SPORTbible predicts the five AFL breakout stars to look out for this season
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The kick-off of the 2023 AFL season is just around the corner and we couldn’t be any more excited.
Every season there is a group of stars who shine through more than they ever have before.
Sometimes it’s the player you expect to have a huge season, sometimes it's an anomaly who is out to prove something.
It’s an impossible task to pick the future, especially with so many talented young players in the league - but we’ve laid down our predictions on who will be the breakout stars this season.
Darcy Fogarty - Adelaide
The Adelaide key forward was on fire toward the backend of the 2022 season, an indication of what to expect in the upcoming season.
The 23-year-old has always been tipped for greatness, however, struggled for form at the beginning of 2022.
You couldn’t say that about his final 12 games, however, sending home 31 six-pointers including three bags of four making him a consistent threat.
2023 could signal the year he finally makes the Crows’ forward-pack his own and becomes an All-Australian contender.
Adelaide has plenty of youngsters to back him up - the likes of Josh Rachele and Riley Thilthorpe could certainly aid Fogarty in a breakout season.
Finn Callaghan - GWS
Not even 20 years of age yet, Finn Callaghan doesn’t appear to have a ceiling on how far he could go in this league.
He was pick three in the 2021 draft, but with a debut season that was limited by injuries he was limited to just five appearances in the first half of 2022.
Since then, plenty of room has opened up in the GWS midfield and Callaghan, now injury-free has every opportunity to stamp his place.
At 192cm tall, and with a lethal left foot behind him he has undoubted talent.
He denied the advances of St Kilda in the off-season and impressed in the Giants’ intra-club match.
Changkuoth Jiath - Hawthorn
Much like the other two picked so far in this list, many believed 2022 would be the season for Changkuoth Jiath to really put his name on the map.
But as more than often seems the case, injuries put a dampen on his season as he managed just 14 appearances.
However, four years in the Hawks system means he is primed for an outstanding 2023 - even if Hawthorn may struggle.
If he can regain his 2021 form and go that step beyond, expect him to be a shining light for Hawthorn.
Kysaiah Pickett - Melbourne
He’s already one of the most exciting players in the league - and it’s likely everyone will be keeping their eye on Pickett this season.
Over the past two years, he has hit 40 goals in each respective season (40 and 41) as a small forward.
But if he stays fit and healthy 2023 will be the year he breaks that 50 mark and propels to stardom at the Demons - mark my words.
There are reports that he could be moved into the midfield, meaning he’ll have more opportunities to cause chaos and drive into the forward 50.
He’s out of contract in 2024, and although Melbourne seems confident in re-signing him, he’ll be sure to want to attract as many suitors as possible.
Max Holmes - Geelong
The 20-year-old has a brilliant 2023 and gave Geelong that extra push in the second half of the season on their journey to the premiership.
Unfortunately for Holmes, he suffered a devastating injury in the preliminary final and missed out on the game that should’ve been his to dominate.
He’ll be fired up in 2023 to continue his season-defining form and push on further with his speed and running ability on the wing - hoping to pick up that premiership medal.
Teammate Patrick Dangerfield already claimed he ‘could be the best player in the competition at some stage’ - expect that stage to be this upcoming season.
Featured Image Credit: Melbourne Football Club / YouTube. @crowmanistore/Instagram
Topics: Australia, Australia Afl, Aussie Rules Football