Matty’s Top 20 Breakout Contenders

Every SuperCoach season provides us with those few players who ‘come from nowhere’ and increase their average dramatically.

This means that those who had the good fortune to start with them have got a leg up on the rest of the competition while the rest of us clamour to find the cash to make sure we don’t miss out.

Identifying who these breakout players may be can kickstart a SuperCoach campaign from Round 1. So, in today’s SuperCoachHQ #40in40, I rank 20 of the best breakout contenders that you should consider for your team.

If you missed my Top 50 Mature-Agers & Rookies, click here to check it out.

20. Brandan Parfitt, Geelong, FWD $434,300

Surprised everyone through the first five rounds of last season when he was averaging 104, including a massive 168 against St Kilda in Round 4. Then injury struck and saw him miss the next five weeks and unfortunately, he was never able to recover his very best form.

With another pre-season under his belt, Parfitt could find a role in Geelong’s stacked midfield, with the likes of Gary Ablett slated for a permanent move to the forward line. Parfitt also ranked fourth at Geelong for scoreboard impact ahead of Sam Menegola and Ablett so he is definitely capable of getting points for goals.

19. Dom Tyson, North Melbourne, MID $411,000

After playing nine consecutive games to end last year with the Demons, including three finals, it was somewhat of a surprise to see Tyson move to the Kangaroos in the offseason, in hope of more game-time.

It has been rumoured that Jack Ziebell is set for a permanent move into North’s forward line as a foil for Ben Brown and as such a spot in the midfield beckons for Tyson. A proven solid scorer in the past, with two seasons above 90, but at his price whether he go big enough to be worth the investment is yet to be determined.

18. Tim English, Western Bulldogs, RUC $310,600

At just 21 and a half years of age, Tim English is already heading into his third season of AFL football.

All reports suggest he has bulked up significantly and that he will likely get first crack at trying to carry the Bulldogs’ ruck load. After playing the first seven games of last year, and managing to score 75+ in four of them, English wasn’t seen again for the rest of the season.

It is common knowledge that ruckmen take a lot longer to develop than players in other positions, but English has shown he has quite a good scoring pedigree and if the offseason has been as kind as many are suggesting he could be set for a massive increase in average!

17. Rory Lobb, Fremantle RUC/FWD $411,600

It should come as no surprise that Lobb has played some of his finest games when he is given spells rucking around the ground. In fact, in his last five games for the Giants, of which two were finals, Lobb averaged 31 hit-outs a game and averaged 101.6 SuperCoach points a game.

Having made the move to Fremantle his role may not be as clear, but with Aaron Sandilands appearing to be struggling with injury, and Sean Darcy only having just made his return to the team in the second half of last year after an ACL injury, Lobb could be set for the perfect role at the Dockers. He is also a dual position player which means if you are taking a risk on a cheap second ruck he would allow you some added flexibility.

16. Oliver Florent, Sydney, MID $359,300

After playing in nine games during his debut season, Florent managed an average of just 44.8, however in 2018 he found himself playing in every game and increased that average to 66.2.

At not even 21 years of age when the season begins, Florent will have extra responsibility given the departure of Dan Hannebery in the offseason. He is exactly the type of player the Swans are craving and has seriously bulked up during the off-season. While he is an awkward price and may not average enough to become a full premium player, he could be a perfect stepping stone with some breakout performances early in the season.

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15. Charlie Curnow, Carlton, FWD $420,400

Curnow teased his owners last year, starting the season with just one score below 80 through the first five rounds. Despite scoring four 100+ scores throughout the rest of the season, Curnow was not able to establish a consistent scoring pattern.

The general rule is that key forwards don’t make great SuperCoach selections, however Curnow is the exception to the rule, much like Buddy Franklin. He has a good tank which means he will push up the ground and not just stay at home in the forward line. If Carlton can improve their delivery to him this may just be the season that Curnow becomes one of the best forwards in the game.

14. Jayden Short, Richmond, DEF $465,600

Short had a massive season last year increasing his average from a paltry 58.2 to 85.8 in 2019. He was ranked number one last season for metres gained and has become an integral part of Richmond’s defence.

He should benefit from the kick in rule changes and if he can continue to improve as an interceptor there is no reason why his average score won’t continue to improve. One to strongly consider for a breakout.

13. Jade Gresham, St Kilda, FWD $429,600

This time last year and Jack Billings was the must have St Kilda player for SuperCoach season 2018. This year, that player may be Jade Gresham.

From the mid-way point of last season Gresham averaged 90 SuperCoach points a game, which included four 110+ scores as well as three below 70. Gresham is expected to find some more minutes in the midfield this season, a position he played in the TAC Cup where he averaged 146. You could do a lot worse than take the punt on Gresham in the forward line.

Room in the Saints’ midfield? Check out Shorty’s Gresham profile

12. Lachlan Weller, Gold Coast, DEF/MID $403,900

Weller has played 22 games in each of the past three seasons but sadly has played a lone hand coming out of defence for the Suns which has hurt his SuperCoach scoring.

With a number of mature-aged recruits joining the Suns in the off-season, Stuart Dew has added some experience from the state leagues which should hopefully free Weller up. His dual position status makes him an interesting prospect but he is priced awkwardly which may turn lots away. One to watch during JLT.

11. Andrew McGrath, Essendon, DEF/MID $384,300

Teased those that took a risk on him last season with a 26 disposal and 102 point first game against Adelaide, but followed it up with five consecutive scores below 70 including a 31 point game before finishing the season with almost an identical average to his first season!

Showed his class in Round 21 against St Kilda, in which he had 33 disposals and mostly played on the wing and rebounding out of defence. Will a permanent role materialise further up the ground for McGrath in 2019? Possibly, and if it does he has shown he has the talent to take full advantage.

10. Jack Martin, Gold Coast, MID/FWD $439,000

At 24 years of age, Martin is about to embark on his sixth season of senior football with the Suns. For the second straight year he managed to maintain his average in the 80s and with it being reported that the coaching team at Gold Coast believe he is ready to take the next step in becoming a full-time midfielder.

When Martin manages at least 20 disposals a game his average climbs to 89.5, so if the expected midfield minutes do pan out there is no doubt that his score will increase and he may just find himself as a forward premium by season’s end.

9. James Worpel, Hawthorn, MID/FWD $395,700

The Worpedo is entering his second season after 11 impressive games last season. With Tom Mitchell going down with injury, a spot in the Hawks midfield is available and it is expected that Worpel will likely benefit from these extra minutes.

Contested possessions and tackling are what he does best, as proven by the following statistics: When Worpel got eight or more contested possessions last season (not including finals) he averaged 91 SuperCoach points from five games, whereas when he did not he only averaged 50. Further, when he lays four or more tackles, Worpel averaged 96 points compared to just 61.5 when he did not.

A permanent move into the middle is exactly what Worpel is likely to need to see his scoring ability go through the roof! Big, big, breakout contender if he spends a majority of time in the midfield.

8. Jarryd Lyons, Brisbane, MID, $502,000

Inexplicably, Lyons is 90 games into his career and already onto his third team. After playing 37 games with the Suns in his two years there, he proved himself a consistent scorer, averaging 89.8 and 92.5.

With Dayne Beams moving back to Victoria, a spot is available in the Lions’ midfield and with Lyons having been bought over it is clear they have a role in mind. His price is the most awkward of all the breakout contenders but as an impressive scorer in a poor team in his last two seasons will the move to a good team see him really breakout and average 100+?

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7. Callum Mills, Sydney, DEF $428,900

After a freak injury derailed his 2018 campaign, Mills could be set for a huge 2019 season with midfield minutes on offer after the departure of Dan Hannebery to St Kilda.

Has put on some serious bulk and after proving to be an extremely solid scorer during his three seasons in defence a move to the midfield would likely see an increase in his scoring output. What makes Mills extremely enticing is that he is available as a defender. One to definitely watch during JLT to identify what role he will likely have as the season develops.

Mills to the middle? Check out Callum Mills’ Player Radar

6. Alex Witherden, Brisbane, DEF $455,000

Towards the end of 2018, Witherden was in some fantastic form before picking up an injury in the second last round of the year. In his last six rounds Witherden averaged 27 disposals and 98 SuperCoach points, which ranked him fourth overall for defenders during that time.

If he can turn the form from the final six rounds into permanent scoring ability in 2019, a breakout season is definitely not out of the question, especially with the change to the kick-in rules.

Time for this Lion to roar? Alex Witherden’s Player Radar

5. Jack Bowes, Gold Coast, MID $348,100

The No.10 draft pick of the 2016 draft has shown consistent improvement as a fantasy prospect during his first two seasons. After averaging 48.5 from 11 games in 2017, Bowes increased that average to 64.1 from 16 games last year.

Entering his third season, Bowes is expected to play as a pure midfielder in 2019 and showed in his last three games of 2018 that he can be a good scorer (3 round average of 92.3). Being able to select Bowes as a defender makes him appealing given he is expected to be a pure midfielder. Definitely one to watch during JLT.

4. Zachary Williams, Greater Western Sydney, DEF $407,800

I’m not sure if this one is more of a breakout, given Williams has two seasons averaging 88 and 94, or that he is just too cheap given his starting price, but either way, he is a very good selection.

While he is coming off an ACL injury, the Giants will want his skills out of defence so they can release Lachie Whitfield back into midfield and will not have to so heavily rely on Heath Shaw when exiting defence. The new kick-in rules should also benefit Williams seeing him at least return to his previous scoring history, although an increase would also not surprise.

3. Hugh McCluggage, Brisbane, MID $416,800

Entering his third season McCluggage is primed for a breakout season. Having increased his average dramatically in his second season, there is little reason why he cannot do the same in his third.

With the Lions expected to be big improvers, McCluggage is likely to benefit from his team being more dominant this season, after managing to average 101 SuperCoach points from the Lions five wins last season as well as an impressive average of 98 in games where he gathered at least 20 disposals.

All reports suggest he is training the house down, and with more opportunity to run through the midfield, McCluggage is an extremely good option to breakout.

2. Tim Taranto, Greater Western Sydney, MID $481,600

Spots have opened up in the Giants midfield and Taranto is likely licking his lips at the prospect of more midfield minutes. Last season he was ranked right behind Dylan Shiel, who is now obviously at Essendon, for centre bounces, and as such is the heir apparent to that role.

Last season Taranto played 10 games where he spent 80 per cent or more of game time in the middle, for an average of 88. With another preseason under his belt, Taranto will be unleashed as a full time midfielder to the rest of the competition and that screams breakout!

1. Jack Steele, St Kilda, MID $512,600

It may seem odd to argue that someone who has averaged 90+ for back-to-back seasons can be considered a breakout contender, but I firmly believe that Jack Steele, entering his fifth season, is primed to jump into premium calculations.

Post-bye last season Steele averaged 111.7, with only three scores below 100 in his last ten games. His last five rounds were even more impressive, with an average of 117.6 over that stretch and only one score below 110.

Steele is a tackling machine, recording at least five tackles in 16 of his 21 matches last season. He is made for SuperCoach and showed towards the end of 2018 that he can score at an extremely high level.

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