The 2016 Jack Dyer Medal is shaping as a hotly-contested race in two, between the outstanding reigning champion and the brilliant challenger.

Star Richmond key defender Alex Rance won his inaugural Jack Dyer Medal in 2015, and you could mount a strong argument that he had an even better season this year.

Dynamic midfielder Dustin Martin has gone close to claiming Richmond’s Best and Fairest on several occasions throughout his time at Tigerland.

Martin was runner-up in 2013 and 2015 and finished third in 2011 and 2014.

The 25-year-old took his game to an even higher level in 2016, averaging 31.1 disposals per match, with a career-high 43 touches against Essendon in Round 17 at the MCG.

He had 30 disposals or more on 14 occasions, including 10 times in the 11 games of the season.

At the completion of the home-and-away rounds, Martin was ranked fourth in the competition for total disposals and fifth for inside-50s.

Among the Richmond players, he was ranked No. 1 for total disposals, No. 1 for contested possessions, No. 1 for uncontested possessions, No. 1 for inside-50s, No. 2 for clearances, No. 2 for centre clearances and No. 2 for rebound-50s.

Will Rance or Martin take home the 2016 Jack Dyer Medal? Be there to watch as history is made on Thursday, September 8 at Crown Palladium. Secure your ticket to the prestigious event here.

Alex Rance averaged 18.6 disposals and 7.8 marks per game in his 20 appearances throughout the 2016 season with the Tigers.

He had 20 disposals or more eight times, with a season-high 26 touches against West Coast at Domain Stadium in Round 4, against GWS at StarTrack Oval in Round 19, and against Collingwood at the MCG in Round 20.

Competition-wide, he was ranked fourth in total marks and sixth for one-percenters.

Within the Richmond playing group, Rance was ranked No. 1 for total marks, No. 1 for rebound-50s, No. 2 for contested marks and No. 6 for total disposals.

Triple Jack Dyer Medallist, Trent Cotchin, also is likely to figure prominently in the Club’s 2016 Best and Fairest count.

Cotchin averaged 27.0 disposals per game this season, racking up a career-high 39 touches in the Round 9 victory over Fremantle at Domain Stadium.

He was ranked No. 1 at Tigerland for clearances, No. 2 for total disposals, No. 3 for inside-50s, equal No. 3 for rebound-50s and fourth for uncontested possessions.

A couple of other Richmond players who seem set to poll well in the 2016 Jack Dyer Medal count are hard-running midfielder Shaun Grigg, who averaged 24.3 disposals and 5.3 marks per game this season, and star forward Jack Riewoldt, who kicked 48 goals, averaged 6.4 marks per match and was ranked fourth in the competition for total marks inside 50.