Your club’s next breakout player: Part two

Hamish Hutton Roar Rookie

By Hamish Hutton, Hamish Hutton is a Roar Rookie

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16 Have your say

    Continuing from part one of my selected breakout players for 2018, in this edition I will look at the lists of Geelong, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn, Melbourne and North Melbourne.

    Despite Geelong all of the teams in this article have a relatively young list which will aim to become elite in the near future.

    Geelong: Lincoln McCarthy
    Geelong have a habit of having players on their list who have spent the majority of their career in rehab, McCarthy is no exception. The crafty forward has had his fair share of injury issues since being drafted with pick 66 in 2011, but after managing 19 games in 2016 his promising career was beginning to blossom.

    Round 1 in 2017 was a brilliant start for McCarthy in what he had probably hoped would be his breakout campaign, an 11 Disposal, seven tackle and three goal effort helped carry the Cats past Fremantle. Unfortunately, after persistent groin injuries McCarthy elected to go under the knife which effectively ended his year.

    Geelong have a multitude of new faces through both the trade period and the draft and McCarthy will have to working hard this preseason in order to get himself in the first 22 but if he can I’ll be expecting significant contributions.

    Gold Coast: Harrison Wigg
    I’m generally reluctant to put players yet to debut on these lists, but being a South Australian I’ve had the opportunity to watch Harrison Wigg play some footy and the signs are promising.

    The SANFL is a proud and strong state competition so to see a young 21-year-old dominate week in and week out if often a good indicator of talent. Had Wigg been on any other AFL list besides Adelaide’s he would have played his first AFL game already, he’s known for having a laser left foot and being able to win his own ball.

    It’s likely that he may miss the start of the season due to a fractured ankle but once he appears be sure to watch.

    Greater Western Sydney: Tim Taranto
    Taranto makes this list as he was clearly the most promising young gun under 30 games and GWS last season, its almost a moral that he has consolidated himself into a forward/midfield rotation in 2018. His best game last year came in the thrilling clash against Richmond at Spotless Stadium, 19 disposals to go with four tackles and a goal.

    Wayne Milera played a solid role in a very good side and Taranto followed a similar path at the talented giants. I expect his big tank and general athleticism along with a second preseason will see him finding much more of the footy this year.

    Tim Taranto with Leon Cameron at the 2016 AFL Draft.

    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    Hawthorn: Ryan Burton
    Nothing groundbreaking here, Ryan Burton is going to be star. He was highly rated going into his final junior year but a broken leg derailed his potential to go pick one, instead the Hawks snapped him up with the last pick in the first round and boy what a pick it was.

    Burton played down back last year and he did it well, being one of the leading hopes in the rising star award. He has the potential to play up forward and his size and mobility would likely see him be prolific in that role, 2018 will see Burton deployed all over the ground, I feel as though he has an opportunity to become an elite swingman in just his third season.

    Melbourne: Angus Brayshaw
    Brayshaw albeit immensely talented has found it hard to get on the park, a frightening series of head knocks has halted a promising young career to a mere 36 games coming into his fourth year. Towards the end of 2017 Brayshaw was able to string together five senior games, in which he averaged 19 disposals and five Marks playing as an in and under midfielder.

    While the nature of his play will always put his head at risk Melbourne are hopeful that he can stay out of the wars for a time and they help him through the situation. 2018 is a fresh start for Brayshaw and I’m willing to stick it out there that he will be a key piece in Melbourne resurgence into September.

    North Melbourne: Majak Daw
    A controversial choice considering some of the development younger Kangaroos players got in the seniors last year but it’s now or never for Daw. He’s taken number one and stated publicly that the onus is on him to get it done this year otherwise his career may be short-lived.

    Even at 195cm and 97kg Majak Daw is undoubtedly one of the most naturally gifted athletes in the league, he can clunk marks and knows how to make the ball spin backwards off the boot. Going into 2018 I only hope that Daw has refined his footy skills in order for him to become a more complete player, if he does his immense presence will be upon us.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • Roar Guru

      January 9th 2018 @ 9:09am
      TomC said | January 9th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      I can’t get behind Majak Daw. I think I’d go Ryan Clarke from the Roos. Had a strong finish to 2017.

      The Suns have a few break out candidates, but Ainsworth stands out for me.

      Brayshaw, Taranto and Burton all look to be tracking well, as Hamish says.

      • Roar Guru

        January 9th 2018 @ 10:25am
        AdelaideDocker said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        I’ll second that feeling about Daw. Clarke’s a good shout, but Marley Williams + Braydon Preuss both strike me as players who could have big years. Especially Pruess, now that Goldstein is on the way out. Jy Simpkin, as well, for another genuine youngster who could do good things.

        On Burton, I’d argue that he was so good last year, would that be considered his break out year?

        • Roar Guru

          January 9th 2018 @ 10:42am
          TomC said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

          Yeah, you could make that case about Brayshaw as well. ‘Breakout’ implies a steep improvement in form but I think that’s unlikely for players already coming off their best season. Based on Hamish’s nominations so far my guess is he has a slightly different definition of breakout.

          • Roar Guru

            January 9th 2018 @ 10:52am
            AdelaideDocker said | January 9th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report


            For Hawthorn then, I’d say either Jaeger O’Meara (I know he was very good at the Suns, but he hasn’t really had a genuine ‘break-out’ game at the Hawks yet) or one of their young players – say Kieran Lovell – both have potential for a genuine break out year.

            It’s a little more difficult with the Dees. Brayshaw is a good candidate – given I don’t recall him having a proper breakout year yet – but I’d throw Jayden Hunt’s name into the ring as someone who also could breakout. Kid’s got the talent, and the speed, but I reckon he’s going to be important this year for them.

            Who would you have?

            • Roar Rookie

              January 9th 2018 @ 11:04am
              Hamish Hutton said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

              The Dees was a hard one to choose but because my selection process outlined in the first article was to select players under 40 games (Just under 2 full seasons) Hunt just missed out. Like you mention though Hunt will be a star and the way that demons backline is starting to shape up id suggest he’s in for an even better year. I chose Brayshaw on the basis that his body is midfield ready, he has the tank and he’s got the build. If he can stay out the wars look out!

            • January 9th 2018 @ 12:29pm
              Birdman said | January 9th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

              Jaegar is a good call AD.

              He was understandably quiet in 2017 but seems to be primed for a genuine breakout year in Hawks colours.

              As for Lovell, I’d love to see him succeed but for me he looks more in the mould of Alex Woodward and Mitch Hallahan. I hope I’m wrong – and I don’t say that too often 🙂

        • Roar Rookie

          January 9th 2018 @ 11:07am
          Hamish Hutton said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          Ryan Clarke is poised to have a good year in 2018 but for mine some of the younger Roos will struggle with the likely losses they will suffer most weeks. I mentioned a press conference i heard Daw speaking at recently, it just sounds like he wants to succeed, he has the tools and now he just needs to believe he can do it, the mind is a funny thing.

    • January 9th 2018 @ 11:18am
      Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

      Preuss Simpkin and Clarke for the roo boys

      The magpies might get 2 or 3 good gsmes out of young Daniel Wells

    • Roar Guru

      January 9th 2018 @ 11:20am
      TomC said | January 9th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

      I think Hunt’s a fair nomination. He absolutely must learn to lower the eyes though. I think he gets a bit excited when he sees a bit of space and the crowd urge him to take off and run with it.

      EDIT: I seem to be having trouble replying to comments at the moment. This is in response to AD’s question above.

    • January 9th 2018 @ 12:19pm
      Pope Paul VII said | January 9th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

      If Maj can manage to play regularly that would be a breakout in itself. All the best.

    • January 9th 2018 @ 12:55pm
      I ate pies said | January 9th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

      Hahahaha…Daw?….hahahaha. The only thing he’ll break out of is North’s list, when they finally realise that he’s a spud with absolutely zero game sense. Being able to run fast and jump high doesn’t make you a good footballer.

      • January 9th 2018 @ 3:01pm
        Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

        Run fast. Jump high. Not good footballer

        Mason cox ring a bell

        • Roar Guru

          January 9th 2018 @ 3:20pm
          AdelaideDocker said | January 9th 2018 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

          Maybe I’m wrong, but those two probably have more attention and expectation placed on them because they’re international players. I just feel they’ve got outsized attention on them both because of the phenomena that they’re from overseas.

          It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if they were Australian players would they have lasted as long on their respective teams?

          • January 9th 2018 @ 5:47pm
            Kangajets said | January 9th 2018 @ 5:47pm | ! Report


    • January 10th 2018 @ 6:56pm
      Timewaster said | January 10th 2018 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

      Daw would.need to start by learning to read the play. He’s very often where the ball isn’t. He simply cant play footy, and is the worst name on an otherwise great list.

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