Whilst “Australia’s Game” has many talented and unbelievably skilful athletes, there are always a few players each season who fail to live up to their expectations as a professional player and here at SportingHQ, we have created a list of this season’s most disappointing players.
10: Kade Kolodjashnij
After a brilliant start to his career in the AFL system, Kolodjashnij dropped off significantly in a disappointing 2016 for the Gold Coast Suns. As a rebounding defender, Kolodjashnij was intended to be a key part of the Suns game plan, however, he struggled to gather possessions and when he did, he wasn’t able to use the ball effectively, which resulted in turnover goals for his opposition. Kolodjashnij suffered stomach problems early in the season which resulted in him being hospitalised several times. Kade is scheduled in to have surgery to fix the problem this off-season which, for the Suns sake hopefully returns him back to the form of 2014/2015.
9: Mark Blicavs
Even though the former steeplechaser has played every game for Geelong in 2016, it is evident that he has been a disappointment to Cats fans, with many believing his time would be better spent in the reserves. With the arrival of both Dangerfield in midfield and Zac Smith in the ruck, Blicavs has clearly struggled throughout the season to maintain a solid performance and has been forced to play a run-with role at times as well, which isn’t his preferred role, and his performances has suffered as a result. His hitouts per game reduced massively with the arrival of a new ruckman and his kicks and disposals dropped with the arrival of a new midfielder and a change in roles. The 2015 Geelong best and fairest winner now looks unlikely to not make the top 8 in the Cat’s 2016 B & F.
8: Jake Stringer
Whilst “The Package” is a cult-figure amongst AFL fans, season 2016 has not served the normally dangerous forward well. From 56 goals in 2015 to 37 this season heading into finals, Stringer has struggled to conjure his trademark brilliance for the Bulldogs and is failing to execute the basic skills of a footballer, which has resulted in his omission from the first team to the reserves, with his spot for finals in contention. Whilst Stringer has all the tricks in the book, he fades in an out of games too often and only scored multiples on 9 occasions this season, down from 15 in 2015. Time will tell whether or not Stringer can reclaim his spot in time for finals.
7: David Mundy
Even though the Dockers midfield have dearly missed Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe in 2016, David Mundy was expected to stand up as captain, however, much like the rest of his team, he failed dismally. In his first season of captaincy, there was a heap of pressure on Mundy’s soldiers to inspire and lead Freo from the front, however injury as well as a lack of natural leadership has resulted in a significant drop in form this season. Mundy recorded a drop in disposals, tackles and marks in comparison to 2015 and now Mundy’s and a host of other players’ futures are unclear. Change is in the air in WA.
6: Joe Daniher
Joe Daniher’s woes in front of goal have sadly continued for Essendon in 2016. Daniher kicked on average in 2016, 1.4 behinds a game, if he had converted half of the 32 points he kicked, he would have scored almost 60 goals, which would have been a very welcome return for a team enduring as much hardship as Essendon have done in 2016. Many AFL fans tipped 2016 to be a year of change for Daniher, but alas, Joe wasn’t able to step up to the plate and Bombers fans are still left expecting more from their key forward.
5: Bradley Hill
The Hawthorn speedster has been an integral part of their premiership-winning sides, however, in 2016, Hill looked out of sorts, averaging just 17 disposals per game, his worst since 2013. Whilst Hill’s run and carry is very valuable to the Hawks and their finals ambitions, Hill has fallen from 4th in score assists in 2015, down to 65th in 2016, so perhaps it would be in Alistair Clarkson’s best interests to sound a warning and drop him to the VFL in the hope he can regain his form.
4: Jack Redden
A massively hyped recruit that many Eagles fans hoped would be a key component of their midfield. Unfortunately for West Coast, Redden didn’t live up to his hype in 2016, and has not featured for the Eagles since round 18. Redden has massive drops across the board in kicks, handballs, disposals, marks and tackles, highlighting his struggles in adapting to the Eagles’ game style. Whilst he is still only 26 years of age, Redden will be aiming to avoid seasons like this if he hopes to fulfil West Coast’s expectations, or he could be on the move again.
3: Hamish Hartlett
At the beginning of the season, Hartlett was granted the vice-captaincy and signed a 5-year contract extension, with the Power clearly seeing him as a key component of their future. Unfortunately, all of his promise in pre-season quickly disappeared and Hartlett’s output in 2016 was one of his worst of his career, with a career-low average of just 10.3 kicks per game, as well as considerable drops in disposals, marks and tackles. Whilst Hartlett was playing a more supressed role at half-back, it is clear that he has struggled throughout 2016 and it is no surprise that, due to his poor performance – and perhaps other factors – Hartlett is on the trade block heading into the off-season.
2: Ivan Maric
Unfortunately, 2016 has been a year to forget for Richmond fans, and almost every Tigers’ player could be named on this list, and Ivan Maric could be the biggest disappointment of the lot. After a very positive few years at Tigers since his trade from Adelaide, Maric struggled with injury at the beginning of 2016 and never gathered enough form to mount a comeback. After only playing 3 games in 2016, his last in round 15, and going from 6th in total hitouts in 2015, Maric looks set to be at the end of his time at the Tigers, whether it be through free-agency or retirement.
1: Travis Cloke
They say fine wine gets better with age, unfortunately, Travis Cloke does not. The 2010 Premiership winner has suffered a massive fall from grace in 2016 and is looking to force a move away from Collingwood in the off-season. Not only has Cloke struggled to find form in the AFL, his goal-kicking woes continued into the VFL in 2016, where he managed to miss from the goal square. Cloke clearly has a confidence issue and until he manages to string a few goals together in any form of the game, we may never see Travis Cloke kick a bag ever again.