Your club’s next breakout player: Part three

Hamish Hutton Roar Rookie

By Hamish Hutton, Hamish Hutton is a Roar Rookie

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    This the final instalment of my series on the upcoming stars for each AFL club.

    This piece will feature young stars from Port Adelaide, Richmond, St Kilda, Sydney, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs.

    All six of these squads will have their sights set on the bright lights of September and to get there will need the contributions of their budding stars.

    Click here to read part one and part two of my preview.

    Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper
    A case could be made that SPP has in-fact already broken out, though he still is well below his potential ceiling and that’s a good thing. Walking into the AFL as a first-year player and being able to dominate inside the contest is no mean feat but SPP handled it with class, his power and remarkable ‘stiff arm’ allowed him to fight for the ball and use a great turn of foot to accelerate out of the contest.

    He averaged 17 disposals and while that is very good for a first-year player this is where I see improvement in SPP’s game for 2018. If he can accumulate more of the footy and still be elite inside the contest both offensively and defensively then he will go a long way to helping the Power back into the finals.

    Sam Powell-Pepper Port Adelaide AFL 2017 tall

    Port Power’s Sam Powell-Pepper (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    Richmond: Jack Graham
    This kid has won more premierships than he has lost games, the South Australian captain in his last junior year showed all the clubs who passed on him what they were missing out on near the end of 2017.

    He was a cool and steady head during the furnace of September and on the biggest day of all nullified Adelaide’s best player while also having an offensive impact. His body size and attack on the contest will see him starting in the middle at times in 2018 and his general unwillingness to give up on the ball will have as a Tiger fan favourite if he isn’t already.

    After he captained South Australia I would also suggest he is earmarked for leadership down the track, the tigers got it right with Graham now all they need do is nurture his talent.

    St Kilda: Hugh Goddard
    At the end of the 2015 season Hugh Goddard was the future of the St Kilda defence, he had strung eight games together and had another year of tutelage from Sam Fischer and Sean Dempster before they would undoubtedly retire.

    He struggled to reach the first 22 during the start of the 2016 season and when he did manage in Round 11 he was struck down by an Achilles tendon tear.

    A year and a half later and he hasn’t made it back from injury yet, but recently St Kilda football boss Jamie Cox said that he was primed and ready for a full pre-season.

    I would suggest that a prodigious talent like Goddard will benefit greatly if he can get through the summer unscathed, and if he does he’s a big watch in Round 1.

    Sydney: Will Hayward
    Hayward enjoyed a mixed year with a hot and cold swans team during 2017, he was able to string 17 games together and also had some eye-catching performances while booting 22 goals off the forward flank.

    While Hayward’s size is small his exceptional footy skills and swift step allows him to find the footy, he also racked up as many as six tackles in games last year.

    His best performance came on a Friday night versus the Cats where he and Tom Papley ran rings around the Geelong back six as he accumulated three majors and five tackles. As his body continues develop so will his game, he has all the tools and now it just about putting it together. Have also heard he’s the coach’s pet.

    West Coast: Brendon Ah Chee
    Ah Chee lines up in new stripes for season 2018 and I have a feeling it’ll do him a world of good.

    Ah Chee has been noted for his handballing skills and general silky movement. Paul Stewart, a former player at Port Adelaide was quoted as saying that Ah Chee and Robbie Gray had the best set of hands on them at the club. If Ah Chee gets to showcase his talent between the midfield and the forward line, then West Coast have got themselves a steal.

    Ah Chee will likely be afforded some opportunity as an inside midfielder especially since the retirement of Matt Priddis and Sam Mitchell, he’s a big watch for mine in 2018.

    Western Bulldogs: Bailey Dale
    Bailey Dale received the Bulldogs’ most improved player award last year and it’s not hard to see why. After seeing some of Dale’s performances in earlier seasons I did not myself see him set for a big future, but his form in 2017 certainly made me eat my words.

    After consistent play in the VFL dale was afforded an opportunity at the senior level where he came out and played with intensity. A 27-disposal and two-goal performance over the Blues last year was one of his better efforts.

    If he can increase his aerobic capacity which might in turn help him push up onto the wings I would continue to expect more accumulation of the ball and in turn a larger impact.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • Roar Rookie

      January 11th 2018 @ 5:04am
      Chancho said | January 11th 2018 @ 5:04am | ! Report

      I just Googled Sam Powell-Pepper… he was born in 1998… I want to be sick

      • Roar Guru

        January 11th 2018 @ 9:25am
        Cat said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        Next years draft will have players born in this millennium.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 11th 2018 @ 9:57am
          Chancho said | January 11th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          Thanks mate, Thanks!

          I’ve just reported you for that Cat… unnecessary!

          • Roar Guru

            January 11th 2018 @ 10:15am
            Cat said | January 11th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

            The current youngest player in the AFL is at the Swans, Tom McCartin born 30/12/1999

            • January 11th 2018 @ 11:25am
              Jim said | January 11th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

              That is scary Cat!!!

            • Roar Guru

              January 11th 2018 @ 11:34am
              AdelaideDocker said | January 11th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

              It’s scary, aye?

              For so long I’ve been younger than most of the AFL players, but I’m going to be older than the next bunch.

              Hell, the younger brother of a friend of mine just got drafted. And a friend of a friend got drafted to Freo last year.

              • Roar Guru

                January 11th 2018 @ 11:46am
                Cat said | January 11th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                Yeah, I vaguely remember when people used to be older than me. Hasn’t been anyone born from my year playing in a long time.

              • January 11th 2018 @ 12:11pm
                Neil from Warrandyte said | January 11th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                Time goes so quickly that it won’t be long before we’re reading articles about the last active AFL player born in the 1900’s

              • January 11th 2018 @ 12:14pm
                I ate pies said | January 11th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

                I remember when friends from school got drafted…20 years ago. Wait until you’re older than players who are retiring, then you’ll wonder why you still strap the boots on and get bashed about each week.

    • January 11th 2018 @ 11:43am
      Mattyb said | January 11th 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

      I think the next breakout player at the dogs will be Toby McLean. He put in some big 30 possesion games last year and really started to properly contribute as a front line player.
      I’ve always been a big Bailey Dale fan but I still have him in the potential,fingers crossed category,I think he’ll play a few games next year and continue to develop.

      Zaine Cordy also had an excellent year last year so I’d be looking for him to possibly break out and then of course there’s Tom Boyd. Boyd contiueing to lose weight so he is more suited to the modern game and being another year older could start paying dividends, but hed still be in the fingers crossed category.

      • January 11th 2018 @ 12:16pm
        I ate pies said | January 11th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        Watch Libba break out this year Matty. He owes us one.

        • January 11th 2018 @ 12:18pm
          I ate pies said | January 11th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

          I think Bont will be the one to break out. He’s getting old enough to put on the size and aerobic capacity he needs, and I think he’s still a fair way of his peak. The 3rd man up rule hurt him last year; Bevo will come up with a new game plan and Bont will hit 30+ possessions a week playing more in the midfield than last year. You aint seen nothin’ yet.

          • January 11th 2018 @ 2:57pm
            Mattyb said | January 11th 2018 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

            I’m going to reserve my comments on Libba IAP but I hope your right.

            Agree with you on Bont but I still think we will see a fair bit of him at CHF. I also think we are going to see a bit of Adams at FF and more of JJ up forward. Not saying I agree or disagree with any of that,it’s just that I think that’s how we will be looking to line up.

            • January 12th 2018 @ 9:30am
              I ate pies said | January 12th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

              Hopefully we see Adams play a full season, no matter where he plays. JJ goes alright on a forward flank so wouldn’t be a bad move if we’ve got others who can provide the drive off the half back line.
              Bont will still collect 30, and kick a couple of goals as well, if he plays at CHF. In fact, I’m going to put some money on him for Charlie before the season starts.

    • Roar Rookie

      January 11th 2018 @ 12:07pm
      WCE said | January 11th 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

      Ah Chee is a great pick up and agree with his silky skills. Watched a few clips of him at Port and his handballing is simply awesome and he has a tank. A ruck tap from Nic nat, to Ah Chee with Venables and Shuey in the center will be terrific for the club. Can’t wait !!

    • January 11th 2018 @ 1:43pm
      Mattyb said | January 11th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

      A couple of dogs players who might need to have breakout years for the sake of their own careers….

      Honeychurch. Has been around long enough now and will need to tidy up his disposal. He needs to find a position and his best option would be as a tenacious small forward if he can improve his goal kicking.

      Williams. He’s been around long enough now that he has to start finding more of the ball. 10 or 12 possesions and looking promising isn’t enough.

      Webb. Same as Williams,Webb needs to start transferring his reserves form into the seniors when he’s given opertunities.

      Collins. Needs to start pushing for selection. With Trengove coming to the club,Adams returning from injury and Cordy going ok,Collins will at least need to compete with Young or Naughton for a position if form of injury effect the round one backline. You can’t just stay on a list if your not at least pushing for selection,and he needs to start doing that as a bare minimum.

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