MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 29: Lance Franklin of the Swans looks on after being named captain during the 2018 AFL All-Australia Awards at the Palais Theatre on August 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The squad of 40 will be cut down to 22 this Wednesday night – Get an early taste with our picks for the 2019 All-Australian side.

B: Tom Stewart, Dylan Grimes, Harris Andrews

HB: Shannon Hurn (c), Jeremy McGovern, Nick Haynes

C: Jack Macrae, Patrick Cripps, Marcus Bontempelli

HF: Dayne Zorko, Jack Darling, Dustin Martin

FF: Charlie Cameron, Jeremy Cameron, Michael Walters

Fol: Brodie Grundy, Patrick Dangerfield, Nat Fyfe (vc)

Int: Max Gawn, Tim Kelly, Elliot Yeo, Lachie Neale

Unlucky to Miss: Scott Pendlebury, Luke Shuey, Mark Blicavs, Tom Hawkins.

Fullback

Tom Stewart grabs his second AA jacket after another prominent year cementing himself as one of the best small defenders in the AFL. Dylan Grimes stepped up to fill the role of the injured Alex Rance magnificently and his ability to play tall and small has proved a key factor in Richmond’s defence. Harris Andrews also enjoyed a magnificent year as Brisbane’s defensive general at just 22 years of age. Andrews is often getting the better of the competition’s best forwards, and his contested marking and one-percenters were a great strength of his game this year and see’s him edging out Geelong’s Mark Blicavs.

Half-back

Shannon Hurn enters the side averaging 23 disposals including 18 kicks a game. A member of arguably the best defence in the comp in 2019, Hurn is the general of not only the Eagles’ back six but the entire side, proving to be the appropriate choice as captain. McGovern receives his fourth AA jacket after another great year averaging two contested marks per game and four rebound 50’s. Nick Haynes comes in for his first All-Australian nod after a strong year off GWS’s half back line.

Centre

Jack Macrae gets the nod over Pendlebury for sheer weight of numbers – averaged 33 disposals this year and five clearances a game and stepped up in the Bulldogs’ big games. Patrick Cripps is the side’s centre after averaging 28 touches per game (17 contested) and will feature prominently in this year’s Brownlow count. Much the same Marcus Bontempelli who averaged 27 disposals and kicked 15 goals in a strong year for the Bulldogs.

Half-forward

Dayne Zorko led the resurgence of the Brisbane Lions this year with an average of 22 disposals a game whilst kicking 22 goals. Worth noting his pressure game stepped up this year with six tackles per game. Jack Darling enjoyed a career-best year kicking 54 goals and coming equal third in the Coleman medal count as he overtook Josh Kennedy as the pillar of the Eagles’ forward line. After a slow-start, Dustin Martin enjoyed a fantastic second-half of the year reminiscent of his form in 2017 when he won the Brownlow. Averaged 27 disposals this year and a goal a game.

Full forward

Charlie Cameron is the obvious selection as a small forward finishing equal third in the Coleman medal count with a career-best 54 goals. The same goes for Jeremy Cameron who kicked nine goals in round 23 to take out the Coleman medal with 67. Michael Walters enjoyed his best season to date averaging 21 touches and kicking 40 goals which should see him receive his first All-Australian nod.

Followers

Brodie Grundy is the starting ruckman this year after finishing the season with 902 hit-outs at 41 per game. As a ruckman, he averaged 21 disposals a game which are just ridiculous numbers. Patrick Dangerfield had another fantastic year and looks likely to get AA jacket number seven, averaging 27 disposals per game and kicking 25 goals this year. He currently ranks as the favourite for the Brownlow medal. Nat Fyfe is just behind him, who averaged 29 disposals this year – similar numbers to his Brownlow medal winning year back in 2015.

Interchange

The ruck roles reverse this year with Grundy starting on the field over Max Gawn. Gawn averaged 39 hit-outs per game and 17 disposals and if not for that man Grundy, would by far have the best stats of any ruckman in the comp. Tim Kelly’s early season form saw him leading most association’s vote counts as well as favourite for the Brownlow. A surge in form from teammate Patrick Dangerfield and a slight dip in form in the second half of the year see’s him on the bench in the AA side rather than on-field. Elliot Yeo averaged 23 touches a game this year along with eight tackles per game which was the second highest in the competition. Lachie Neale rounds out the side after his best season to date averaging 31 touches a game. While not as damaging as some of the other midfielders in the side, Neale was still an incredibly talented performer overall in 2019.