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Halfway through 2018 All Australian team: The forwards

We're going over there -the Power will play against the Suns in Shanghai next year. (AAP Image/Ben Macmahon)
Roar Guru
19th June, 2018
11

It is time to complete my side. Out of the three main sections of the All-Australian, the forward line is usually the most predictable.

Often sheer quantity of goals has historically driven selections. The improvement of touted superstars such as Devon Smith and Josh Kennedy has been remarkable and has seen them thrust themselves firmly into contention for selection.

As was the case with the defence and midfield selections, only players who have played over eight matches for the season will be considered, and relevant statistics will reflect as such. This condition does result in Tom McDonald being unavailable, but it goes without saying, his season has undoubtedly been of All-Australian quality.

Half-Forward line
Robbie Gray (Left Half-Forward Flank)
The Port-Adelaide forward flanker is one of the most explosive players in the competition, often single handily creating scoring chances. Robbie regularly pushes up into the midfield and influences contests and clearances.

Gray ranks elite for effective disposals and averages almost two goals a game.

Ben Brown (Centre Half-Forward)
The Coleman medal leader has reaffirmed himself in 2018 as one of the competitions elite tall forwards. Brown is an exceptional mark both on the lead and in contests. The North Melbourne forward is also one of the games most reliable kicks for goal. In a year that has seen increased scrutiny placed upon goal kicking, Brown remains consistently brilliant.

This position is hotly contested, but Brown’s 2018 has been the epitome of exceptional.

Jack Darling (Right Half-Forward Flank)
For many years, expectations of Darling have seemed to outweigh his performances. However, 2018 has been seen Darling emerge as one of the competitions best forwards.

A phenom in the air, Darling ranks first for contested marks and third for marks inside 50.

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Jack Darling celebrates a goal

(Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Josh Caddy (Left Forward-Pocket)
The former Cat has had the best year of his young career, sitting seventh in the Coleman and has kicked the most goals of any small forward. Caddy is rated elite for marks inside 50, contested marks and tackles inside 50.

Caddy is an excellent kick for goal and provides one of the competitions greatest offensive threats.

Jack Riewoldt (Full Forward)
This position was incredibly highly contested, with names such as Franklin, Kennedy, Hogan and Cameron having great seasons.
Jack Riewoldt is arguably having a better season than his two Coleman winning years in 2010 and 2012.

Riewoldt sits fifth in the Coleman race, but his influence is far higher than just goals. Acting as often a single tall option forward for Richmond, Jack almost always brings the ball to the ground, regularly against two or three opposition players.

Jack is the highest ranking tall forward in total tackles and tackles inside 50.

Luke Breust (Right Forward-Pocket)
The Hawthorn small forward is an elite goal scorer. Despite a relatively lean month, the 2014 All-Australian remains the second highest scoring small forward.

A well-known clinical finisher, Breust has incredible scoring power. Luke’s proficiencies are not limited to pure scores. The 27-year-old ranks elite in goal assists and tackles inside 50.

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Bench
Lance Franklin
This position was a battle between Hogan, Kennedy and Franklin.

Franklin came out on top due to his sheer versatility. Franklin leads these three in goal assists, tackles, marks and effective kicks. Franklin also has a far larger influence further up the ground than the other two.

Unfortunate exclusions
Josh Kennedy (West Coast)
Jeremy Cameron
Jesse Hogan
Tom Hawkins
Devon Smith
Charlie Curnow

Culminated team
FB: Jeremy McGovern, Daniel Talia, James Sicily
HB: Kade Simpson, Alex Rance, Rory Laird
C: Jack Macrae, Patrick Cripps, Andrew Gaff
HF: Robbie Gray, Ben Brown, Jack Darling
FF: Josh Caddy, Jack Riewoldt, Luke Breust
Fol: Max Gawn, Nathan Fyfe, Tom Mitchell
Ben: Shannon Hurn, Brodie Grundy, Jake Lloyd, Lance Franklin