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3rd year breakout year? Or is it the 6th, 7th or 8th…??

So we think the third year is the breakout year… but Black Klaw challenges that thinking with some stats about our true premiums.

I agree to an extent that a players 3rd year can be their breakout year, but I would lean more towards saying that the 3rd year is when they start playing consistent footy in a team, they have cemented their spot and are pumping out a consistent 85 – 100 per game.

It is around the 5th, 6th and 7th + years that players will really go BANG and turn in to super-premiums eg Ablett, Swan, Montagna, Bartel and Boyd and will start to average 110 + per game.

Lets take a look at those 5 players…

(yr)            (av)


1st             36.9
2nd             68
3rd             68.3
4th             76
5th             77
6th             98.5
7th             111.7


1st             30
2nd             52.6
3rd             65.2
4th             101.9
5th             101.5
6th             102.5
7th             119.1


1st             28
2nd             45.5
3rd             54
4th             71
5th             80.8
6th             95.7
7th             87.5
8th             115.8


1st             49.2
2nd             49.8
3rd             92.9
4th             82.7
5th             98.2
6th             114.4
7th             113.2


1st             28
2nd             56.7
3rd             54.1
4th             82.5
5th             96.6
6th             91.9
7th             103.8
8th             115.1

Now there are always anomalies like Barlow last year and Selwood but there are a host of other players who go bang between their 5 – 8th years, I thought that this article could be a good point of discussion to analyse players who are following this trend and about to explode. What made me think of this was a discussion in a previous post about Shaun Higgins which got me thinking that EVENTUALLY he will become a premium… hopefully!!

One problem about trying to predict the next ‘Swanny’ is the awkward price range that the potential super-premium will be in. If you look at the stats above you can see that all 5 players pretty much averaged between 90 – 100 before they made the leap to averaging 110 +

Anyway, start throwing some stats and players around…

Co-captain of DT Talk since inception in 2007. Finally had a good season with an overall ranking of 137th for 2018... next goal is to replace the dirty old trucker hat with an AFL Fantasy one! Follow on Twitter: @WarnieDT



  1. Avatar

    Big Lance

    March 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Great article for discussion well done. I think the 3rd year breakout is a myth, 3rd year they may play 22 games and become a regular but its after that they will start to find their feet and move toward there potential.

  2. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Good Article mate…
    makes looking for that unique pick even more important
    This year (like most) If you can find that guy that will go from 85-90 scores to 105-110 you will be a genius!!!
    But unfortunately it is not as easy as it looks

  3. Avatar

    jim cowski

    March 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    i picked boyd to do it last year. this year i feel it will be stanton and/or marc murphy.

    i rekon their both capable of that 115 average.
    stanton because he really has a dt friendly game
    marc because hes a gun player and having great ps.

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      March 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      theres always the lingering worry on stanton that he may cop a tag…and if that happens you can shut up the shop for that game, 50-70 is what he’s getting.

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        March 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm

        true mate, had him last year after his first 3 rounds of 120+ then got tagged the rest of the year…not going him again

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      George Chisholm

      March 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      wouldn’t it be hard for Murphy to get the top points with Judd and Gibbs by his side?

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    March 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Jobe Watson has gone ..


    .. in his last 5 years.
    Could be ready to explode!?

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      March 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      its funny when you look at it, the glass half full man says this man is about to explode! the glass half empty man says hes already exploded! – 94 could be his peak with all the handballs and hard taggin he cops.

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        March 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

        Stanton got tagged in his last game against melbourne and still got 107.

        The tagger was nathan jones.

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          March 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm

          maybe he has learnt over the pre-season how to deal with it? the messiah may have all sorts of tricks ;)
          I guess Stantons advantage is he is so fit, in the last quarter when everyone esle is stuffed he is still running from 50 to 50 getting cheap balls. It pads out his score sometimes. I had him last year and i guess it was a ride worth being on….i was jelous of all the montagna owners though! consistant as..

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            March 4, 2011 at 10:03 am

            Perhaps the new interchange rules will help him. In the past if he wore out one tagger they could potentially just stick another on him (although I’ve got no stats on whether this happened). It might be harder to find the second tagger this year.

    • Avatar


      March 2, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      I already have him Essendon will be a lot better with the best coaching panel in the league this season, I think a lot of Essendon players will get higher averages this season with the improvement of that kick to handball ratio knights bought in.

      • Avatar


        March 2, 2011 at 9:41 pm

        Are you suggesting Hird is one of the best coaches in the league? Last time I checked, he hasn’t won a single home and away game as a senior coach. Is that right? Michael Voss was a Brownlow Medallist and a triple premiership captain. Is he one of the best coaches in the league?

        To the author, well done on a brilliant article because you have clearly highlighted why a theory is unjustified with supporting evidence. Sure, there are anomalies, but a small majority of one-offs does not justify the existence of a theory, or worse, a “rule”.

        The reason why the 3rd year rule is a myth is because once someone makes an unfounded comment on forums such as these, and then others agree with it because they like to think it’s true, then other people start to believe it because they keep reading about it consistently. I wonder how many DT and Supercoach competition winners in the past actually believed everything that people said and made decisions based on unfounded statements, OR, if they selected an initial team and made trades throughout the year based on FACTS?

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          March 3, 2011 at 1:53 am

          Hahahahahaha, “the best coaching panel in the league”??? There really is no logic to some Essendon fans thinking, James Hird was a superstar of the club for years, a hero, how could he possibly not be a superstar coach? Like Varc said Voss was a gun player is now clearly the best coach ever to have lived isn’t he? Sure Mark Thompson built a good team over the 8 years he was at Geelong for before he won a flag but I think you some of you Essendon guys need to relax and let him actually coach a senior game before you start saying outrageous statements like that

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          March 3, 2011 at 11:34 am

          not Hird he has no experience but his assistant coach Thompson has all the experience they need. Essendon would beat the better teams in the league last season Eg St kilda and then loose to West Coast, they should be more consistent with better coaching

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            Sammy H

            March 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm

            Mate, Essendon have no cattle to really compete with the top teams.

            What you do have, though, is a lack of common fucking sense.

            Sit down, peanut, while the adults talk.

  5. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Good Article but something that you did not mention was that 11 out of the top 12 Dream team players came from the top 4 teams. Geelong, St kilda, Collingwood and Western Bulldogs.

    Swan, Albett, Boyd, Chapman, Goddard, Montagna, Hayes Selwood, Pendelbury, Bartel, Cross. All of which spend a lot or all of their time in midfield, so the next gun will be a midfielder obviously.

    Exception to the rule is of course Barlow who finished 7th and gave me a straight trade to Ablett last year.

    How many dream team points are made from simple possessions I would guess at least half, the better the backline, and midfield players in your team the more possession you will get.

    Picking the next gun you would first have to pick the 2011 top 4 teams, they will more than likely be Geelong, St Kilda, The doggies and Collingwood with Sydney and Freo being the outside chances and Essendon being the big improver this year.

    Possible Guns WBD Higgins, Cross,
    Geelong Joel Corey (Selwood, Chappy and Bartel are already guns)
    Freo Mundy unlikely, Palmer more likely than Mundy, but what will happen when Barlow returns?
    St Kilda I think they have enough and no one else will step up
    Collingwood Beams, Wellingham, Sidebottom, Krakouer
    Sydney Jack probably not Bolton maybe and Kennedy will be a big improver this season

    • Avatar


      March 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm

      good points!

      the only anomolies to the midfields rule are the super sluts like bowden, buckley, lake (to an extent now).. that person in the back half who gets the cheap mark and kick every time cause they are the go to man out of defence.

      maybe this is a thing of the past now with the zones?, it may be more viable to handball and run it through. Could zones be the death of the ‘quarterback’? hope not because Grimes needs it in my team!

      • Avatar


        March 2, 2011 at 8:39 pm

        I’m pretty sure zoning is what brought about the ‘quarterback’ in the first place. Teams need to be precise when passing through it, so they’ll need skillful ball users to get their hands on it in defence a fair bit.

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          March 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm

          i thought the geelongs of this world started hanballing through the zone , knights tried a pseudo copy but didnt work.

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        March 4, 2011 at 10:13 am

        And the odd superstar forward who takes heaps of marks and kicks heaps of goals, such as Riewoldt or maybe a Franklin or fit JB (in a semi-decent team). The only reason why Riewoldt didn’t average 110-115 last year, for eg, was because of his injury (indeed, if you take out his injury game and his first 2 back he averaged 110).

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      March 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Good to see someone else rates Cross. Only negative is he handballs way too much, but on the positive has only missed 2 games in last 3 seasons so is durable. 2010 improved his DT to 103.6, from 94 in 2009. Hoping for a similar improvement this year, but at $428G I’d be happy with 100.

      For a bit of humour in 2002, in 4 matches he averaged 14 with massive scores of 10, 2, 1 and 43.

    • Avatar

      Alex's All Stars

      March 3, 2011 at 1:21 am

      Great points there mate, one person you missed was Scott Pendlebury,

      I’m a big fan of watching him play, as his confidence grows his ability to kick over handpass will increase, I’m struggling to fit him in my side at the moment, but when the St Kilda / Dogs bye comes around he’ll be in my team for sure.

    • Avatar

      Sammy H

      March 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm

      Hahaha – Essendon big improver?

      Thanks for the laugh.

      Good to see nuffy’s like this are into DT. Their complete lack of knowledge ensures at least one muppet sitting below the rest of us.

      • Avatar


        March 4, 2011 at 11:18 am

        Essendon finished 14th Below them were Richmond and WCE which will not get above Essendon this season, above was Brisbane Melbourne Adelaide and Port, it’s not hard to improve on 14th and 7 wins especially with Brisbane looking like the worst team in the league.

        I didn’t say they would make the 8 or the 4 or win the grand final all i said was that will be the big improver’s this season because they have more potential to finish higher this season than Adelaide, Melbourne, Port, Brisbane, Richomnd and West Coast. We will see when the season finishes where they are on the ladder and if they finish above 14th you are wrong again.

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          March 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

          nuffy’s, muppet go back to school and cry to your teacher fuckwinkle.

  6. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Some possibles to discuss
    Midfield players sitting just under 100 (90 to 99) with their coming year:
    Year 5: B Gibbs, K Jack, T Boak
    Year 6: M Murphy, A Swallow, B Prismall, D Thomas, M Priddis
    Year 7: R Griffen
    Year 8: B Stanton, S Tuck, M Rischitelli, C Sylvia, L Ball, A Cooney

    • Avatar


      March 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      i think thomas and a.swallow will be the movers, maybe stanton too

      • Avatar


        March 4, 2011 at 10:24 am

        I reckon Sylvia’s a chance as well. If you take the games where he wasn’t running around on one foot last year, he averaged 112 (9 games – 7 over 100). His NAB scores have been crap, but that doesn’t always mean that much for the year ahead. Improvements from Scully and Trengove etc may hamper his score, however, which makes it a difficult call.

  7. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Marc Murphy:


    Could this be his year he’ll go BANG?

    • Avatar


      March 2, 2011 at 9:04 pm

      everything points to yes!

      did he play with a bit of an injury last year?

      • Avatar


        March 2, 2011 at 9:36 pm

        He was battling a hip injury he injured last pre-season and all I can say on Murphy at the moment is simply lock and load!!!!!!!!

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      Fatty McButterpants

      March 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Stanton, Gibbs, Murphy, Swallow, Prismall, Watson, Selwood, Gibbs, Beams – I would love to pick any of them but they have byes during the DT finals! Also already have Swan and Boyd so don’t want any more from those teams. AARGH! I’m thinking PRIDDIS:
      By far WC’s best mid last year, even though his averaged stagnated. He’s 26, has had a great PS, and will benefit from Cox being injury free and the progress (and addition) of a heap of talented young mids this year. He also has a big engine so may benefit from the new interchange rule.

      • Avatar

        Fatty McButterpants

        March 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm

        woops! meant to reply to STAN THE MAN.

      • Avatar


        March 3, 2011 at 11:04 am

        Pick them for the year, then upgrade to a mega gun (i.e. ablett) before the finals

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          Fatty McButterpants

          March 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm

          Thats a sideways trade. No thanks.

  8. Avatar

    I love Dream team

    March 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    kiren jack, big year? or is it hype

    also, best foward for around 350k

    • Avatar


      March 2, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Ive heard he will be tagging a bit this year ie Swan in Nab Cup. At your own risk…

    • Avatar


      March 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      I’m certain Jack’s average will improve. He was also a great tagger though too, so he could reprise that role, which is obviously bad for DT output, but he did notch an 100+ effort while tagging Chris Judd last year – so he can still find the pill while tagging. Gotta takes risks, I reckon he will reach premium status this year.

      Higgins or ROK probably the best Fwds at 350k, going for Higgins at this point, too many question around ROK fitness levels.

      • Avatar


        March 4, 2011 at 10:31 am

        ROK asked for tagging role ’cause that’s all he could do at the end of last year (due to injury) and Jack went BANG when set free. I reckon it’s likely that Jack will be back on tagging duties this year given that that’s what he did on the weekend. Might not get the big hundreds that people are expecting…

  9. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Interesting article, some good research. Pendles is an example, he started to kill it in his 3rd-5th year, and is now a star player.

  10. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Ben McGlynn is in his 6th year…problem is the last 5 have been within 77 and 86. So perhaps not the breakout type, but maybe with Longmire, a different gameplan can see him improve. Have him in my team since he will at least give me that consistent score, and if he doesnt improve will be a relatively cheap upgrade later.

    Agree with others that Thomas will be a mover, but already have Swan.

  11. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Swallow surely is ready to take the next step, i think even more likely if anthony plays the full year, with Harvey and Wells still attracting the attention

    As much as Collingwood don’t need getting better, Dale Thomas is heading into that territory too

    • Avatar


      March 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm

      Agreed… Swallow will be taking a huge load in the Kangas midfield this year (pun) and I reckon he will average around the 105-110 mark this year. With only 6 midfield spots its so hard to trust him with one of them when you really need to be guaranteeing an average of at least 110 almost to stay super competitive tho.

  12. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Goddard –
    1st 56
    2nd 59.7
    3rd 65.6
    4th 97
    5th 80* only played 7 games
    6th 89.9
    7th 103.7
    8th 113.4

    chik chik BOOM

  13. Avatar

    hirdys mancrush

    March 2, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Great article, valid point that it takes someone generally 5 years to become a dt star. I’m thinking Steele sidebottom will have a breakout year, Thomas will improve. Andrew swallow will be a unique premium who may score as well as the montagnas and abletts. I’m hoping Stanton can average 110 this year.

  14. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    i dont see why having two collingwood premiums in the midfield is such a bad thing… pretty much the same as having goddard a riewoldt… and with all the dpp’s available its not that hard to cover… am i missing something?

    • Avatar


      March 3, 2011 at 12:38 am

      It’s the fact that your going to have 1mill worth of value not scoring (if your thinking Swan & Pedle) when Collingwood have a bye in the one position. Ouch!

    • Avatar


      March 3, 2011 at 12:42 am

      Am thinking the same thing mate. Only thing with picking Collingwood players is that they have their first bye in round 7, which is directly after the 3 weeks with no DT league games being played because of the multi-byes, so that would suck to be missing 2 Collingwood premiums scores going into a league game if you went with say a Swan/Pendles combo to start..

      Personally, I’m strongly considering picking more players from the teams that are amongst the multi-bye weeks as this will only benefit your league win aspirations early.
      I think it’s Freo, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney that have both of their byes in these multiple-bye weeks, so stocking up on players from them would not do your chances any harm if you’re chasing league wins.
      I’m sure most are aware of this anyway.

      • Avatar


        March 3, 2011 at 12:59 am

        Picking more players from the teams that are amongst the multi-bye weeks is definately something to consider. However, is this becomes the goal, focussing on picking these multi bye week players, then you will overlook players that maybe better DTers that you would normally take.

        • Avatar


          March 3, 2011 at 1:25 am

          Yeah, probably should’ve said that something to that effect.
          It’s just another idea to get a leg up in your league standing, however I wouldn’t be recommending picking TOO many keepers perhaps from Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney.. Freo probably holds the best DT potential out of those 4.
          Though I think this logic could also apply to some of the other teams that share the multi-bye rounds, but still have a normal bye at some point.
          For example, the Dogs, Saints, Cats and Hawks I think all share a multi-bye week early on, so a couple from each of these wouldn’t be too bad, and these are probably more DT relevant teams anyway. Just need to be weary of their 2nd byes, that’s all.

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      March 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      DPP :)

  15. Avatar


    March 2, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Interesting article.
    I would be interested to see the overall statistical increase of our game in the same time as these players have “developed into guns”. Its a much higher possession game now, just a few years ago the top midfilders were barely cracking 100. I would argue that alot of the point average increases in these premium player is a reflection of the changing game – perhaps a result of the zone and the faster less contested game. Blokes like Swan, Ablett and Bartel have been league leaders even when they were averaging around maybe even less than 100.

    • Avatar


      March 3, 2011 at 2:05 am

      Very good point, 110 these days is what 100 was a few years ago

      • Avatar


        March 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm


  16. Avatar


    March 3, 2011 at 12:20 am

    outside of ablett. maybe swan and a few others might do yet how many actually have ever help super premium for more than a year? an article on when players drop off on average would be great as well.
    great article going to revise my mid back and midmid i think

  17. Avatar


    March 3, 2011 at 12:41 am

    I think the term “breakout” might be coming a bit clouded. My understanding of the term in DT language is when a players ave takes a big jump, say from 60 to 80 pts, and they are playing regularly in the team with great JS. I think that differs from a player becoming a premium. the latter would be much harder to predict IMO.

    • Avatar

      Magpie Mayhem

      March 3, 2011 at 8:26 am

      Absolutely spot on Shane_o……A breakout year IMO as well, is when A player jumps from boy points (40pts >60pts) to man points (65pts>85pts) becoming a premium takes what looks to be 5 or so years unless you are a freak……..

  18. Avatar


    March 3, 2011 at 11:10 am

    not just 3rd year rule…but what about 2nd year rule with scully, j.trengove (average high 70’s first season). Could they possibly improve more? Maybe Natanui in there too?

    And dayne beams? Im tempted to pick him because 3rd year rule, and because there are a long line of collingwood players to get tagged before he will? Sidebottom same thing.

    Can Dale Thomas improve again this season?

    Im liking the thought of marc murphy as a breakout this season though..

    • Avatar


      March 3, 2011 at 11:12 am

      Luke Shuey could pull some magic out this season too..

      • Avatar


        March 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm

        Nic No Stat A nui

  19. Avatar


    March 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    can boak break thru this year?

    has he got the support he needs around him?

  20. Avatar


    March 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Aren’t these 5 players the anomoly and the norm is for those who average around 90 to stay there for their career?

    • Avatar


      March 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

      Probably (Enright for eg). But I think the article implied that it was a matter of ‘if’, not ‘when’.

      • Avatar


        March 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm

        it is the norm thats why picking the super premium out of the pack could be so impotant

  21. Avatar


    March 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    i reckon sidebottom murphy a swallow will all have breakout years also i think hanneberry and dangerfield could be very reliable mid price picks this year

    • Avatar


      March 4, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      Swan, Boyd, Murphy, Swallow A, Swallow D or Swan, Murphy, Boyd, Stanton, D Swallow as I’m going with a strategy on breakout contenders.

  22. Avatar


    March 4, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Judd, K. Cornes or Stanton?

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