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afl.com.au's best 22 for 2018

Ben Guthrie  December 7, 2017 10:38 AM

WITH the 2017 drafts done and dusted, club lists have been finalised for next season.

AFL.com.au reporters have come up with their best 22s for each club, choosing on the basis of every player on the list being fit and well.

It's the best first-choice side that your team can muster, so it may include players with injuries that will keep them out for some or all of 2018.

B: Rory Laird, Daniel Talia, Jake Kelly
HB: Luke Brown, Kyle Hartigan, Brodie Smith
C: Paul Seedsman, Rory Sloane, Rory Atkins
HF: Tom Lynch, Taylor Walker, Richard Douglas
F: Eddie Betts, Josh Jenkins, Mitch McGovern
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Matt Crouch, Bryce Gibbs
I/C: Brad Crouch, Riley Knight, David Mackay, Hugh Greenwood

DEPTH

General defenders: Kyle Cheney, Tom Doedee, Curtly Hampton, Andrew McPherson
Key defenders: Alex Keath, Andy Otten
Midfielders: Jackson Edwards, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Jordan Gallucci, Sam Gibson, Lachlan Murphy, Myles Poholke, Matthew Signorello, Patrick Wilson
General forwards: Ben Davis, Darcy Fogarty, Ben Jarman, Wayne Milera
Key forwards: Harry Dear, Elliott Himmelberg
Ruckmen: Reilly O'Brien, Paul Hunter

NOTES: Half-back flanker Brodie Smith will most of the season with a torn ACL, but is a chance to return late in the year. When he's out, Paul Seedsman or David Mackay will likely shift to defence, while Curtly Hampton will also be pressing his claims. Andy Otten, Tom Doedee and Alex Keath will be considered if the Crows want a like-for-like replacement for Jake Lever. I can't find room for pacey forward/winger Wayne Milera or experienced former North Melbourne midfielder Sam Gibson, but both will be close to selection. - Lee Gaskin

B: Darcy Gardiner, Harris Andrews, Alex Witherden
HB: Daniel Rich, Dan McStay, Luke Hodge
C: Hugh McCluggage, Dayne Zorko, Sam Mayes
HF: Charlie Cameron, Josh Walker, Lewy Taylor
F: Cam Rayner, Eric Hipwood, Mitch Robinson
Foll: Stefan Martin, Dayne Beams, Jarrod Berry
I/C: Ryan Lester, Nick Robertson, Allen Christensen, Ryan Bastinac 

DEPTH

General defenders: Claye Beams, Tom Cutler, Liam Dawson, Cian Hanley, Mitch Hinge, Marco Paparone
Key defenders: Matt Eagles, Jack Frost, Jack Payne, Sam Skinner
Midfielders: Jacob Allison, Tom Bell, Rohan Bewick, Cedric Cox, Ben Keays, Corey Lyons, Rhys Mathieson, Brandon Starcevich
General forwards: Zac Bailey, Jake Barrett, Toby Wooller
Key forwards: Connor Ballenden
Ruckmen: Oscar McInerney, Archie Smith 

NOTES: Despite his team finishing last in 2017, coach Chris Fagan has 30-plus players vying for his best team. New additions Luke Hodge and Charlie Cameron go straight in, as does No.1 draftee Cam Rayner – although it wouldn't totally surprise if Fagan made him wait a few rounds. The backline looks particularly congested, and with Hodge's arrival, will likely force Sam Mayes or Daniel Rich to a wing. Josh Schache's departure means Josh Walker should be Eric Hipwood's sidekick to start, while Tom Rockliff leaving opens the door for Jarrod Berry to nail down the inside midfielder's spot. Mitch Robinson and Allen Christensen slot back in after long injuries, but Cedric Cox and Rhys Mathieson are unlucky omissions and breathing down their necks. - Michael Whiting 

Luke Hodge goes straight into the Lions' backline. Picture: AFL Photos

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B: Kade Simpson, Liam Jones, Caleb Marchbank
HB: Sam Docherty, Jacob Weitering, Lachie Plowman
C: Sam Petrevski-Seton, Patrick Cripps, Matthew Kennedy
HF: Charlie Curnow, Harry McKay, Matthew Wright
F: Jack Silvagni, Levi Casboult, Jarrod Pickett
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Ed Curnow, Marc Murphy
I/C: Paddy Dow, Zac Fisher, Darcy Lang, Dale Thomas

DEPTH 

General defenders: Ciaran Byrne, Cillian McDaid, Aaron Mullett, Cameron O’Shea, Alex Silvagni, Tom Williamson
Key defenders: Jesse Glass-McCasker, Harrison Macreadie, Sam Rowe
Midfielders: David Cuningham, Nick Graham, Sam Kerridge, Lochie O’Brien, Angus Schumacher, Matt Shaw
General forwards: Jarrod Garlett, Jed Lamb, Kym Lebois, Cameron Polson
Key forwards: Tom De Koning, Patrick Kerr
Ruckmen: Matthew Lobbe, Andrew Phillips

NOTES: All Australian defender Sam Docherty is undoubtedly in Carlton's best 22 and his absence in 2018 because of a ruptured ACL sustained last month creates an opportunity for another medium defender. At the front of the queue would be newcomers Aaron Mullett and Cameron O'Shea. Veteran Sam Rowe is recovering from a knee reconstruction and may struggle to regain his key defensive spot, with Liam Jones and Jacob Weitering the preferred options. But Rowe's versatility could come in handy as Harry McKay continues his development as a long-term key forward prospect. The Blues have attempted to address their lack of midfield depth in the trade and draft periods and they are banking on Matthew Kennedy, Darcy Lang and Paddy Dow to step straight in. - Howard Kotton  

B: Matthew Scharenberg, Lynden Dunn, Tom Langdon
HB: Jeremy Howe, Darcy Moore, Brayden Maynard
C: Daniel Wells, Adam Treloar, Steele Sidebottom
HF: Will Hoskin-Elliott, Ben Reid, Jordan De Goey
F: Jamie Elliott, Mason Cox, Alex Fasolo
Foll: Brodie Grundy, Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams
I/C: Travis Varcoe, Tyson Goldsack, Tom Phillips, Jack Crisp

DEPTH

General defenders: Flynn Appleby, Jack Madgen, Nathan Murphy, Sam Murray, Adam Oxley, Josh Smith
Key defenders: Sam McLarty, Brody Mihocek
Midfielders: James Aish, Callum Brown, Tyler Brown, Levi Greenwood, Brayden Sier, Josh Thomas, Rupert Wills
General forwards: Jarryd Blair, Tom Broomhead, Ben Crocker, Josh Daicos, Kayle Kirby, Chris Mayne, Jaidyn Stephenson
Key forwards: Nil
Ruckmen: Max Lynch 

NOTES: The Pies are clearly light on for talls at either end, with no real key-forward support outside this suggested line-up other than perhaps a pinch-hitting Kayle Kirby, the one-game teenager who could make his presence felt at AFL level. Young forward Darcy Moore will be tried at centre half-back, and veterans Tyson Goldsack, Ben Reid and Travis Varcoe also provide flexibility, while young defender Brayden Maynard is eyeing a midfield move. Raw forward/ruckman Mason Cox recently signed a new three-year deal and is expected to be afforded some continuity to develop his game. Untried former Swans defender Sam Murray could gain an early opportunity given his dash and dare, while fellow speedster and top draftee Jaidyn Stephenson might also force his way in for round one. Mature-age rookie defender Brody Mihocek is also expected to be given an opportunity at some point. - Ben Collins

B: Mark Baguley, Michael Hurley, Adam Saad
HB: Conor McKenna, Michael Hartley, Andrew McGrath
C: David Zaharakis, Dyson Heppell, Brendon Goddard
HF: Devon Smith, Joe Daniher, Jake Stringer
F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Cale Hooker, Orazio Fantasia
Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish
I/C: James Stewart, Patrick Ambrose, Jayden Laverde, Martin Gleeson

DEPTH

General defenders: Matt Dea, Jordan Ridley, Ben McNiece
Key defenders: Mitch Brown, Aaron Francis, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher
Midfielders: Dylan Clarke, Travis Colyer, Kobe Mutch, David Myers, Trent Mynott, Matt Guelfi, Kyle Langford
General forwards: Josh Begley, Josh Green, Jackson Merrett, Mason Redman, Jake Long, Jordan Houlahan
Key forwards: Shaun McKernan
Ruckmen: Matthew Leuenberger, Sam Draper, Luke Lavender

Notes: The Bombers will be one of the teams to watch next year, having altered their trade strategy this off-season and recruited strongly from other clubs for the first time in a long while. The addition of Jake Stringer adds another match-winner to the Bombers list, while Adam Saad and Devon Smith should also be very good acquisitions, not least for the likelihood they could free up other players to play more integral roles. Essendon's midfield is probably its question mark, but there is undoubtedly a lot of talent in there and it showed last year it can match it when the best teams when firing. - Callum Twomey 

B: Griffin Logue, Joel Hamling, Lee Spurr
HB: Nathan Wilson, Michael Johnson, Luke Ryan
C: Stephen Hill, Connor Blakely, Bradley Hill
HF: Michael Walters, Brennan Cox, Harley Bennell
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Cam McCarthy, Brandon Matera
Foll: Aaron Sandilands, Nat Fyfe, Lachie Neale
I/C: David Mundy, Sean Darcy, Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra

DEPTH 

General defenders: Taylin Duman, Ethan Hughes, Tommy Sheridan, Cam Sutcliffe
Key defenders: Alex Pearce
Midfielders: Bailey Banfield, Mitchell Crowden, Ed Langdon, Tom North, Danyle Pearce, Darcy Tucker
General forwards: Stefan Giro, Brady Grey, Ryan Nyhuis, Sam Switkowski
Key forwards: Michael Apeness, Hugh Dixon, Shane Kersten, Luke Strnadica, Matt Taberner
Ruckmen: Scott Jones, Lloyd Meek
 

NOTES: Top-five draft picks Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra arrive at Fremantle in the middle of an extensive rebuild and opportunities should present straight away for the gun teenagers. They have forced out Ed Langdon and Ethan Hughes from our pre-Draft best 22, while Darcy Tucker, who has played 31 games, is right on the cusp and expected to play a lot in 2018. An eye-catching end to the season has landed Brennan Cox a key forward spot, while the ruck will be an interesting area to balance as Sean Darcy prepares to take the reins from Aaron Sandilands. The Dockers are carefully plotting Alex Pearce's return to senior football after almost two years out through injury. – Nathan Schmook 

Sean Darcy is preparing to take over the reins from Aaron Sandilands. Picture: AFL Photos
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B: Tom Stewart, Lachie Henderson, Jed Bews
HB: Zach Tuohy, Harry Taylor, Jake Kolodjashnij
C: Mark Blicavs, Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan
HF: Brandan Parfitt, Stewart Crameri, Nakia Cockatoo
F: Gary Ablett, Tom Hawkins, Sam Menegola
Foll: Zac Smith, Patrick Dangerfield, Scott Selwood
I/C: Cam Guthrie, Jackson Thurlow, Daniel Menzel, Lincoln McCarthy

DEPTH

General defenders: Matthew Hayball, Zach Guthrie
Key defenders: Ryan Gardner, Timm House
Midfielders: Charlie Constable, Jordan Cunico, Lachlan Fogarty, George Horlin-Smith, Tim Kelly, Jordan Murdoch, Mark O'Connor
General forwards: Cory Gregson, Jack Henry, Jamaine Jones, Gryan Miers, Quinton Narkle, James Parsons, Sam Simpson
Key forwards: Aaron Black, Wylie Buzza, Esava Ratugolea
Ruckmen: Ryan Abbott, Rhys Stanley

NOTES: The backline looks different without Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan, and Ryan Gardner and Timm House have the pre-season to push for key defensive roles. The midfield is strengthened by the arrival of Gary Ablett, but with Patrick Dangerfield, Joel and Scott Selwood, plus the much-improved Mitch Duncan and Sam Menegola on the ground, he might not always start in the centre. The Cats were prepared to lose Daniel Menzel to free agency but he remained when offers weren't forthcoming – he scrapes in for a role on the bench with a fit Lincoln McCarthy. James Parsons and Cory Gregson, if his foot problems are behind him, will be among those to compete for his spot in 2018. Tim Kelly is the most ready for senior footy from the recent draft crop, so don't be surprised if he bobs up early. Zach Guthrie will also play, but for now has been edged out of the team by Jed Bews, while Stewart Crameri – if his hip allows a productive pre-season – gets in ahead of Rhys Stanley because of his forward craft. - Jennifer Phelan 

B: Kade Kolodjashnij, Steven May, Jesse Joyce
HB: Lachie Weller, Jack Leslie, Jarrod Harbrow
C: Alex Sexton, Jarryd Lyons, Pearce Hanley
HF: Aaron Young, Tom Lynch, Jack Martin
F: Ben Ainsworth, Peter Wright, Callum Ah Chee
Foll: Jarrod Witts, David Swallow, Aaron Hall
I/C: Jack Bowes, Touk Miller, Michael Barlow, Brayden Fiorini

DEPTH

General defenders: Sean Lemmens, Connor Nutting, Jack Scrimshaw, Mackenzie Willis
Key defenders: Josh Jaska, Max Spencer, Rory Thompson
Midfielders: Charlie Ballard, Will Brodie, Jacob Dawson, Jacob Heron, Nic Holman, Jesse Lonergan, Michael Rischitelli, Matt Rosa, Josh Schoenfeld, Harrison Wigg
General forwards: Darcy Macpherson, Brad Scheer, Wil Powell
Key forwards: Sam Day
Ruckmen: Brayden Crossley, Tom Nicholls 

NOTES: Gold Coast has lost some class players over the past few seasons, but it still has an exciting best 22 when all fit. Lachie Weller's addition will add some polish at either half-back or a wing, while Aaron Young will slot straight into the forward line after moving from Port Adelaide. The second key defensive post alongside co-captain Steven May is a tough decision. I've gone for Jack Leslie after his breakout 2017 season to edge out injury-prone Rory Thompson, although either player could do the job depending on pre-season form. Sam Day is also in the Suns' best team, but will have to prove he has totally overcome a dislocated hip to earn his spot. - Michael Whiting

Jack Leslie gets a gig at centre half-back after a breakout season. Picture: AFL Photos

B: Heath Shaw, Aidan Corr, Adam Tomlinson
HB: Zac Williams, Phil Davis, Nick Haynes
C: Tom Scully, Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield
HF: Dylan Shiel, Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene
F: Brett Deledio, Jonathon Patton, Tim Taranto
Foll: Rory Lobb, Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly
I/C: Jacob Hopper, Will Setterfield, Sam Reid, Ryan Griffen 

DEPTH

General defenders: Matt Buntine, Isaac Cumming, Jeremy Finlayson, Harry Himmelberg, Adam Kennedy, Harry Perryman
Key defenders: Lachie Keeffe, Tim Mohr, Jake Stein, Sam Taylor
Midfielders: Nick Shipley
General forwards: Aidan Bonar, Dylan Buckley, Jack Buckley, Brent Daniels, Matt de Boer, Zac Langdon, Daniel Lloyd, Lachie Tiziani
Key forwards: Zach Sproule
Ruckmen: Matthew Flynn, Dawson Simpson

NOTES: The Giants look a little thin with their midfield depth outside the best 22, although Bonar, de Boer, Finlayson, Dylan Buckley, Lloyd and Reid can also play onball if needed. Keeffe gives them a ruck or key back option so he's a handy pick up, and they look well stocked for small/medium defenders. Of those not to make the starting 22, Kennedy, de Boer, Simpson, Bonar and Cumming are the most likely to force their way in, with several spots up for grabs over the pre-season. - Adam Curley

B: Blake Hardwick, James Frawley, James Sicily
HB: Grant Birchall, Ben Stratton, Shaun Burgoyne
C: Isaac Smith, Tom Mitchell, Jarman Impey
HF: Cyril Rioli, Jack Gunston, Ryan Burton
F: Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead, Tim O'Brien
Foll: Ben McEvoy, Liam Shiels, Jaeger O'Meara
I/C: Kaiden Brand, Taylor Duryea, Daniel Howe, Conor Glass

DEPTH 

General defenders: Teia Miles, David Mirra, Harry Morrison
Key defenders: Kurt Heatherley, Conor Nash
Midfielders: James Cousins, Ricky Henderson, Harrison Jones, Will Langford, Kieran Lovell, Dylan Moore, Jonathan O’Rourke, Brendan Whitecross, Dallas Willsmore, James Worpel,
General forwards: Oliver Hanrahan, Changkuoth Jiath, Paul Puopolo, Jackson Ross,  
Key forwards: Mitchell Lewis, Ryan Schoenmakers
Ruckmen: Jonathan Ceglar, Marc Pittonet 

NOTES: It's a far-better looking team than that the Hawks put out over the last 10 weeks of 2017, but which nevertheless won six games and drew another. Frawley, Birchall and Stratton return to stiffen the backline considerably and free Gunston and budding star Burton to play further up the ground as additional scoring options. Rioli makes a welcome return as well. Port recruit Impey should make an immediate impact while Irish youngster Glass gets in because he adds much needed pace and was very impressive when he debuted last year. A few premiership players miss out here – Langford, Puopolo and Schoenmakers among them – which suggests not just a changing of the guard but that the Hawks have some depth. Duryea gets the nod over Puopolo because he is more versatile. Back from ACL surgery, Jon Ceglar will push Ben McEvoy for the No.1 ruck berth, but it will be difficult for the Hawks to carry both in the same side. Lovell, Miles, Henderson and Morrison will also be in the selection frame from the start, as will O’Rourke if he finally gets his body right. - Ashley Browne

B: Neville Jetta, Oscar McDonald, Jake Lever
HB: Jayden Hunt, Joel Smith, Michael Hibberd
C: Dom Tyson, Nathan Jones, Christian Salem
HF: Alex Neal-Bullen, Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca
F: Jeff Garlett, Jesse Hogan, Mitch Hannan
R: Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney
INT: Angus Brayshaw, Jake Melksham, Jordan Lewis, Cameron Pedersen

DEPTH

General defenders: Pat McKenna, Bernie Vince, Josh Wagner
Key defenders: Sam Frost, Declan Keilty, Harrison Petty
Midfielders: Oskar Baker, Corey Maynard, Billy Stretch, Aaron vandenBerg
General forwards: Harley Balic, Tomas Bugg, Bayley Fritsch, James Harmes, Dion Johnstone, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Dean Kent, Charlie Spargo
Key forwards: Tim Smith, Sam Weideman
Ruckmen: Lachlan Filipovic, Mitch King

NOTES: This was an incredibly tough side to pick. Veteran Bernie Vince is a notable absentee and there is every likelihood that he will be in the team in round one. However, with Jordan Lewis set to move to the backline the decision was made that there is only a spot for one of them. Sam Frost can also count himself extremely unlucky, but the Demons are trying to set up a backline that is versatile and nimble in their 'zone' dominated scheme and a combination of Joel Smith, Jake Lever and Oscar McDonald gives them the best chance to prevent opposition scores. There was plenty of debate over the high half-forward spot, with James Harmes, Tom Bugg and even draftees Charlie Spargo and Bayley Fritsch in the mix. However, Alex Neal-Bullen is one of the most improved players on Melbourne's list and ultimately deserves his spot. Corey Maynard was also close to making this team and don't be surprised if you see him in the side in round one. Melbourne's coaching staff are big admirers of his contested work. - Ben Guthrie  

Bernie Vince misses out a spot in the best Demons side. Picture: AFL Photos

B: Daniel Nielson, Scott Thompson, Jamie Macmillan
HB: Sam Wright, Robbie Tarrant, Marley Williams
C: Billy Hartung, Ben Cunnington, Luke McDonald
HF: Taylor Garner, Jarrad Waite, Mason Wood
F: Kayne Turner, Ben Brown, Jy Simpkin
Foll: Todd Goldstein, Shaun Higgins, Jack Ziebell
I/C: Trent Dumont, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Shaun Atley, Ryan Clarke

DEPTH

General defenders: Mitch Hibberd, Alex Morgan, Tom Murphy, Ed Vickers-Willis
Key defenders: Sam Durdin, Declan Watson
Midfielders: Paul Ahern, Jed Anderson, Kyron Hayden, Nathan Hrovat, Ben Jacobs, Oscar Junker, Declan Mountford, Will Walker, Josh Williams
General forwards: Gordon Narrier, Cameron Zurhaar
Key forwards: Nick Larkey, Ben McKay
Ruckmen: Majak Daw, Tom Jeffries, Braydon Preuss, Tristan Xerri

NOTES: Hawks discard Hartung and No.4 draft pick Davies-Uniacke are the only newcomers likely to break straight into the best line-up. That leaves players such as Mountford and Hrovat on the outside looking in. There has been an off-season emphasis on injecting speed into the side, so expect Josh Williams, ex-Bomber Morgan, Walker and even the long-kicking Murphy to push for a senior spot. Neither Jacobs nor Ahern has played much in the past two seasons, but won't take long to force their way into contention. Key-position prospects Durdin and McKay will expect to play more senior football in 2018, while Vickers-Willis is another in the defensive mix. Preuss is ready to be the No.1 ruckman if Goldstein falters. – Marc McGowan

B: Darcy Byrne-Jones, Tom Clurey, Tom Jonas
HB: Hamish Hartlett, Jack Hombsch, Matthew Broadbent
C: Steven Motlop, Ollie Wines, Jared Polec
HF: Travis Boak, Justin Westhoff, Chad Wingard
F: Sam Gray, Charlie Dixon, Robbie Gray
Foll: Paddy Ryder, Tom Rockliff, Brad Ebert
I/C: Jasper Pittard, Jack Watts, Karl Amon, Sam Powell-Pepper 

DEPTH

General defenders: Riley Bonner, Dan Houston, Emmanuel Irra, Trent McKenzie
Key defenders: Dougal Howard, Jarrod Lienert
Midfielders: Joe Atley, Dom Barry, Willem Drew, Kane Farrell, Joel Garner, Cam Hewett, Jake Patmore, Jack Trengove, Jimmy Toumpas, Will Snelling
General forwards: Aidyn Johnson, Jake Neade, Lindsay Thomas
Key forwards: Todd Marshall
Ruckmen: Billy Frampton, Sam Hayes, Peter Ladhams
 

NOTES: It's an embarrassment of riches for Power coach Ken Hinkley after the off-season additions of Tom Rockliff, Steven Motlop and Jack Watts. All three go straight into the best 22. I couldn't find room for promising key defender Dougal Howard or half-back flanker Dan Houston. Both players can consider themselves unlucky after strong form at the end of the year, but I've gone with the more experienced Jack Hombsch, Matthew Broadbent and Jasper Pittard. I've also left out North Melbourne veteran Lindsay Thomas, but he'll be challenging strongly for a spot in the star-studded forward line. Expect to see Rockliff, Motlop, captain Travis Boak and Chad Wingard rotate through the midfield and half-forward. Three-time All Australian Robbie Gray can also be used in bursts on the ball. - Lee Gaskin

B: Dylan Grimes, Alex Rance, Nick Vlastuin 
HB: Brandon Ellis, David Astbury, Bachar Houli
C: Shaun Grigg, Dustin Martin, Shane Edwards
HF: Kane Lambert, Jack Riewoldt, Daniel Rioli
F: Jacob Townsend, Josh Caddy, Dan Butler
Foll: Toby Nankervis, Trent Cotchin, Dion Prestia
I/C: Kamdyn McIntosh, Jack Graham, Nathan Broad, Jason Castagna 

DEPTH 

General defenders: Reece Conca, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, Oleg Markov, Jayden Short
Key defenders: Ryan Garthwaite, Ben Miller
Midfielders: Nathan Drummond, Corey Ellis, Connor Menadue, Anthony Miles, Patrick Naish
General forwards: Liam Baker, Shai Bolton, Jack Higgins, Sam Lloyd, Tyson Stengle
Key forwards: Noah Balta, Mabior Chol, Ben Griffiths, Callum Moore
Ruckmen: Callum Coleman-Jones, Shaun Hampson, Ivan Soldo
 

NOTES: It will be hard to dislodge any of the premiership players who make up this 22, but expect draftee Jack Higgins to come hard for a small forward spot early. Shai Bolton will also have another pre-season under his belt and brings offensive flair that might appeal to the match committee when combined with defensive pressure. Nathan Broad is named here but will miss the opening three rounds. That could see one of Reece Conca, Jayden Short or Oleg Markov cement themselves, depending on Richmond's preferred structure. Do the Tigers back their small forward structure again? If so, Ben Griffiths is likely to remain on the fringe. Corey Ellis is a big pre-season away from forcing his way onto a wing. – Nathan Schmook

Will Shai Bolton make it into the Tigers' best 22. Picture: AFL Photos

B: Jarryn Geary, Nathan Brown, Dylan Roberton
HB: Shane Savage, Jake Carlisle, Jimmy Webster
C: Jack Sinclair, Jack Steele, Jack Newnes
HF: Blake Acres, Josh Bruce, Jack Billings
F: Jade Gresham, Paddy McCartin, Tim Membrey
Foll: Billy Longer, Seb Ross, Jack Steven
I/C: David Armitage, Koby Stevens, Sam Gilbert, Mav Weller 

DEPTH

General defenders: Hunter Clark, Nick Coffield, Daniel McKenzie, Bailey Rice, Brandon White, Darragh Joyce
Key defenders: Logan Austin, Oscar Clavarino, Hugh Goddard
Midfielders: Luke Dunstan, Nathan Freeman, Ben Paton, Ed Phillips, Doulton Langlands
General forwards: Ben Long, Jack Lonie, Darren Minchington, Nathan Wright, Ray Connellan
Key forwards: Josh Battle, Rowan Marshall
Ruckmen: Tom Hickey, Lewis Pierce 

NOTES: The two most interesting players are the Saints' first two draftees: Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield. Both would be keen to make their mark relatively quickly and have the attributes to slot in across half-back early on in their respective careers. However, the Saints have plenty of depth in that area. Another who could feature in round one next year is Nathan Freeman. He was in impressive form at VFL level before his season was ended by a right ankle injury, and his midfield run would help fill a weakness. Luke Dunstan misses out despite an impressive end to 2017, but only so many inside midfielders can be selected in the side. – Dinny Navaratnam

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B: Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Aliir Aliir
HB: Jarrad McVeigh, Dane Rampe, Jake Lloyd
C: Dan Hannebery, Josh Kennedy, Zak Jones
HF: Kieren Jack, Sam Reid, George Hewett
F: Will Hayward, Lance Franklin, Tom Papley
Foll: Kurt Tippett, Luke Parker, Isaac Heeney
I/C: Callum Mills, Nic Newman, Oliver Florent, Dean Towers 

DEPTH
General defenders: Alex Johnson, Matthew Ling, Harry Marsh, Colin O'Riordan, Riley Stoddart
Key defenders: Jack Maibaum, Lewis Melican
Midfielders: James Bell, Jake Brown, Harry Cunningham, Jordan Foote, Robbie Fox, Dan Robinson, Angus Styles
General forwards: Jordan Dawson, Gary Rohan, Ben Ronke, James Rose
Key forwards: Joel Amartey, Tom McCartin, Toby Pink
Ruckmen: Darcy Cameron, Sam Naismith, Callum Sinclair 

NOTES: There are a couple of spots up for debate here with Tippett preferred to Naismith and Sinclair in the ruck, and Aliir starting in defence as the third tall ahead of the impressive Melican. A swap in both of those areas would come as no great surprise. After that, it's the last couple of spots on the bench that might chop and change, with Rohan, Dawson, Cunningham, Robinson and upgraded rookie O'Riordan right in the mix. - Adam Curley

B: Brad Sheppard, Tom Barrass, Jackson Nelson
HB: Liam Duggan, Jeremy McGovern, Shannon Hurn
C: Lewis Jetta, Elliot Yeo, Andrew Gaff
HF: Mark LeCras, Jack Darling, Jack Redden
F: Liam Ryan, Josh Kennedy, Jamie Cripps
Foll: Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Dom Sheed
I/C: Nathan Vardy, Brendon Ah Chee, Daniel Venables, Mark Hutchings 

DEPTH

General defenders: Tom Cole, Jack Petruccelle, Francis Watson
Key defenders: Eric Mackenzie, Josh Rotham, Will Schofield
Midfielders: Brayden Ainsworth, Hamish Brayshaw, Chris Masten, Kurt Mutimer, Luke Partington, Callan England
General forwards: Oscar Allen, Malcolm Karpany, Willie Rioli, Jake Waterman, Ryan Burrows, Tarir Bayok
Key forwards: Matthew Allen, Jarrod Brander
Ruckmen: Scott Lycett, Fraser McInnes, Tony Olango
 

NOTES: Liam Ryan could slot straight into the round one side next year. He has a prodigious leap and knows how to kick goals. However, Willie Rioli will be coming hard for a spot in the best 22 as a small forward. Inside midfielder Brayden Ainsworth is expected to be able to slot into the senior side immediately. Eric Mackenzie finished 2017 in impressive form and will put pressure on Tom Barrass. Turf toe limited Daniel Venables in his first season but he could prove a useful asset through the middle and up forward. – Dinny Navaratnam 

Eric Mackenzie's impressive late 2017 form will put pressure on Tom Barrass. Picture: AFL Photos

B: Dale Morris, Marcus Adams, Easton Wood
HB: Jason Johannisen, Jackson Trengove, Bailey Williams
C: Jack Macrae, Tom Liberatore, Matt Suckling
HF: Toby McLean, Tom Boyd, Tory Dickson
F: Luke Dahlhaus, Jack Redpath, Bailey Dale
Foll: Jordan Roughead, Marcus Bontempelli, Lachie Hunter
I/C: Liam Picken, Zaine Cordy, Caleb Daniel, Hayden Crozier

DEPTH 

General defenders: Shane Biggs, Brad Lynch, Ed Richards, Roarke Smith
Key defenders: Kieran Collins, Nathan Mullenger-McHugh, Aaron Naughton, Fletcher Roberts, Lewis Young
Midfielders: Josh Dunkley, Lin Jong, Patrick Lipinski, Callum Porter, Mitch Wallis, Lukas Webb
General forwards: Fergus Greene, Mitch Honeychurch
Key forwards: Josh Schache
Ruckmen: Tom Campbell, Tim English
 

NOTES: Recruits Jackson Trengove and Hayden Crozier should slot straight into the backline, while ex-Lion Josh Schache will face stiff competition for a spot in attack. Marcus Adams will be hoping his foot issues are behind him, as the West Australian has impressed with his ability to curb the League's gun key forwards. Superstar Marcus Bontempelli will lead a midfield that should see more impact from third-year playmakers Toby McLean and Bailey Dale. Second-year ruckman Tim English should get more opportunities to display his vast skillset. Of the draftees, key defender Aaron Naughton looks the only one ready to step straight into senior footy. - Ryan Davidson