Generation 'Next' making a name for themselves up forward
SOME young players can feel cursed after being "touted". Others thrive, like it's water off a duck's back.
Who could forget one young "Duck" strutting around the Gabba in a Brisbane Lions jumper after being crowned the heir apparent to the King himself, the Duck, Wayne Carey?
The similarities were obvious - a pack-crashing centre-half forward who kicked clutch goals.
Jonathan Brown eventually became ... well, the first Jonathan Brown, who's in turn been on the other end of a comparison, with both the GWS Giants' Jonathan Patton and fellow Lion Michael Close being touted "the next" Jonathan Brown.
Neither is yet to live up to expectations, suffering three knee reconstructions between them, but time remains on their side.
Others haven't been so lucky.
The fleet-footed Cameron Faulkner was touted as the next Andrew McLeod when drafted by the Bulldogs in 2002. He would fall 322 games short of the two-time Norm Smith Medallist's career tally.
Athletic key forward Spencer White had a lot to live up to when he was touted as the next Lance Franklin after arriving at St Kilda in 2013. He would be thrown on the scrapheap after kicking four goals (in two games) - just a little short of Buddy's 718 ... and counting.
Then there was Geelong forward Clint Bizzell, who never really stood a chance after being touted as the next Gary Ablett, though he did carve out a decent career - 163 games - when he ditched the hoops and reinvented himself as a defender at Melbourne.
Of course, there'll only ever be one "next Gary Ablett" anyway. You know, the guy at the Suns. But bustling Bulldog Jake Stringer is certainly making a good fist of carrying the tag due to the danger he presents when he's in the forward 50m, those snaps a feature. He's now even getting called "Dog", not because he is one but because it's "God" spelt backwards.
At Essendon, the next Paul Salmon, Joe Daniher, is coming into his own as another gangly 200cm-plus marking target, just like "Fish", who once said "I am not sure it is flattering for him to get compared to me, but I understand why it happens".
Young Hawk hero James Sicily appears to be lapping up being the next Dermott Brereton, though teammates such as Sam Mitchell are trying to keep his feet on the ground after his three last-quarter goals against the Bulldogs.
"He always walks around a little bit like that, but that's where footy clubs are really great places," Mitchell said.
"As soon as you get one foot further in front of yourself than where it should be, a footy club is a really good place to bring you back down to earth."
Gold Coast forward Tom Lynch was touted as the next Nick Riewoldt before he was drafted by the Suns in 2010.
His then Dandenong Stingrays coach Graeme Yeats said the similarities between their pair were uncanny ... "in size, in stature and he's even got the same blond hair".
"He's probably not as good looking as Nick Riewoldt, but you really see it. Like Riewoldt, he just runs his opponents into the ground and they just get that leverage from their workrate."
Leading the competition for goals (13) and marks inside-50m (14), the 22-year-old captain-in-waiting is becoming one hell of a Tom Lynch ... even if he is actually "the next Tom Lynch" after his older namesake at Adelaide.