Miracle Men – 2012 in Review

In February this year, I wrote an article discussing possible breakout candidates for 2012. When I say breakout, I mean that they BREAK the HELL OUT and smash it all year. Examples of these from 2011 were Liam Shiels, Matt Suckling and Nat Fyfe. Has this season given us any Miracle Men? What has become of my projections now we’re done and dusted? Let’s take a look…

Just to clarify, the basic reasoning I was using to justify ‘Miracle’ status is for a player to go from an average of less than 60 to have a massive breakout year as below:

For a Defender, Ruck or Forward – 85 + average over 20 games or more

For a Midfielder – 100 + average over 20 games or more

So let’s first look at the players I suggested could fall into this category to see how far I was off the mark (and boy was I):








It’s fair to say that I missed the mark with a lot of these by a country mile. Whilst my prior evidence suggested a potential breakout, the above proves that despite potential – there are way too many risk factors that come into play to be able to accurately pick such a huge breakout. Things like injury, suspension, form and coach can all have a detrimental effect on a players season – particularly one with a scattered past or one in their AFL infancy. Another thing that has devastated this progression of breakouts is the further development of the sub-rule. With fringe players often handed the green/red vest, their ability to consistently deliver becomes a frustrating task for both player and DT coach.

Of my 11 above, Masten, Grima and Wallis were the closest, whilst others including Rohan and Colyer failed to play much footy due to injury – and Connors… well let’s not even go there.

So we’ve established how hard it is to actually breakout in this way – did any players actually become ‘Miracle Men’ in 2012? Let’s have a look…

Dayne Zorko (BRL, MID/FWD, 94.69 avg from 16 games), Sam Gibson (NOR, MID, 90.92, 12), Jon Giles (GWS, RUC, 81.95, 20) and Toby Greene (GWS, MID, 96.21, 19) as first years aren’t really eligible given their starting point however all deserve to be mentioned here based on their respective first year averages alone.

There appear to be 3 players that went very close to this mark, with only ONE of those falling into the category.

Firstly, Adelaide X-Factor Patrick Dangerfield – With a starting price of $349,800 and carry over average of just 70, many were sceptical to say the least. But he’s truly broken out and silenced his critics in 2012 to become a star of the competition, but due to his slightly higher starting point he’s just not quite Miracle Man material. However with an average of 101.91 from 22 games, he was one of the picks of the year regardless.

Next is Freo DPP and human canvas Clancee Pearce. After a great start to the year, many coaches jumped on him as a POD. But after a mid-year form slump his selection was shaky. Priced at $305,000 in the preseason, he’s gone on to play 22 games in 2012 at an average of 84.64, rising over $100k in the process. Great job Clancee.

Finally, congratulations to 2012’s one and only Miracle Man – the Tiger Mullet, Mr. Ivan Maric. Starting the year with a lowly price of $262,700 and carrying over an average of 59, he proposed little risk if you were skilled (or lucky) enough to pick him up as part of your ruck division. Playing 21 games and finishing with an average of 98.10 to be the 2nd highest scoring and averaging ruckman of 2012; and with a price now well above the $400k mark – my hat goes off to him (and Richmond for giving this guy a go).

2013 Miracle Men at a Glance

Now, it’s way too early to speculate on who’s set for a massive breakout season in 2013 until we at least see how the players are tracking in the preseason, however here’s a few names that could be bandied around in the preseason for 2013 (you heard it here first):

Name, Club, Position, 2012 average (Games played)

Dom Tyson, GWS, MID, 61.60 (10)

Zac Smith, GCS, RUC, 58.38 (16)

Claye Beams, BRL, MID, 65 (8)

Jordan Russell, CAR, MID, 57 (7)

Shane Savage, HAW, MID, 55.44 (18)

Jared Polec, BRL, MID, 54.1 (12)

Chris Knights, ADE, FWD/MID, 49.4 (5)

Zach Tuohy, CAR, DEF, 46.4 (19)

Jeremy Laidler, CAR, DEF, 45.8 (4)

If you’ve enjoyed my AFL Dream Team commentary and articles this year, make sure to follow me @McRathDT for some offseason Twatter and updates on the preseason goings on at DTTalk.


  • Great work all year McRath. As a fan of both Dream Team and Carlton as well, I think we both have more than one reason why we are looking forward to 2013.

    I agree with Claye Beams. Has to be worth a look next year. Especially if he’s listed as a FWD or with a MID/FWD DPP status. Looks set for a big one next year in the guts from what I can gather from sources as well, though I may be wrong.

    Will be keeping a tab on the likes of Gaff and Jack myself. Gaff could break out in his third year. Heppell as well even, to that matter.

  • Good job McRath,

    This is a cautionary tale for those advocating changing pricing / rules to make Coaches pick more mid-priced players.

    The strike out rate is just too high and doesn’t warrant the extra investment.

  • What about Brock McLean 264k to 490k ? And brad ebert ?

  • Whilst they had amazing seasons and ‘broke out’ in ways, they didn’t quite fit into the Criteria. They should’ve perhaps got a mention beside Danger and Pearce (particularly Ebert who played all year)… But their starting points of above 60 put them out of contention.

    In saying this, I do wish I’d picked up Ebert at the start of the year for $308k… wonder who’ll be the Ebert of 2013? Beams or Savage are my best bets.

    • Yeah fair call good to see McLean cement his spot, it’s almost impossible to pick I was going to pick ebert up at the start but being a mid you really need them to average 100 plus and I didnt think he could do that turns out I was right just.. Cunnington could be a breakout

      • Ahh but do we have the gojoles to actually pick them? Would love to have a crystal ball as I would’ve picked up Ebert, WhiteX, Greene, Maric and Pearce all from the start… but alas it doesn’t exist and sometimes it’s just luck that all of the above listed factors come together.

      • Also – North midfielders are dangerous… Even Swallow can’t become super premo… too many indians and not enough chiefs mayhaps? I say Gibson would be a decent pick to break into the elite category if any of the North mids. Cunnington will go alright… but 100 plus? Unlikely.

  • David Swallow next year, locked in.

  • Excellent year McRath!

    One guy that almost became a miracle man was Matthew Wright from Adelaide. I know he averaged 65 in 2011 but raised that to 85 this year.

    You missed one to add to your list for 2013:

    Josh Kennedy (WCE) – ave 52.86 from 7 games

    Thanks again for all your efforts throughout 2012!

    • Good point on Matty wright there I had a little look at him at the start of the year but unfortunately didn’t get him.

  • Just wanted to say great work this year McRath. Always look forward to your articles each Tuesday and I appreciate your efforts throughout the year!

    It’s already been mentioned of course but Ebert would very nearly pip Maric for pick of the year (in terms of averaged increased anyway)! He had a carry over average of 62 and ended up averaging 99.4 in 2012. I was lucky enough to be bold and pick him (one of the few things I did right mind you), offloading him before his MBR in R13 for around $500k (which at the time he was averaging ~107!).

    I’m not sure about Tuohy though unless he has a complete role change, he seems to be stuck with the ‘lockdown’ small defender role – but that is definitely a big chance of happening with a new coach! I really like the Dom Tyson pick, I wanted to get him from R1 this year but I refrained fortunately (only because of his price, being pick 3). Surely he will build from the momentum of the end of the year, classy player.

    One guy i’ll watch closely is Siposs, with Goddard potentially leaving he could find himself playing that role. Also David Swallow is another, although he’s fairly obvious and already mentioned above.

  • Thanks McRath for your insights this year. My costly regret is not getting in Dangerfield, didn’t think he could keep it going , mostly happy otherwise with my choices. Will try as much as possible for G n R again next year, is the way to go. LeCras, Leuenberger, Gray, and other Porplyzia type injury bargain comebacks high on the list.

  • My biggest regret is not trading out Cloke and putting in Danger mouse early in clokes poor form streak (started in round one i think) just that trade alone would have had me finnish in the top 1% as it was I finished in the top 3% which is a $hit finish when you put the time in like i did.
    And just to give every one a laugh I benched Cloke in the the only GF I made…. and you guessed it, I was the first to come second.
    All will be good when the Magpies beat the Hawks this Friday night………see you all next year and,

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SWOOP>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> GO PIES!!!

  • Awesome year McRath. Insightful and a big help throughout.
    I made a few risky decisions at the start of the season and just about every one paid off thank god. Basically hoped injury-risk players could turn it around and i gotta say they all did really well(apart from Barlow’s vests in the first 2 games and Grimes’ slow start) for the majority. Most happy with Danger after seeing what he was capable in flashes last year i thought it was worth it and boy was it ever!
    DEF(Grimes, Lake) MID(Hayes, Barlow) FWD(Porplezia, Dangerfield)
    They saved me trades early in the season so i could keep cycling through rooks and making cash and ended up winning the GF in my social league(by 22 points!) so here’s hoping for the same luck next year.
    Time to start my research!

  • Looking towards 2013, one that I think could well be a “miracle man” in jumpimg from a 60 average this year to 100+ next year is Brent Maloney. I’m quite confident he will be in Sydney next year and will be a permanent part of their in & under midfield. Will take the role that Bolton was so good at.
    Players don’t go from B&F and a 99 point average to 60 average and struggling to get a game in the space of 12 months without there being something going on behind the scenes.

  • Really looking forward to next season, just a few players in my mind that will be locks next year.

    Cotchin, David Swallow, Prestia if he gets a good pre-season in, Leuey, Robbie Gray and Lecras.

  • Anyone reckon Luke Ball being back next year will have a negative affect on Beams?