Breakout Bonanza

Several months ago Coach Tooler penned a series looking at potential “breakout” players for 2016, to read the series in full click here. While I encourage you to read all of these (especially if you play RealDreamTeam/AFLFantasy) plenty has changed since the start of 2016. Injuries have created potential opportunities,  players roles have changed plus we’ve had a look now at most teams a few times. Now that we are half way through the NABChallenge I wanted to look at some players that look primed to ‘breakout’ in 2016.



Tommy Sheridan

In his final 7 home and away games of 2015 he averaged 80 (RealDreamTeam/AFLFantasy) and 83 (SuperCoach) which included a red vest affected score in the 30’s. Already in his 2 NABChallenge games he’s been used as a a key link up user of the ball out of the dockers defense. Price in the mid 60’s and with no questions about job security he presents great potential value.

James Aish

At the beginning of the preseason I had questions of how and if Aish would make his way into Collingwood’s best 22. Throughout the NABChallenge he’s proven to me that barring injury he’ll be named round one. He’s been used predominantly as the link up players between the half forward and half back flanks. If he can add some contested ball winning points on top of this he’ll make plenty of money for us.

Jesse Lonergan

A delayed start to the season for best 22 midfielders in David Swallow & Jaeger O’Meara has created an opportunity for some more inside midfield minutes for other Suns. In a recent AskTheCoach  Suns Coach Rodney Eade stated the “Jesse Lonergan will take the role of the injured David Swallow.” He went on to further praise the work of Lonergan this preseason and his slimmed down frame seems to be helping his footy. Swallow’s been added to the long term injury list and is minimal chance of being fit before the Suns bye round.

Luke McDonald

Suffered from the second year blues in 2015 with an average in the low 50’s in 2015. However in his debut season he averaged mid 60’s and showed promise of being potential strong defensive scoring option. While I think some of the other players listed are a greater chance of turning into a player you could “hold” for the year he does need to be in the conversation.

Daniel Howe

He’s shown to be a point scoring defender both through this NABChallenge but also when he was vest free in his 2015 games. While the Hawks do have a spot in the side to fill with Suckling’s move to the Bulldogs, Howe’s no guarantee to land it. Hawthorn are in a strong position (yet again) and while he may get first crack at it, however, due to the competition for spots plus the potential of Hodge and even Mitchell spending some more time across half back it could see him be forced out before he’s made enough cash for us. Huge upside, but proceed with caution.


Lachie Whitfield

Plenty has been made about who will take the midfield minutes of Treloar, and while Lachie has already established himself as a key link up player on the outside Leon Cameron has spoken of his desire to play him more ‘inside’ the contest this season. If this eventuates a nice point scoring boost will come his way.

Jack Viney

He’s fast becoming one of the most hyped ‘breakout’ midfielders of the preseason. And understandably so especially in SuperCoach considering his ability to win the contested ball and rack up the tackles. What does let him down is his disposal isn’t always strong. If he can be freed of the “shut down” midfielder role and be freed to hunt the pill like we’ve seen in the preseason and  and towards the end of last year then he could easily be someone we hold for the season.

Mitch Duncan

A few seasons ago he was right on the verge of entering premium midfield status, but a few small injuries have stunted that development. Despite a delayed preseason Duncan has looked promising and the addition of Dangerfield to the Cats midfield puts him even further down the tagging list. He’s got a massive ceiling, and if he can fix up the basement he’ll be a massive money maker for us.

Matt Crouch

He’s become the flavor of the week and understandably so given his strong NABChallenge matches so far. At under 18 level he won plenty of contested ball and now with improved endurance and the need for the Crows to replace the contested numbers of Dangerfield, Matt looks to be a crucial part of the Crows midfield set up. Is he better than his brother? I don’t think so but what he does have is a clean bill of health.

Josh Kelly

Similarly to his teammate in Lachie Whitfield he’s ready to take him game to the next level. Across this preseason he’s impressed on the track and now after an extra preseason his tank and endurance is now considered elite by the club and they plan to release him further across the wings. The giants midfield is looking formidable and with a run a carry style of game he’ll look to rack up plenty of outside ball and loose ball gets.


Kurt Tippett

When we talk rucks in 2016 coaches think about the big dogs like Goldy, Martin, Mumford, Gawn, Sauce  even Grundy or NicNat.Or they consider mid price selection in Lobbe or Leuenberger. However, I’m not seeing alot of love for Kurt Tippett. Towards the end of the year his final handful of games when he played as the #1 ruck had him producing numbers that match these big boys. If you wanting a unique potentially high scoring ruck then Tippett is surprisingly an option. Promising signs in the preseason too with Longmire choosing to have Kurt be the #1 ruck to Sinclair.

Tom Nicholls

For the past few seasons has battled with Smith & Gorringe for the mantle of the #1 ruck, but with both seeking further opportunities elsewhere Tom will no longer have to worry about sharing the ruck load and can be free to be the clear top ruck for the Suns. The only other thing holding him back has been his body, if he can get those small niggles out of his system he’ll push himself into premium territory for a ruckman.

Zac Smith

A trade period move and a strong pre-season, Zac looks to have established himself as the Cats #1 ruck. In his debut season he was super impressive at the Suns, with some believing long term he could become the next Dean Cox and be a yearly feature in our sides, While a knee injury slowed down his development he’s showed promising signs this NAB Challenge and with Geelong looking to play a near full strength side this weekend we’ll get another look at him with all of Geelong’s talls playing.


Jarryd Lyons

For the past few seasons Lyons has been a standout ball winning midfielder at SANFL level and while he’s played a number of AFL games he’s never been given a strong run in the Crows midfield due to being often thrown the vest. Along with the Crouch brothers Adelaide Crows coach Don Pyke has often spoken about Lyons (along with Ellis-Yolmen) as players he believes will step up into the role. With MID/FWD flexibility and being relatively under-priced due to the vests if your looking for a unique option compared to Thomas, Anderson, Duggan or even Kennedy then consider Lyons. In the Crows and Dockers NABChallenge match a few weeks back he was probably the midfielder that impacted the contest the most in the 3rd term.

Jordan De Goey

He was dominant in the intra club match and also the pies first NAB Challenge and as such is probably the most popular of all potential breakout forwards listed. While I get the appeal he never showed huge ball winning numbers at Under 18 level. He was then and even now at AFL level a strong contested ball winner and boasts great speed, but until (and hopefully we do) get to see all of Collingwood’s first choice midfielders all play together I’m unsure how much time he will get. If things go our way and he does, then especially in SuperCoach I’l consider him.

Angus Brayshaw

A NABChallenge match injury has probably made people write him off as an option, but if he’s named for round one you need to consider him. Gaining MID/FWD DPP this year he becomes a strong consideration. During a middle patch of 2015 he went 83, 94, 90, 96 & 78 in RDT/AF while in that same 5 round blitz he posted 76, 107, 91, 78 & 112 in SC. Another full preseason will see his ability spend more time in the midfield and the potential to deliver scores like this early.

Mark Hutchings

The back portion of 2015 Hutchings put up numbers that would make him a premium forward option. During that time he made himself a key feature of the Eagles midfield rotation. With injuries ruling Masten and likely Redden out for the start of the year Hutchings midfield minutes should only increase. Very much in consideration for me especially in AFLFantasy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Chat with us over Twitter @CoachesPanel or via @mjwant and of course via our Facebook page here.

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