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AFL mid-season All-Australian team

With half the season now done and dusted, it's time to look at the players who have shaped the year to date.
All teams have now played 12 matches and despite Fremantle sitting two games clear on top of the ladder they could only manage two representatives in our side, the exact same number that St Kilda have! It is Sydney that leads the way at the halfway point with four players in our team, including the captain Jarrad McVeigh. West Coast, who are currently second on the ladder, are next best with three players in the team.
As is the case with the AFL's end-of-year selection, we have a panel process in place, and there were some wildly differing views as to how the team should be shaped. We only had six consensus players among the votes. See if you can guess who they were in the comments section below.
SportsFan's mid-season All-Australian team
FB: Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney) (captain), Michael Hurley (Essendon), Jeremy McGovern (West Coast)
HB: Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn), Alex Rance (Richmond), Tom McDonald (Melbourne)
C: Matt Priddis (West Coast), Nat Fyfe (Fremantle), Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)
HF: Jack Riewoldt (Richmond), Lance Franklin (Sydney), Luke Breust (Hawthorn)
FF: Luke Parker (Sydney), Josh Kennedy (West Coast), Eddie Betts (Adelaide)
Foll: Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne), Dan Hannebery (Sydney), Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) (vice-captain)
I/C: Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle), Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), David Armitage (St Kilda), Jack Steven (St Kilda)
BACKS
Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney) (Captain)
The veteran Swans captain has played everywhere this season, which has become the norm in recent years. He is rock solid down back when required, wins plenty of hard ball when he is thrown in the middle and is able to set up goals and score himself in crucial situations when he goes forward. No need to share the captaincy duties in our team either.
Michael Hurley (Essendon)
You can criticise James Hird all you want (and we quite often do) but he has resisted the temptation to play Michael Hurley forward this season despite his team's dramas scoring goals and you can see why. Hurley has held up under a barrage of opposition attacks this season and is way too valuable in the back six to be considered for a swap with Jake Carlisle.
Jeremy McGovern (West Coast)
Almost everyone expected West Coast's defence to fall in a heap when they lost Eric Mackenzie and Mitch Brown to season-ending knee injuries, but the fact that it hasn't largely rests with McGovern who has more than stepped up to the challenge. Whether playing as a loose man or given a direct opponent, he has been rarely beaten in the air.
HALF-BACKS
Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn)
Averages just a tick under 30 possessions per game, sixth best in the competition, with the second best disposal efficiency in the top six possession getters at 73.4 per cent. His poise under pressure has been an important steadying influence as the Hawks have come under more pressure than usual this season.
Alex Rance (Richmond)
Has certainly franked his 2014 All Australian selection by taking his game to yet another level this year. He has managed to cope on the games best talls and smalls and was only beaten badly once this season, when pitted against Josh Kennedy.
Tom McDonald (Melbourne)
The signs were always there that McDonald was going to be one of the best defenders in the game, and he has finally broken through to be considered among the competition's elite. Had a shocker against Travis Cloke on the Queen's Birthday, but has rarely been beaten otherwise.
CENTRES
Matt Priddis (West Coast)
We are no Johnny-come-latelys to the Matt Priddis bandwagon, as we were one of the few outlets to have Priddis in our All-Australian team last year when he won his Brownlow Medal. Now everyone has him as lock as though his ability to win the hard ball has only happened since he put Charlie around his neck.
Nat Fyfe (Fremantle)
Well, duh!
Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)
Ranks fourth in the competition for contested possessions and has also been used as an attacking weapon by Phil Walsh, kicking 13 goals this season when he has been pushed forward. His match against Fyfe was one of the highlights of the season.
HALF-FORWARDS
Jack Riewoldt (Richmond)
Still sits fifth on the goalkicking table despite playing a largely selfless role for most of the season pulling the best defenders out of Richmond's attacking 50 and creating space behind him. Has also taken the second most marks inside attacking 50 so far this season.
Lance Franklin (Sydney)
Might not be having his best season, but that hasn't kept him out of the side as he is still able to completely dominate his opponents when he has to. Currently second in the Coleman Medal race, which is a particularly good achievement given his willingness to work his way up the ground.
Luke Breust (Hawthorn)
Being a forward isn't just about kicking goals these days it is also about the ability to apply forward pressure. While Breust is still in the top 10 goalkickers for the year he is also the leading tackler in that group, doing plenty to ensure the ball stays inside Hawthorn's forward 50 this year.
FORWARDS
Luke Parker (Sydney)
Was denied a berth in the All-Australian team last year, but has done plenty to make sure his name is right back up there again this year after a superb start to the year. Wins plenty of ball through the midfield but has proven deadly when used as a forward, kicking five goals in the game against Geelong.
Josh Kennedy (West Coast)
Leads the Coleman Medal race by 10 goals, and looks certain to end the run of season-leading goalkickers kicking less than 70 goals for the season.
Eddie Betts (Adelaide)
Third on the goalkicking table, just one goal behind Franklin, Betts has also shown remarkable accuracy in front of the big sticks with just 11 points to his name, the fewest of any player to have kicked over 30 goals so far this season.
FOLLOWERS
Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne)
Does almost all of North Melbourne's rucking solo and is undoubtedly the most important player at the Kangaroos, giving his midfielders a massive advantage during stoppages. Leads the competition for hit-outs, but also does plenty of work around the ground as well.
Dan Hannebery (Sydney)
The second-highest possession getter behind Fyfe, Hannebery is one of the best gut-runners in the competition and is also third in the league for inside 50s so far this season.
Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) (Vice-captain)
Has pushed forward more often this season, kicking 10 goals, but still sits in the top 10 possession getters for the season. Of course it is not just the ball that he gets, it is what he does with it, being one of the best users in the competition, with a disposal efficiency of 75.9 per cent making him comfortably the best user in the top 10 possession getters.
INTERCHANGE
Aaron Sandilands (Fremantle)
The Fremantle big man has been almost every bit as dominant as Goldstein so far this season, with the advantage of having a better midfield working underneath him.
Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide)
The Power are well below their best this season, but you can't slate that home to All Australian Gray, who is producing career best figures everywhere. He is currently second for clearances behind Fyfe and has kicked 12 goals, despite spending more time in the midfield this season.
David Armitage (St Kilda)
The equal second-best possession winner alongside Hannebery, Armitage's disposal efficiency of 74.2 per cent is only bettered by Pendlebury for players inside the top 10 and is comfortably the best for any player to have won over 150 contested possessions this season.
Jack Steven (St Kilda)
Not only is Steven in the top 10 possession getters in the comp, he leads the competition for inside 50s and is the third best tackler in the game.

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