Australian Football Hall of Famer Terry Wallace has listed the forwards across the AFL who he believes will take a “quantum leap” in 2020.
These are the players who the former Hawthorn champion believes will go to another level next season.
“I think over a summer you can get players who take their game from one level to another major level,” Wallace told SEN Drive.
“Now, some of those are players around the edges who might have got a few games who really start to become good, regular players.
“Others are players who have been those good, regular players, or maybe even a little bit better, who I think can go to another level again.
“A couple of them, people will say they’re already at that level – I think that there’s another level in them again.
“These are the players that I expect in 2020 to take a quantum leap.”
Wallace’s key forwards who could take a quantum leap in 2020
Ben King (Gold Coast)
I think that he showed really good signs this year,” Wallace said.
Todd Marshall (Port Adelaide)
“I really like him, he’s been in and out of their side. They’ve got to just now play him as a regular in that line-up,” Wallace said.
Oscar Allen (West Coast)
“I really like the way that he’s progressing for the Eagles,” Wallace said.
Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow (Carlton)
“I’m really interested in the two Carlton boys. Not only in the way that they develop, but how they develop together and how that plays out,” Wallace said.
Aaron Naughton (Western Bulldogs)
“I don’t know yet, I haven’t been to training sessions, but I’m thinking he will keep playing as a forward. He can clearly play at either end and can be a star at either end. He was third in their best and fairest as a defender, but showed the natural ability as a forward at times and was brilliant,” Wallace said.
Mitchell Lewis (Hawthorn)
“I just thought at times his ability to really hit the ball at the height of the contest and extend the arms and really attack the footy, I think that there’s a lot to like for Hawthorn fans. I saw signs in the last 12 months that he is ready to take the competition on.”
Wallace’s general forwards who could take a quantum leap in 2020
Cam Rayner (Brisbane)
“I thought he was an inch away from taking that step. A couple of his actions in the finals, he could have had a big tally of goals in a couple of those games. I think that he is ready to take a step,” Wallace said.
Jayden Laverde (Essendon)
“There’s a lot of talk at Essendon of players around the edges, I just think with a good run at it, Laverde could do it. He has shown signs at times, but just needs some consistency,” Wallace said.
Sam Switkowski (Fremantle)
“I thought he took some nice steps this year, whether it was high half forward or wing for him,” Wallace said.
Nakia Cockatoo (Geelong)
“Everything that I have seen of him from juniors through to his senior football, he reeks of ability, but it’s whether he can ever get his body right to be able to do it,” Wallace said.
Gryan Miers (Geelong)
“He did it as an 18-year-old, he showed when the pressure was on in AFL finals that he could handle that sort of pressure. I think that he can go on again,” Wallace said.
Harry Perryman (GWS)
“He probably played more wing than high half forward. I just thought he started to get what AFL football was about,” Wallace said.
Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne)
“I love Tarryn Thomas. I think that he can be a really fine player. Whether it’s completely this year or still another 12 months away, that could be the argument, but I think he is going to make a really good player,” Wallace said.
Nick Hind (St Kilda)
“I really enjoyed his work. His dash and his flare and his run and carry I thought was really good as a high half forward,” Wallace said.
Will Hayward (Sydney)
“He got injured this year, but I thought the previous year and when he did play this year, I think he showed signs of being able to go right on with it,” Wallace said.
Jarrod Cameron or Jack Petruccelle (West Coast)
“With Willie Rioli not being there, I think one of Jarrod Cameron or Jack Petruccelle will really step up.”
The next group is the three players Wallace labelled as the ‘big ones’ to watch in 2020
Izak Rankine (Gold Coast)
“This kid is a star. We got robbed of 12 months of him playing footy this year, so I can’t wait. Not many of us are in love with watching Gold Coast games, but you will love watching this young man. He is an absolute beauty,” Wallace said.
Nick Blakey (Sydney)
“I think he can go to another level again. He had a fine first year, but I think that he is an outstanding player. He could even play on a wing for them I would think,” Wallace said.
Bayley Fritsch (Melbourne)
“I just thought some of the work he did late in the year when they played him as a forward rather than higher up the ground, I think Melbourne supporters will look forward to seeing him,” Wallace said.