West Coast selected Rueben Ginbey with their first pick of the 2022 AFL Draft (Image: West Coast Twitter)

For these players, we’ve got the more traditional breakout candidate, we know they’re talented, but can they be relevant SuperCoach picks? Let’s look at the players with lower ownership, and why you might want to reconsider them in your SuperCoach sides.

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Jason Horne-Francis ($433,900 MID – 5%)

With all the moving pieces in Port Adelaide’s midfield, will Jason Horne-Francis have the opportunity to move into that top premo status?

Firstly, as a baseline for all these players, we’re not expecting them to be 115+ scorers week in, week out, instead, we’re looking for the guys who could make us $150k and prove to be an easy stepping stone to those fallen uber-premiums. 

‘JHF’ is comfortably the most expensive of the players on this list, but arguably the best, so is natural improvement enough to take him to that ~$550k range? It’d be close, but he’d need more to go his way.

Horne-Francis was 3rd for CBAs for Port Adelaide with 58%, but he may be capped at that number, especially if Ollie Wines re-enters the midfield as a permanent on-baller, as suggested throughout the pre-season. Wines’ 76% CBAs in Port Adelaide’s official practice match ranked as a team-high.

Willem Drew warrants his fair share of CBAs, given he attended every second one last year. Connor Rozee may do the ‘captainly’ thing and take a more team-friendly role, but that’s speculation.

Zak Butters averaged 70% CBAs post-bye, that number would be unexpected to move significantly. Butters did leave the pre-season game early with a rolled ankle, so if he returns come Round One, may see a slightly reduced role.

Horne-Francis could benefit early from these potential factors, yet he may continue to be weened into that midfield, with his spells as a target forward too much to overcome to be a genuine selection.

Horne-Francis is probably a year away, as the role has a few too many questions hanging over it. His bye is a big win if you believe this is the year for JHF, but for me, that price is just a little too awkward.

Tanner Bruhn ($384,400 MID – 1%)

Surely not, right? Well, after Cam Guthrie’s 10-week quad injury, the door is once again open for Bruhn to move into the Geelong midfield.

Bruhn led Geelong in CBAs in their scratch match, was this reactionary due to Guthrie going down? Hard to say, but at just 21 years old, you’d imagine Geelong would be wanting to give opportunity to the youth.

Bruhn had an equal team-high 56% of CBAs in Geelong’s practice match, demonstrating the role could be there, although how Geelong choose to balance the minutes between the fresher faces and the old guard is to be monitored.

Bruhn is one of many players attempting to entrench themselves into the Cats’ midfield, with Jack Bowes, Jhye Clark and Max Holmes all having the skills to play in the middle.

Frankly, Bruhn isn’t much of an option, but one to keep in mind if the role is as suggested.

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Reuben Ginbey ($354,700 MID – 1%)

It was a year of ups and downs for Reuben Ginbey in 2024, but with a second pre-season under his belt, we could see a big rise from the Eagle.

After a stellar start to 2023, Ginbey’s body broke down due to the rigours of being an on-baller, but his upside is what has my eye.

Ginbey’s first three-round average was 88 points, well around the number we’d need for him to be a successful pick in 2024. The highlight of Ginbey’s first year was his tackling prowess, he averaged six tackles per game, enough for the top 20.

West Coast are in a position where they can let the kids have a free run in 2024, Ginbey should be one to benefit from this the most.

Of course, we can’t talk about a young West Coast midfielder, without mentioning Harley Reid. It’s not exactly clear how much midfield time Reid will get, given he’s expected to play a role behind the ball, but was drafted in part to his talent up forward.

West Coast has shown caution regarding Reid’s minutes, stating they wouldn’t expect him to play every game, we may see a similar situation with Ginbey, given how he tracked in 2023.

It’s worth noting Ginbey may be in doubt for Round One, following a head clash which has put him in concussion protocols. Whilst I don’t think this makes him a non-starter, I’d track with caution if you are considering.

Matt Johnson ($301,800 MID – 0%)

It’d come from the clouds if I called this one, but don’t doubt the man who’s seemingly been forgotten in the Fremantle midfield rotation by many pundits.

Turning just 21, Johnson may still be a year or two away, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the young Docker.

Johnson averaged just 21% CBAs last year, which, at worst, would be hard to regress from. In saying this, it’s his highest CBA game that should be spotlighted.

Johnson’s 42% CBAs in Round 13 brought a score of 96, his second-highest all year. 25 disposals with six tackles were the key stats.

This isn’t to suggest that he’ll always score high despite not being in the first midfield rotation, but if he’s given the opportunity, he can take it with both hands and run.

Johnson scored 77 points from just 57% game-time in Fremantle’s official practice match, he only attended a couple of centre-bounces, but is someone whom Fremantle would be silly not to give playing time.

Johnson is probably (at best) 5th in Freo’s midfield rotation with Brayshaw, Sarong, Fyfe and Young all ahead of him, so for that reason, I’m happy to wait on him. Keep an eye on his progress though…

Angus Sheldrick ($301,800 MID – 1%)

The same price as Johnson, but potentially with more early upside, Sheldrick has shown he’s got bundles of potential.

In a five-game sprint, Sheldrick averaged 80 points on 41% CBAs, going at a very healthy 1.04 points per minute.

Sheldrick is one whose opportunity may come from the absence of Luke Parker, who’s set to miss ‘an extended period of time’ due to a broken arm. Callum Mills is out until mid-season as well.

Parker and Mills CBA’s were at 75% and 37% respectively in 2023, leaving plenty of room for someone to step up.

Taylor Adams’ pre-season match injury, may benefit Sheldrick who had a bump in CBAs following Adams going down. Sheldrick finished the game with 16 disposals from 38% CBAs, and Adams finished at 41%, meaning Sheldrick could chew into those.

Between Sheldrick, Jordon, Warner, Heeney and others, there are plenty of options to fill the holes currently in Sydney’s midfield.

Sheldrick might be one to consider early, potentially starting him and then flipping come his Round Five bye. Watch his role carefully in the Opening Round, and decide following that.

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