Darcy Fogarty 

The Crows forward is entering his fifth season at West Lakes, so far managing 41 games for a return of 50 goals across his young career.

2022 now firms as a season where the Glenelg product must take his game to new heights and rivalling the likes of Taylor Walker, Riley Tyhilthorpe and Elliott Himmelberg as Adelaide's premier key-forward.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 11: Darcy Fogarty of the Crows kicks on goal during the 2019 AFL round 21 match between the West Coast Eagles and the Adelaide Crows at Optus Stadium on August 11, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The Crows aren't expected to be contending for the premiership next year, but if they're on a trajectory that suggests September action is just around the corner, they will be wanting more from Fogarty across the next 12 months.


Cameron Rayner

The Lions' former Pick 1 is currently working his way back from an ACL injury sustained in March, which placed his entire 2021 campaign on the sidelines.

Now eyeing an early return next year, Rayner will be hoping to make a statement in his comeback in more ways than one.

Having mostly been utilised as a forward across his 63 career games, the 22-year-old will be hoping to break into the Lions' midfield ensemble and hold down steady minutes in the engine room.


Mitch McGovern 

The fallout of Liam Jones' retirement has placed plenty of attention on McGovern, who has shown capabilities to play at either end of the ground at AFL Level.

Unfortunately for the Blues, a majority of McGovern's best came during his time at Adelaide, with the swingman unable to reach the expectations originally thrust onto him in his arrival at Princes Park.

LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Mitch McGovern of the Blues celebrates after scoring a goal during the round 6 AFL match between Hawthorn and Carlton at University of Tasmania Stadium on April 28, 2019 in Launceston, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

With a hole opening up in defence, McGovern is primed for a make-or-break campaign in 2022 as the Blues eye a return to the top eight.


Callum Brown 

After playing 22 games in 2019, Brown has struggled to cement his place in the Magpies' best side despite the club's list only becoming younger amid their rebuild.

2022 will be the 23-year-old's sixth year at the Holden Centre and first under new coach Craig McRae, with first impressions set to be a major factor for those already on the fringe at Collingwood.

Given the club's recruitment of midfielders this off-season, Brown will need to prove his worth to the club in what is the final year of his current contract.


Dylan Shiel 

An injury-impacted 2021 campaign has seen Shiel's role under Ben Rutten come into question, with the likes of Darcy Parish, Zach Merrett, Andrew McGrath and Kyle Langford showing plenty of promise in the middle.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Dylan Shiel of the Bombers looks dejected after defeat during the round 6 AFL match between Essendon and Collingwood at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 25, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Whether Shiel can prove his place toward the top of the pecking order or pivot into a new role that suits the club's needs, the former Giants will be a key focus for Rutten's pre-season planning.


Michael Walters

A lacklustre campaign last year has placed the microscope on Walters place in Fremantle's system as they move toward a finals finish next year.

With the Dockers now having plenty of competition within their forward and midfield structures, Walters will need to cement his place in Justin Longmuir's best 22 early into the pre-season.

Averaged just the 13.94 disposals (lowest since 2014) and 0.88 goals (lowest since 2009) per game in 2021, highlighting the veteran's need for a solid next few months.


Gryan Miers

The 22-year-old took a step backwards in 2021 after a promising opening two years at Kardinia Park.

Miers booted just the 12 goals across his 15 appearances for the year, managing just one major across his three finals matches.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 12: Gryan Miers of the Cats celebrates a goal during the round eight AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Geelong Cats at Marvel Stadium on May 12, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

With Tyson Stengle joining the Cats this off-season, coupled with the favouritism of emerging small forward Brad Close, Miers will need to prove his value to Chris Scott this pre-season.

Gold Coast

Izak Rankine

Entering the final year of his contract with the Suns, there will be plenty of attention placed on the former No.3 Pick.

Having failed to piece together a consistent run of form across his 30 games in the gold and red, Rankine will be eyeing a strong pre-season showing ahead of a campaign that holds a high degree of expectations.

With the Suns also needing to see a significant lift in 2022, Rankine might be the catalyst to getting his club back on track.

Greater Western Sydney 

Stephen Coniglio 

The Giants skipper has faced a difficult past two seasons in the Harbour City, falling out of favour last year before having his 2021 campaign riddled with injury.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Giants coach Leon Cameron talks to Stephen Coniglio of the Giants during a Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL training session at the WestConnex Centre on September 24, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

With questions over his leadership credentials remaining persistent through the year, Coniglio will be looking to put a line through any doubts over his role as captain as the Giants plan for another finals campaign.


Chad Wingard

The Hawks have proven nothing is a guarantee at Waverley, with Wingard's name among four that were reportedly tossed up during the trade window.

Incoming coach Sam Mitchell will be wanting to see strong pre-seasons from his more senior figures, with a no-nonsense approach set to be implemented from the rookie coach.

With Wingard sure to be in the firing line despite a strong campaign last year, the exciting forward/midfielder will want to stamp his authority in the side early.


Sam Weideman 

Having missed selection in the premiership-winning side and inking a new contract with the Demons prior to the season's end, Sam Weideman will have plenty to prove next year.

With Ben Brown, Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch combining to make a formidable forward tandem, Weideman will be looking to break into Goodwin's best 22 early and cementing his place for the remainder of the season.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Sam Weideman of the Demons kicks the ball during the 2018 AFL Second Preliminary Final match between the West Coast Eagles and the Melbourne Demons at Optus Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Has shown the promise to be a key feature for the Demons, however consistency remains a major flaw for the Melbourne spearhead.

North Melbourne

Callum Coleman-Jones

Arriving at Arden Street in exchange for a decent package of picks and Robbie Tarrant to Richmond, the Kangaroos will be hoping Coleman-Jones can have an immediate impact at his new club.

Having flagged his desires to play ruck and potentially succeed veteran Todd Goldstein - along with aiding North Melbourne's attack - the Kangaroos will be quite reliant on the nine-gamer.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Callum Coleman-Jones of the Tigers celebrates with Jack Riewoldt and Hugo Ralphsmith of the Tigers after kicking a goal during the round 11 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Adelaide Crows at GIANTS Stadium on May 30, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

While he won't be the immediate answer, a strong start at a new club is sure to bode well for the highly-rated tall.

Port Adelaide

Todd Marshall 

Entering a contract year at Alberton Oval after five seasons with Port Adelaide, Marshall's position has come under threat given the Power's current key-forward stocks.

The acquisition of Jeremy Finlayson could push the 23-year-old out of Ken Hinkley's first-string forward line, with Charlie Dixon leading the charge and emerging star Mitch Georgiades surpassing Marshall in the club's pecking order.

To cement his place as a necessity to the Power's premiership contention, Marshall will need to prove his worth early into the new year.


Sydney Stack

The exciting defender hasn't had the smoothest of journeys across his three seasons at Punt Road, with 2022 a campaign that is sure to mount further pressure on Stack's future in the league.

With several holes opening up in Richmond's defence, the opportunity is there for the taking to see Stack return his the form that had him so highly rated in 2019.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Sydney Stack of the Tigers takes part during a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval on September 12, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Having overcome injuries and off-season setbacks, the coming months frame as a critical period for Stack's career.

St Kilda

Jack Billings 

The Saints perhaps have several names needing an impactful pre-season, but Billings stands as a critical component for the Saints' hopes of returning to September in 2022.

With St Kilda needing more names to step up in their engine room to do so, emphasis on sound preparations for the next season are paramount.

Having signed a contract extension to cement his future with the Saints, Billings' sights should now turn to locking down a permanent role in Brett Ratten's midfield ensemble and returning to his best brand of football.


Lewis Melican 

The Swans' highlighted weakness is their key defensive stocks, with Tom McCartin emerging as a viable option in defence that still needs assistance.

While Dane Rampe is able to show some cover, 2022 is the season that Melican needs to blossom into a reliable lock-down defender should the Swans want to be seen as a premiership threat.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 22: Leiws Melican of the Swans looks on during the round 18 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the St Kilda Saints at Sydney Cricket Ground on July 22, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Limited to just the six appearances this year, a vocal pre-season in the coach's eyes is a must for the 25-year-old.

West Coast 

Willie Rioli 

There's little that needs to be said on Rioli's journey back onto the AFL stage.

Having faced a well-documented ban over the past two years and succumbing to further setbacks in the latter half of this season, the premiership forward's sights will be firmly set on 2022.

Rioli won't walk straight back into Adam Simpson's best 22 however, with the flashy forward still needing to show his value and match fitness over the coming months.

Western Bulldogs 

Tim English 

2021 was a peculiar campaign for English, having originally been seen as the Bulldogs' leading ruckman to form the club's lethal midfield group.

The 24-year-old soon took a backseat to veteran ruckman Stefan Martin, and was placed across all lines of the ground in what was a contrasting season to recent years for English.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tim English (right) and Stefan Martin of the Bulldogs in action during the Western Bulldogs AFL training session at Whitten Oval on February 03, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

With next year likely being Martin's last and the final year of English' current deal, the Dogs tall will be hoping for a season of new heights in 2022.