2024’s Most Disappointing

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Sometimes, things don’t turn out as planned. Recruits join a team and fail to fire, or a player is expected to continue at a level we’ve become accustomed to, and it just doesn’t happen. Stars fall, age catches up with others, and highly-touted players fail to live up to potential.

And supporters… we get a little disappointed.

We’ve all been there. Disappointment is a staple in many of our lives… and in some cases, our partners’ eyes. No names, but a few of my fellow writers… apparently pretty disappointing in the sack, I’ve heard.

So, with that, let’s jump into some of (and I know you’ll have some of your own to add) the most disappointing players of the 2024 season.



There has been a shortage of John Denver at the Gabba this season. Just ten times, including five in one game against the Tigers, has ‘Country Roads” echoed around the Lions’ home ground.

At the same time last season, Charlie had 34 goals on the board. This year, he sits at 19 after 14 rounds. After a five-year reign as the best small-forward in the game, resulting in two All-Australian selections, Charlie is now looking as though he has fallen back to the pack.

Is his form indicative of the Lions this season? Or are the Lions struggling because Charlie has been unable to find his range?

Many are saying that the Lions may be turning the corner. If that is the case, maybe we see an uptick in production from Cameron over the next month.



I don’t think Father Time has ever lost. In the end, he gets us all. Even Tom Hawkins.

The big fella burst out of the gates in the first three weeks, with two bags of four goals, and it looked like we were going to see another season of this man-mountain dominating out of the goal square.

But things have been very quiet, since.

We’ve seen milestones galore for Hawkins, but little in the way of production.

In the last eight games, Hawkins has managed just six goals, including a run of four-straight games where he was held goalless. The last time that occurred was… never.

I’m hoping for a resurgence as September starts to loom.



I’m not sure what Carlton were expecting when they took a punt on Fantasia after a less than glorious run with the Power. Actually, his start with Port Adelaide was pretty damn good, I have to admit, but once that honeymoon period ended, things rocketed downhill.

I heard a few people mention that Raz was the type of player that could bob up at some point and kick four or five, but he has looked more like the type of player that can manage four or five kicks, and that’s about it.

With two goals from 10 games, Fantasia has likely squandered a golden opportunity to be THE small forward on a contending team. He hasn’t looked overly fit, has continued to look like he doesn’t exactly love contact, and has not hit the scoreboard.

Perhaps people had low expectations to begin with? He may not have even met those.



Last week, Kieran Strachan was torn apart by Brodie Grundy, who went on to register 31 touches, 49 hit outs, 24 contested possessions, and nine clearances.

And sitting, watching the action, was Reilly O’Brien – the man who has been the Crows’ number one ruck option for the last five and a half seasons.

Seeing Strachan being trounced adds another layer to where O’Brien is at. At 28, he should have plenty left in the tank – good rucks play well into their 30s, but he has fallen out of favour at Adelaide and right now, may even be looking at options elsewhere.

I can’t blame him.




I’m sure I’ll be told it is, but hear me out.

He was pick five in the 2020 draft and looked at as one of the best talents in the country. And four years later, he is now averaging below ten disposals per game, often used as the substitute, and appears to be going backwards.

In just one of his last six games, Campbell has managed double-figures in disposals. This is a player with a lethal left boot, but he is not able to use it.

In his defence, the Swans are the toughest team to break into in the league, and they do have a habit of making young stars earn their place, but if I’d told you four years ago that Campbell would be struggling to find a place in the side in 2024, what would you think?

With Errol Gulden tearing games to pieces, and Chad Warner, taken a year before Campbell, establishing himself as a star in his own right, I am starting to wonder whether we’ll get to see him get the opportunity we thought he would.

And I am starting to winder whether we’ll see him reach out and take it.



I was thrilled to see him back in blue and red early in the season, after a tumultuous 2023 pre-season.

However, what we’ve seen from Oliver to this point of the season has paled in comparison to what we’re used to.

He suffered a finger injury early in the year and impacted his ability to be clean with the footy, but even after time off, the biggest difference in his game has been the way he contests the footy. Oliver’s bread and butter has been contested possessions and his ability to extract the footy. He has been down in both – substantially.

He is -3.35 on his 2023 numbers, and they were down on his 2022 numbers. Oliver was a contested beast, with over 17 per game in 2021/22. Now, he is sitting at 11.15.

In terms of clearances, he is flirting with career-low numbers, falling to 4.69 per game (his lowest is 4.15 in his rookie season). He is -2.24 on his 2023 numbers, and -3.94 on his 2022 efforts.

I genuinely don’t think we see Clarrie back to his best until next season. He looks like he needs a solid pre-season to get back to where he was. And that will be something Demons fans can look forward to.



When you talk a big game, you’ve gotta back it up.

I was expecting both Josh Rachele and Izak Rankine to make significant steps in 2024, and whilst I am completely comfortable giving Rankine a pass as he dealt with a torn hammy, I’m not so forgiving with Rachele.

In between telling crowds to shush, and yapping on whatever media platform he could find, Rachele had a game where the spotlight centred on him. And he shrunk in it. Not once, but twice.

And the spotlight got brighter.

Rachele has made some inroads this season – 17 goals in 14 games is a decent return, but the impact has not been there. Both he and Rankine should be changing games, but only one has.



In 2022, it appeared as though the penny had finally dropped for Todd Marshall. At 2.14 goals per game, he had finally started clunking marks (a career high 1.33 contested marks per game) he genuinely seemed as though he was the future of the Port forward line.

Aaaand then… he went backwards.

Marshall is now averaging 0.69 contested marks per game, and I reckon it’s time we stop expecting him to be something he’s not. The problem is that Charlie Dixon is on his last legs, and as much as I like Mitch Georgiades, he will be up and down for a while on his road back from his ACL injury. The Power needed Marshall to stand up.

And instead, he has stepped aside.



I had a smile the other day when I heard King labelled as “Forty Winks” due to him going to sleep for periods in games. Things like that tend to stick, unless a player takes steps to change them.

Max King should be dominating games at AFL level by now. He has every single tool you’d want as a key forward (although he is still a bit skinny, huh?)

He’s kicked 19 goals in 2024, whilst his brother has managed double that number this season. They’re bloody twins! One is not twice as good as the other!

I am sure some will blame the coaching style of Ross Lyon, or lament the lack of opportunities he gets, but what I see is someone who could be great, but just isn’t.

If footy were the Academy Awards, Max King would be happy just being nominated. And Ricky Gervais would be right in blasting him.



I had high hopes for Ladhams. I’m not joking – I reckon he has enormous talent, and was thinking he’d thrive as part of a one-two punch with Brodie Grundy that would allow him to spend more time forward.

Alas, this has not come to pass.

He has not got on the park for the Swans at all in 2024, with Joel Amartey and Hayden McLean holding down the key forward positions and pinch hitting in the ruck. And then there’s Logan McDonald up forward, as well. Ladhams has spent his time in the VFL, playing seven games, and despite some recent good numbers, does not look like he’ll be a factor in the 2024 Swans season, unless something goes awry.


I have another dozen that made the shortlist, but I’ll leave them for you to add. Let me know who else has disappointed you in 2024.


As always, massive thanks to those who support this work. It is a labour of love for me, and having you guys as members of the site basically keeps me going. So sincerely… thank you – HB


Like this content? You could buy me a coffee – I do like coffee, but there is no guarantee I won’t use it to buy a doughnut… I like them more. And I am not brought to you by Sportsbet or Ladbrokes… or Bet365, or any of them.