The shock packets of AFL in 2022 — from Will Brodie and Paddy McCartin to Jai Newcombe and Patrick Lipinski

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The refreshing factor about footy is that it isn’t predictable.Groups — and gamers — can have type slumps, and sudden surges as nicely.The shock packetsClick the hyperlinks to navigate by means of the storyIt’s the how and the why, in addition to the who, that make a distinction.For instance, the truth that a match Patrick Cripps has received again to his good greatest this season just isn’t a shock.The truth that his Carlton teammate Matt Kennedy has gone from being virtually a fringe participant to driving the Blues’ resurgence and signing a brand new three-year deal undoubtedly is.So who’ve been those we did not predict to considerably increase their sport in 2022?That is removed from an exhaustive record, however learn on for a number of the actual surprises within the first half of the season.Will Brodie (Fremantle)Brodie was taken with the ninth choose within the 2016 AFL draft — one in all 4 top-10 picks for the Suns. Of these, simply two stay: Ben Ainsworth and Jack Bowes.Brodie was a promising midfielder, however he by no means may appear to carry his spot within the Suns’ line-up. Will Brodie’s means to get contested balls and hyperlink up with Jordan Clark, David Mundy and others places Freo’s opponents on the again foot.(Getty Photos: Paul Kane)He performed simply 25 video games in 5 seasons at Carrara earlier than being traded to the Dockers in a one-sided deal that favoured Fremantle.Coach Stuart Dew has mentioned it was a case of Gold Coast having a robust hand of inside mids with skipper Touk Miller, Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson.However the commerce appears much more lop-sided now that Brodie has been given a possibility on the Dockers and run with it — actually. If anybody had begun to query his high quality, they actually aren’t doing it now.LoadingThe new Freo quantity 17 is a contested-ball beast, averaging 13.50 contested possessions a sport and 6.83 clearances a sport. Each of these figures are greater than what Nat Fyfe averaged in his 15 video games final yr.Brodie has struck up a superb partnership with midfield colleagues like David Mundy, Andrew Brayshaw, to not point out operating defenders like Jordan Clark.A lot so, that when Fyfe was requested the place he would slot in when he returned to the senior crew this weekend after a lengthy damage lay-off, he indicated his function not less than initially can be largely within the ahead line as a result of the Freo midfield was gelling so properly.If Brodie can maintain going like this, he’ll unlock Fyfe to be a harmful presence up the bottom, and maintain the Dockers nicely within the combine for the highest two and past.Paddy McCartin (Sydney) Paddy McCartin’s calmness, bodily presence and intercept skills have been essential to the Swans’ rise this season.(Getty Photos/ AFL Photographs: Matt King)We knew Paddy McCartin may play AFL — we simply did not know if he may play AFL once more.A former number-one choose for St Kilda, his profession was derailed by repeated concussions, and he left the Saints to regather his life and his well being.LoadingFootball appeared a good distance away. Now the prize full-forward is again and thriving on the Sydney Swans. The opposite shock is his new function as a key defender for the Swans alongside his brother Tom.It has been an inconsistent season for Sydney, however key wins over Richmond and Melbourne have the Swans at 8-4, in no small half attributable to Paddy’s presence down again.He’s ranked eighth within the AFL for intercepts in 2022, he has proven composure within the again six for the Swans and he has the third-highest disposal effectivity on the crew with a tick underneath 82 per cent.He has maintained an enormous bodily presence regardless of his historical past of concussions — and his latest scare in opposition to Hawthorn.If he can keep on the park for the second half of the season he might be an enormous plus for the Swans’ defence.Tyson Stengle (Geelong) It isn’t simply Tyson Stengle’s goalkicking that’s benefiting Geelong this season, it is his tempo and evasiveness.(Getty Photos: Mark Kolbe)Tyson Stengle got here to Geelong on most likely his final probability within the AFL, after a chequered begin to his profession.LoadingHe had proven promise at VFL degree for Richmond, however by no means received the prospect to progress, then a commerce to the Crows led to 13 video games in two seasons earlier than a collection of off-field misdemeanours ended his time on the membership.Now on the Cats, Stengle has flourished in 2022. In a crew with two very potent key forwards, the 23-year-old has managed to carve out a harmful small-forward function that has him 14th within the Coleman medal with 23 objectives.He’s additionally simply exterior the highest 10 within the AFL for general rating involvements with 78, alongside the likes of Sydney’s hazard pair: Luke Parker and Chad Warner.His velocity, evasiveness and talent to get to the drop of the soccer plus his purpose sense makes him a helpful add for a Geelong crew set for one other severe problem for the flag within the again half of the yr.Jai Newcombe (Hawthorn)Jai Newcombe didn’t make a big impact in his first season at Hawthorn, selecting up restricted time on floor and enjoying seven video games in a crew towards the foot of the ladder. Jai Newcombe has solely performed 18 video games within the AFL, however the big-bodied Hawk is already proving arduous to cease.(Getty Photos / AFL Photographs: Dylan Burns)Some enchancment might need been anticipated for his first full season. What has occurred since, had not.LoadingWith half of the season within the books, Newcombe is the favorite for the Rising Star, and he’s an enormous motive why the Hawks — who have been tipped by many to get the picket spoon — are proving tough opponents in 2022.Newcombe’s bodily and energetic performances have been each spectacular and enjoyable to look at for Hawk followers and neutrals alike.The Hawks could also be in rebuild mode underneath new coach Sam Mitchell, however it’s not anticipated {that a} 20-year-old is main or prime three in his crew in so many classes.The truth is, he’s within the prime 20 within the AFL in three areas — tackles, turnovers and metres gained.Of the 14 gamers forward of him within the metres gained stat, the common variety of video games performed is 136.9.This weekend, Newcombe will run out for the Hawks in opposition to the Dockers to play sport 19 in a profession that’s taking off by the week.Patrick Lipinski (Collingwood) Magpies recruit Patrick Lipinski has grow to be a harmful participant, creating turnovers and racking up rating involvements.(AAP: Rob Prezioso)The rise and rise of a sure blond-haired ahead might have made extra headlines at Collingwood in 2022, however there’s a extra quiet achiever who’s changing into a shock key participant within the sixth season of his profession.LoadingPatrick Lipinski spent 5 seasons on the Western Bulldogs together with his function and video games diminishing to the purpose the place he requested a commerce to the Magpies on the finish of 2021.He had proven glimpses on the Canines, however in a crew with a star-studded midfield, his prospects to be an every-game participant have been slim.Lipinski had a brand new begin on the Pies, and he has confirmed a gun recruit, completely matched to the extra attacking, dynamic sport model of latest coach Craig McRae.Lipinski’s numbers are all heading up, however the keys to his play are as a forcer of turnovers, averaging 5 a sport, and driving the Magpies’ assault with 5.98 rating involvements a sport, second solely to Jordan de Goey.He has been simply what the physician ordered for the Magpies — and Collingwood has been simply what Lipinski wanted to kick-start his profession.Matt Kennedy (Carlton) Matt Kennedy has been one of many drivers of Carlton’s success in 2022.(Getty Photos: Robert Cianflone)This has been an thrilling yr for the Blues, with numerous components within the crew’s enchancment from the arrival of coach Michael Voss down.The main target earlier than the season began was on new midfield recruits Adam Cerra from Fremantle and George Hewett from the Swans.However the shock of the season has been somebody who was already on the record: Matt Kennedy.The previous Big had performed 42 video games for Carlton in 4 seasons, was enjoying on year-to-year contracts and was seen as on the outer.This yr, nonetheless, has been a real breakout season for the Blues’ quantity seven, beginning together with his dominant efficiency in opposition to Richmond in spherical one — 33 disposals, eight clearances and 14 contested possessions.He’s averaging 11 clearances a sport, up from seven final season. He additionally ranks sixteenth within the league for rating involvements, with seven a sport.The mark of Kennedy’s affect on the crew this season can be proven by the actual fact he has missed solely two video games this season — the Blues misplaced each, to Fremantle in spherical six and to Collingwood on the MCG a fortnight in the past. If he can keep match, Carlton will certainly profit from having Kennedy within the center within the run residence.

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