In the fourth edition of Kick360’s ‘Breakthrough Stars’ series we continue our exploration of each club’s ‘young guns’ set to potentially break into the first team ahead of the upcoming season.
Each season brings new players up from the academy’s who take the league by storm. We expect more of the same in the 2021/22 season with an exciting group of new players coming through that stand out as potential crowd favourites.
This week takes a look at Macarthur Bulls
It was a solid showing from the league’s newcomers rounding taking the last spot into finals slotting into sixth place and falling at the semi-final to Melbourne City. This mid-table form was supported with a 42% win rate in the regular season.
Following on from this solid beginning to the club’s A-league debut season the focus will be upon building upon the foundations laid. With their main problem being their goalscoring, finding the back of the net 33 times, the fourth worst in the competition.
With a number of signings coming in to plug that gap and no real defensive frailty of note, it falls to build upon the midfield to develop and contribute on either end of the pitch.
Following the departures of Denis Genreau, Beñat, Susaeta and Puyo, space for a regular spot in midfield is available to be claimed. The Bulls will need an all round player capable of playing strong in defence as well as contributing to attacking moves.
Averaging just over 50% possession per game last season, the Bulls will need to replace the composure and vision of the departees to replace 15 goal contributions. And this is where we see the chance for a young Bull to make his breakthrough.
Breakout Star: Jake Hollman
While 20 year-old Hollman did begin his A-league Career last season playing in 17 matches, he started just three and got a total of 493 minutes. This season, Kick360 believes Hollman is set to cement himself in the side.
Having impressed the coaching staff at the start of the season, Hollman was rewarded with a two year contract extension in February. Having already had a season to settle into the rhythm of professional football, it takes little imagination to see him come on leaps and bounds in the season ahead.
Having learnt from the experienced players in the squad, Hollman’s composure and ability on the ball has already been evident, registering a 78% pass completion rate primarily trying to make passes forward.
With a pass completion rate of 76% in the opposition half and three assists to his name, it can be expected that following the abundance of attacking talent Macarthur now possesses, Hollman will begin to find assists with more regularity.
Jake Hollman is also a tricky dribbler, able to drive forward with the ball and subsequently has been fouled eight times, including on the edge of the area teeing up for dangerous free kicks.
A tenacious midfielder, Hollman fights hard to contest the ball across the pitch, registering just over a 50% tackle success rate. This effort is one that coaches love to see and will be a good asset to stabilise the midfield with consistency.
Hollman is yet to register his first goal in professional football, spending most of his time for the Bulls in the attacking midfield role, but with 11 shots total including five blocked, it is a matter of time before he will find the net.
Can Hollman take the Bulls to the next level?
An all round midfielder capable of immense linkup play, dribbling prowess and a player who works hard out of possession can only be a good thing for the club seeking to improve on a solid season.
With attacking talent in depth it is almost certain to witness Hollman spend his time in midfield to develop attacks and protect against the counter.
This season will likely be the breakthrough for Jake Hollman as he eyes selection for the next olympics and will seek to replace the hole left by Denis Genreau.
As such, his passing ability will be on show, with experienced goalscorers like Davila, Ruhs and Juric ahead of him, Hollman will make his mark as a creative presence, chipping in with goal contributions deeper in the field rather than being a scorer himself.
With an immense competitive mentality and desire for self-improvement, it will be a big season ahead for Jake Hollman that could see him push for selection in the Olyroos and assert himself as a Macarthur favourite.