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Your club’s next big thing

With the 2020 AFL season fast-approaching, spoke to the AFL captains at the annual AFL Captains’ Day on Tuesday and asked them to identify the next big thing at their club.

Adelaide- Rory Sloane

Shane McAdam. You might see a little bit of him this year, you might see a heap, but I love the way he plays, I love how fit he’s got. He’s one that if you watch him play some senior footy, you’ll be pretty excited”

Brisbane Lions- Dayne Zorko

Zac Bailey, because he can play multiple positions, he’s fast, exciting, he has no fear and will take the game on.”

Collingwood- Scott Pendlebury

“I think Darcy Moore. He’s got a lot of potential, and he’s shown some really strong periods but I think now that his body will allow him to go out there we’ll see some new levels from Darcy.”

Fremantle- Nat Fyfe

“I think Hayden Young has all the makings of a superstar. His head’s in the right place at a really young age and he’s got the physical weapons.”

Nat Fyfe has nominated Hayden Young, pick no.7 from last year’s Draft, as the player to watch from the Dockers

Geelong- Mitch Duncan (stand-in for Joel Selwood)

Esava Ratugolea. Just his physical attributes that he brings to footy, big forward that kicks goals and takes a lot of marks, [he’s] probably going to get a bit of attention.”

Gold Coast- David Swallow

“The obvious ones are Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, but I’m going to say Izak Rankine just because we haven’t seen him play. He missed that last year with a few injuries and I’ve been really impressed with his pre-season form. Excited to see what he can do.”

GWS Giants- Stephen Coniglio

Tom Green. He’s just been super impressive from the first day he walked in to now. Really putting his hand up for round one, but one of the most impressive first-year players for me.”

North Melbourne- Jack Ziebell

Tarryn Thomas last year had a good year. For his first year he found his feet pretty quickly at AFL level but his pre-season has been outstanding and the way he’s trained and the way he’s played in the first couple of games he’s going to be a very, very good player for us for a very long time so I think he’s one to watch.”

Port Adelaide- Tom Jonas

Mitch Georgiades. Incredible athlete, takes a good strong mark and he kicks a nice drop punt as well, so he’s the whole package.”

Port Adelaide’s Mitch Georgiades has a bright future, according to Power captain Tom Jonas

Richmond- Trent Cotchin

Callum Coleman-Jones. He’s just big, and even on the weekend we saw him crumb a footy that for a 200cm guy, he shouldn’t be able to bend and explode out so quickly. We’ve got a raft of midfielders that are going to be pretty impressive in the future, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, we saw a little bit of ‘Dowy’ (Thomson Dow) on the weekend so there’s some guys that are going to be pushing for senior selection very soon.”

St Kilda- Seb Ross (stand-in for Jarryn Geary)

Jade Gresham. He’s had a big pre-season and he’s been able to showcase to the AFL world what he’s been able to do in the first few years of his career but I think he’s someone who can still go to another level. He’ll be big this year I reckon.”

Sydney Swans- Josh Kennedy

“I’m going to say Nick Blakey, the lizard. Number one because he’s got a great nickname that’s very appropriate for the way he runs and looks, the lizard, and two because he can hopefully kick a lot of goals.”

West Coast- Luke Shuey

“Would love to say Jarrod Brander. He’s played a few games over his first few seasons, played a handful, but [has] made the move up into the midfield this year and mainly on a wing, so he’s had a really good summer, performed really well throughout our Marsh series and hopefully gets a bit more experience this season.”

Jarrod Brander is set to have a breakout season according to Eagles captain Luke Shuey 

Western Bulldogs- Marcus Bontempelli

“I hate hyping up our boys because I never want to put pressure on them, but Timmy English and his growth over the past couple of years has been quite impressive and he’s really only scratching the surface with his football. Trying to let him grow at his own pace is always important, but he seems to be heading in the right direction, so exciting times for Timmy I think.”

*Sam Docherty (Carlton), Dyson Heppell (Essendon), Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn, stand-in for Ben Stratton), and Max Gawn (Melbourne) were unable to speak to at the time of interviewing.