to watch at full flight.
McInerney is one of the most improved players in the competition, with the young speedster averaging 23.7 disposals, 4.3 clearances and four marks a game which are all drastic increases on his career averages.
Florent's averages are slightly below his career averages this season but he still proves to be a useful player in the Swans' talented midfield. The 23-year-old averages 17 disposals, 3.6 marks and 3.2 a game but will hope to increase those numbers throughout the season.
The Swans' wings look set to be in good hands with these two who are set to be important cogs in the future of the club.
Seedsman, who is out with injury, has been arguably the superior wingman of the competition in the past few seasons. The former Pie averaged 25.9 disposals and 599 metres gained in 2021 in an impressive campaign.
If it wasn't for Adelaide's poor record the last couple of seasons, Seedsman would have won a couple of All-Australian blazers and Crows fans would be desperate for the 30-year-old to come back into their 22.
New recruit Dawson has already won the hearts of the Crows faithful after kicking a game-winning goal after the siren against Port in the Showdown earlier in the season.
A beautiful left-foot kick, Dawson has averaged 24 disposals and 7.2 marks a game and ranks elite in kicks per game (17.2).
The idea of both playing on opposite wings at Adelaide Oval in 2022 will whet the appetite of Crows fans and AFL fans alike.
Smith has followed his impressive first season in the hoops with some good performances in 2022. The former Hawk averages 23.2 disposals and seven marks a game and owns the left wing with his booming left-foot kicking ability.
Duncan has averaged 19.5 disposals and 7.3 marks a game as he roams around the half-back and wing positions. The 30-year-old hasn't been quite at his best in 2022 but expect him to find a new gear as the season pushes on.
Both are beautiful kicks, work in tandem nicely and when at their very best, are easily in the top five duos in the competition.
3. Port Adelaide
Wing Duo: Karl Amon and Dan Houston
After being named in the All-Australian 40-man squad in 2021, Amon has begun 2022 in fine fashion. The 26-year-old averages 22.8 disposals, 6.8 tackles and 4.6 marks from the wing and has become a vital piece in Ken Hinkley's gameplan.
Having the best season of his career so far, Dan Houston is also putting himself high in the rankings of rebounding wingmen in the game at the moment.
Houston averages 24 disposals and 7.6 marks as he floats between wing and defence. The 24-year-old will be hoping his form continues and can turn around Port's season.
One of the more underappreciated duos, Amon and Houston could be in All-Australian discussions should their strong early season form continue while their side start to collect wins.
McCluggage can consider himself very unlucky to have missed out on an All-Australian selection after being in the 40-man squad for the last two seasons.
McCluggage is one of the premier wings in the competition at the moment and is a victim of the inside midfielder taking away the spotlight from wingmen.
The 24-year-old has started the season averaging 22.2 disposals, 5.2 marks and 4.2 tackles a game and will once again be in the All-Australian conversation come season's end as the Lions look set to finish in the top 4 again.
Likewise, Berry has also begun 2022 in good fashion, averaging 18.8 disposals, 4.6 tackles and four marks. The hard-running midfielder is a key part of the Lions' ability to spread the play and will look to continue his good start to the season.
It was only ever going to be one team at the top spot with Ed Langdon being the premier wingman of the competition.
In previous seasons, it was Angus Brayshaw and Langdon who would dominate the wide areas and play their role to perfection, which was crucial to their drought-breaking premiership win last season.
However, Brayshaw has found himself slotting into the backline at the Dees, leaving emerging gun James Jordon to take his position on the wing - and what a job he has done in 2022.
After making his debut last year, Jordon is averaging 21 disposals and three marks in his second season, with his pressure and hard-running making him an important player in the Melbourne 22. The 21-year-old looks set for big midfield minutes for the reigning premiers and will take his game to a new level.
Langdon has started 2022 in typical Ed Langdon fashion, averaging 24.8 disposals and 4.8 marks a game as well as spending 100% time on the ground in the opening three rounds.
Langdon's endurance and ability to always be an option for transitional football is the reason he is the best in the competition.
Not only individually, but Melbourne's usage of their wings sets them apart from any other team in the competition and is a big reason for their premiership success last season.