New teams, new coaches, new shoulders – these are the AFL stars ready to resurface in 2024


Let’s take a dive into the AFL players poised to soar to new heights in 2024, despite their current under-performance. An exciting resurgence is on the cards as fresh perspectives breathe new life into the pursuit of the ultimate footballing success.

Gold Coast Suns – Matt Rowell

Following Matt Rowell’s impressive performance in the first five rounds of his AFL career, it appeared we had discovered a rising star who would shape the league’s future for years to come. With an impressive 9 Brownlow medal votes from just four full games, his impact on the league cannot be understated.

Unfortunately, his impressive streak came to an abrupt end when he suffered a dislocated shoulder and made the decision to undergo surgery. Since then, it’s safe to say that he has not been able to replicate his previous success.

Matthew Rowell of the Suns celebrates a goal (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

2024 will bring a fresh viewpoint to his endeavours. Damian Hardwick is known for his tough, ‘in and under’ style which he is sure to bring into a Gold Coast Suns side in his first year as Senior Coach.

This particular brand of football aligns perfectly with Rowell’s desired playing style, allowing him to elevate his ability to compete in challenging situations. His work may often go unnoticed, overshadowed by the elegant play of Touk Miller and Noah Anderson as they expertly carry the ball away from the contest.

This could be the year when Rowell establishes his dominance in the competition.

Hawthorn Hawks – Jack Ginnivan

Given Tyler Brockman’s departure, it appears highly likely Jack Ginnivan will secure a spot in the Hawks’ twenty-two.

Jack’s performance at the senior level in 2023 was marked by a lack of consistency. The Ginnivan way seems to be perfectly aligned with Sam Mitchell’s style of play, characterised by a fast-paced, hard-fought game with a focus on contested ball and relentless effort.

By moving up in the pecking order, Ginnivan will have the opportunity to establish himself in the AFL and be appreciated by a young and developing team. Without Norm Smith Medallist Ian “Bobby” Hill, it will allow him to showcase his skills consistently and effectively.

In the upcoming season there is great anticipation surrounding Ginnivan’s performance for the Hawks. As they strive to ascend the ladder, he undoubtedly holds a crucial position in driving their progress.

Hawthorn recruit Jack Ginnivan is already impressing his new teammates on the track. The premiership Pie kick-started life at Waverley Park today, with high hopes. @laura_spurway @7AFL #7NEWS

— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) November 20, 2023

Western Bulldogs – James Harmes

By the conclusion of the 2023 season, James Harmes discovered himself on the outskirts of a formidable Demons team that was vying for premiership glory. The options for the powerful backman were becoming limited.

With a clean slate and a fresh opportunity, Harmes appears poised to establish himself as a regular in the Bulldogs team. Particularly with the unfortunate news of Bailey Smith’s ACL injury it seems that Harmes is destined to claim a spot in the side. Harmes has joined the Dogs with a burning desire to make a statement, after only playing nine senior level games in 2023.

Under coach Luke Beveridge’s dogged style of play, I believe Harmes has made a strong case to rise back to strong form and impact to a Western Bulldogs side that desperately needs it.

Sydney Swans – Brodie Grundy

There will be a notable decrease in pressure for Brodie Grundy after moving up to New South Wales. The football scene in Melbourne has finally eased up, allowing him to fully focus on honing his skills in an environment conducive to personal development.

A rare positive moment for Brodie Grundy during his time with Melbourne. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Sydney coach John Longmire has been eagerly awaiting an elite addition to his team’s rucking department, and his desire has finally been granted. It appears Grundy is poised to secure a permanent spot on the team roster for the duration of his contract.

Legendary ruckman Dean Cox has described his preseason as “unbelievable,” highlighting the strong bond he is forming with the young midfield group, which is complemented by the presence of experienced players like Luke Parker and Taylor Adams. His wealth of knowledge and expertise will prove to be an invaluable asset for a team striving to excel in the crucial stages of September.

While it may be unlikely for Grundy to replicate the success of his All-Australian campaigns, even coming close to that level would undoubtedly provide the Swans with a formidable ruckman, potentially one of the finest in the league.

It does seem to be a common thread of players under a new set of eyes. Coaches who prioritise their strengths within their system. At times, players can benefit greatly from a new voice and perspective, which can help them reach new heights in their performances.

Keep an eye out in 2024 as some long-forgotten stars of the competition make a comeback.

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