After eight rounds, the AFL ladder is starting to take shape and with it, the top players are separating themselves from the pack.
Whether it’s those in their 30s rekindling their best form or those at the start of their careers breaking out, the All-Australian team this year is set to feature some names we didn’t see last year.
Here’s how SEN.com.au sees the team to this point.
SEN's consensus All-Australian team (after Round 8)
|SEN's consenus All-Australian team|
|B:||Tom Stewart (GEE)||Mark Blicavs (GEE)||Alex Keath (ADE)|
|HB:||Shannon Hurn (WCE)||Darcy Moore (COL)||Jake Lloyd (SYD)|
|C:||Lachie Whitfield (GWS)||Patrick Cripps (CAR)||Tim Kelly (GEE)|
|HF:||Gary Ablett (GEE)||Jeremy Cameron (GWS)||Michael Walters (FRE)|
|F:||Jordan De Goey (COL)||Tom Hawkins (GEE)||Gary Rohan (GEE)|
|Foll:||Brodie Grundy (COL)||Marcus Bontempelli (WB)||Lachie Neale (BRI)|
|I/C:||Scott Pendlebury (COL)||Stephen Coniglio (GWS)||James Sicily (HAW)|
|Travis Boak (PA)|
Tom Stewart (Geelong)
The mature-age recruit from the Geelong Football League is now in his third AFL season, and his numbers have never been better.
Stewart is averaging 24 disposals, eight marks and almost nine rebound 50s per game, putting him in the elite category for all three stats.
Stewart won the AFLCA Best Young Player Award last year, but it feels like he's a veteran of the game - his cool head and polished disposal is integral to Geelong's backline.
Mark Blicavs (Geelong)
The two-time Geelong Best and Fairest winner has elevated himself into the top few defenders in the AFL.
The former steeple chaser and Rookie draftee is rated as elite for pressure acts and tackles this season, and has taken his fair share of A-Grade scalps.
The 198cm 28-year-old will, barring injury, play his 150th match this season.
Alex Keath (Adelaide)
With the long-term injury to Tom Doedee, the Crows were crying out for an intercept defender.
Enter former cricketer Alex Keath, whose ability to read the play and intercept opposition forward entries has become a crucial pillar of Adelaide's defence.
Standing at 197cm, Keath is tall enough to handle most key forwards, while his speed and agility allow him to rebound with ease.
Shannon Hurn (West Coast)
In a season that hasn't exactly gone to plan for the Eagles thus far, West Coast skipper Shannon Hurn has stood tall and led from the front.
The veteran defender is averaging 26 possessions and 6.5 rebound 50s per game this season, and as has been a common theme throughout most of his glittering career, Hurn has rarely been beaten.
Darcy Moore (Collingwood)
Once a highly rated key forward, Moore has taken to his new role in the backline like a duck to water.
Boasting size, speed, athleticism and an innate ability to read the play, Moore has the potential to become a great defender.
He knows when to stay connected to his man and spoil, and when to peel off and attack by either going for the mark or running and creating.
Jake Lloyd (Sydney)
The 25-year-old defender has been a shining light for the Swans in what has been a poor start to 2019.
Lloyd is averaging 31 disposals and eight rebound 50s per game, and sits third on the list of metres gained with 4,322 – an average of 540.
Lachie Whitfield (GWS)
Has missed the past two games with injury but prior was one of the most in-form players in the competition.
Whitfield averages a tick over 28 disposals per game, even taking into consideration his eight-possession outing when he went down in Round 6 against Sydney.
Takes marks, wins enough of his own ball,uses it extremely well and can also be deployed off half-back.
Is the Giants’ most efficient player at moving the ball inside forward 50 and they would be counting down the days until he is back in the 22, such is his influence and impact.
Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
The superlatives from all corners continue to grow louder and more emphatic for the Carlton co-captain.
Cripps is quickly surpassing the lofty standards he set in his career-best 2018 season and is now considered as one of the AFL’s truly elite.
Averages 31 disposals (10th in the league), 7.4 tackles (1st), 9.9 clearances (1st) and 18.9 contested possessions (1st) in the opening eight games.
Is currently the Brownlow Medal favourite and inspires with the way he goes about leading a side intent on fighting back from persistent struggles.
Tim Kelly (Geelong)
Kelly has taken his game to another level in 2019 following his brilliant debut season as a mature age recruit.
Many would say he is leading Geelong’s Best and Fairest at this stage of the season which is fair going in a team that is 7-1 and on top of the ladder.
The 24-year-old is averaging almost 26 disposals per game as well as more than five tackles, a tick under seven clearances and has kicked goal a game.
Kelly can play through the middle, out on a wing and is adept at spending time up forward making him an extremely dangerous asset for the Cats.
Gary Ablett (Geelong)
The decision to deploy the dual Brownlow Medallist as a permanent forward has been a masterstroke.
Ablett’s renaissance has been one of the stories of the season, giving the Cats an added dimension in attack with his elite ball use and decision making.
The champion Cat is averaging 21.8 disposals per game, but more importantly, he’s contributed 16 goals and is ranked ninth for goal assists.
He is eighth in the Coleman race and fifth in the AFL Coaches’ Association votes.
Jeremy Cameron (GWS)
Cameron has kicked multiple goals for GWS in every round except Round 8, including a six and seven-goal haul against St Kilda and Richmond, respectively.
He has been damaging inside 50 with his marking as well, averaging 7.3 grabs per game.
The Giants forward is currently leading the Coleman Medal by nine majors with 30 goals from eight games.
Michael Walters (Fremantle)
Walters has been at his electrifying best for Fremantle in the early part of the season.
The silky-skilled Docker is a joy to watch, averaging 20.3 touches and 3.5 tackles to go with his 14 goals in 2019. He also has five goal assists.
Freo will be banking on Walters maintaining his excellent form if they’re to push for a first finals berth since 2015.
Jordan De Goey (Collingwood)
Jordan De Goey has taken his game to new heights in 2019, often playing as Collingwood’s deepest forward to create run and zip inside 50.
He is currently sitting equal-third in the Coleman Medal with 19 goals from eight games, as well as six goal assists.
De Goey is also averaging 16.8 disposals and 7.8 contested possessions.
Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
Hawkins has been in fine form for the ladder-leading Cats in 2019.
He has kicked 19 goals (equal 3rd) and provided 10 goal assists, such is his unselfishness inside forward 50.
The 30-year-old has taken 22 marks inside 50 which is the 3rd best return in the competition.
Gary Rohan (Geelong)
The speedy former Swan has been a revelation at his new club.
Rohan has kicked 17 goals playing as a deeper option and his pace is a massive worry for opposition defences.
Has seven goal assists to his name and has helped create a different dimension to Geelong's dangerous forward line.
Brodie Grundy (Collingwood)
Brodie Grundy has been the clear standout ruckman of the competition so far in 2019.
He’s averaged 21 disposals, five clearances and 39 hit-outs per game and has been dominant around the ground.
Grundy became the second player in VFL/AFL history to have a game with 25+ disposals, 45+ hit outs and two or more goals last week against Carlton.
Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
Bontempelli sits third in the AFL Coaches Association award, highlighting his excellent start to the year for the Bulldogs.
He’s averaged 28 disposals, eight score involvements, seven clearances, five inside 50s and if not for some inaccuracy in front of goal, he could have a serious goal tally to his name.
Lachie Neale (Brisbane)
Neale has cooled off a little bit, but his start to the season was phenomenal.
He’s maintained an average of 33 disposals per game, to go with seven clearances, six score involvements, four inside 50s and four tackles.
The former Docker has stepped into the Brisbane midfield seamlessly and immediately taken a lead role.
Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)
Pendlebury continues to maintain his elite standard into his 30s, averaging 29 disposals per game, but thriving in the big moments. He dominated on Anzac Day and against Port Adelaide the next week.
Stephen Coniglio (GWS)
Coniglio’s reputation continues to grow as one of the best midfielders in the competition. He’s averaging 28 disposals, six clearances and has kicked nine goals this year. He’s been a key part of GWS’ early season success and has continued on from a brilliant 2018.
James Sicily (Hawthorn)
Sicily continues to be one of the most impressive ball users in the competition across half-back. His disposal cuts teams to ribbons, with Sicily not afraid to pull off dangerous kicks into the middle of the ground. He’s averaged 24 disposals this year, eight marks and nine rebound 50s.
Travis Boak (Port Adelaide)
Boak returning to a pure midfield role has led to some incredible numbers this year. He’s averaging 32 disposals per game and seven clearances for the Power after a few years playing mostly across half-forward. Losing the responsibility as captain of the club has seemingly helped him thrive.