Top 'Breakout' Contenders for 2019

Who do you think will take there game to another level in 2019 and have a ‘breakout’ year?

Does Dave Myers go for another ‘Most Improved’ award? Will Langers fight back? Or does is it time for LAverde to finally get a crack at it?


I’m going with the 3 boys from the 2015 national draft.

  1. Mason Redman - 21 years old after being drafted with pick 30, 187cm mobile forward-turned-defender. Played 2 games in 2018 and looked right at home across half-back and the wing. His season was ended with an ankle injury. Expect him to play the role left vacant by Brendon Goddard. Absolutely bullish on Redman after his two games this year, very rarely have I seen a player step into the team with the confidence and eagerness to get the ball in his hands. Really took a significant step in his development and looks like being a serious player next year.

  2. Aaron Francis - Interested to see what role he will be given in our backline next year. Got a glimpse at how good he could be in the last few games of the year but he needs to put together a consistent season of footy to establish himself as a player. Has all the attributes and talent to become an elite AFL player, hopefully has a dominant year as an intercepting defender.

  3. Darcy Parish - Pick 5 in the draft saw him have a big first year as he carried a huge workload in the midfield. Players returning saw him plateau as he spent time at HF and on the wing. Came back into the team from injury in the 2nd half of 2018 after being dropped midyear and started to play some of his best footy as a contested ball winner that can spread from the contest. Needs to take a big step next year to become a consistent gun midfielder. Can he reach the ‘elite’ bracket of midfielders in 2019?

Smokey - Josh Begley - went pick 30 in the 2016 ND, great draft story having begun that year weighing in at 105kg. Nicknamed ‘Fridge’ he has now got himself down to a playing weight of 89kgs. He is a 188cm contested beast who has played as a forward in his 8 games for Essendon (did his ACL in round5 this year). Bit of a unknown factor coming off an ACL but very highly rated. Long term development for him is a midfielder that can play fwd. I see a bit of Luke Parker in the way he goes about it. There is a spot for him in the forward line in 2019.


Can’t disagree with much of that.


Darcy Parish easily. So many people want to trade him or think he is bust. I think these people are insane.

Will be the next young gun mid behind Merret after the next season.

Has all the tools and the hard head to step up and be a very good inside mid for us.


Has to be Francis for me.
Potential will become reality.


After what he showed in the last few games of the season…how can anybody not have Francis as the main option here???


Langford is also a possibility.

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Part of me wants it to be Redman,so McKenna might be tried on a wing.

But agree,if Francis tracks upwards as youd hope he and the fitness staff ensures, he will farkin kill em next year.

Our first rounders:

They need to cement their positions in the 22 and start delivering at a high level.


Please be all of Langford, Parish and Francis!

All finished the season really well


Lots of possibilities.

Francis has to be the most obvious one if he can improve his fitness again. I really hope he can improve it another 20% or so.

Apart from that, any of the following could have lots of improvement in them, so there is plenty of potential improvement from within and outside the best 22:


I’m less hopeful about the following group, but I hope 1 or 2 of them surprises me:
Guelfi (I like him and think he’ll be valuable around the fringe of the team, but I don’t expect him to ever be more than that)

Mynott and Zerk I’ve seen basically nothing of. From what others say, I hold high hopes for them, but I don’t expect it to happen in 2019

Imagine we get Joe back in 2017 form or better…


I think young buck david myers can back up his most improved from this year with a back to back most improved champion.


I was going to start a similar type of thread but will leave it here.

Is there another team in the competition with as much untapped ELITE ELITE talent as Essendon? Not nice awesome A graders but legit ELITE talent that is yet to reach that…

I also reckon Shiel has never reached the heights his skillset says he could. That’s 5.

I don’t think any other club in the comp has this many players with such a huge skillset who because if injury, age or development are yet to show it. If 2 of these launch i.e. stringer and Francis then watch out!


Draper’s development was off the charts this season. Kudos to Jamar. Still very raw, but if he continues on the same development trajectory, he could sneak a game later in the year (if Belly is injured/rested).

Franga. Reads the game unbelievably well. Great mark. Needs to maintain & continue to build his fitness levels, but should only play seniors from now onwards.

Pidge. More time in the midfield this year and was damaging late in games with his elite pace/endurance. I can see him taking another big step in 2019.

Smokey: Fridge.




If he remains fit then he can challenge for AA honours and stamp his name on this competition. Top 3 talent on our list in my opinion.


People have written him off a little early I think. His preseason will give us indications of how much he wants to be a great player.

The sheer number of players that are legitimately in contention here is why EFC are looking very good for 2019.

Stringer for me. I’m looking for all-Australian Stringer to return in his mid 20s version as opposed to the kid he was when he last got picked.


Front runners: (all of whom I have in the starting 22)


Outside of my best 22:

Draper, Ridley & Zerk-Thatcher should continue to build, one or all of them could surprise, although they’ll have limited opportunities and will need to displace the incumbents.

If they get past their injuries well Begley and Laverde could bolt

Some of the older guys:

Gleeson was looking ready to elevate to elite levels before his injury last year.

Fantasia if the footy gods are kind to him could easily establish himself among the best players in the competition

Conor could blow the competition away if he takes his game to the next level

Stringer is a ticking time bomb of potential, but I think he’ll be a gradual improver over the next few years as he increases his midfield time.

Hurley & Heppell if they iron out their disposal have huge scope for improvement

It’s Fair to say I look forward to all the pre-season training reports


McGrath will consistently be an above average player but I don’t reckon he will be an elite midfielder with his use by foot (lack of penetration mainly).

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Who needs penetration by foot, when you can penetrate by feet


teammates that don’t want to have to deviate 10 metres to take the mark?