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Who's the next Gawn, Grundy or Dusty? AFL's talent guru names top 40 draft prospects and compares them to current stars

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15th November, 2023
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AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan has revealed his top 40 prospects ahead of this month’s AFL Draft.

Sheehan’s picks were announced in a press release by the AFL on Thursday. The 2023 draft will be held on November 20 and 21 with the rookie draft to follow a day later.

Sheehan has profiled all 129 players who attended the 2023 AFL Draft Combine or 2023 AFL State Draft Combine last month. His full list can be found at the AFL Draft Hub.

CLICK HERE for a seven-day free trial to watch the AFL on Kayo Sports.

KEVIN SHEEHAN’S TOP 40 PROSPECTS: VIA THE AFL

Kynan Brown
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Oakleigh Chargers
Community Club: Blackburn
Date of Birth: 13/01/05
Height: 181cm

Left-footed inside midfielder who has quick hands, sharp vision and creates play through the middle of the ground with his creativity. Had a remarkably consistent year which included starring for Victoria Metro in the National Championships averaging 22.8 disposals at 80 percent efficiency as well as 4.5 clearances and 4.8 tackles to win their best and fairest award. Had similar numbers with the Oakleigh Chargers in the Coates Talent League including kicking five goals and having 25 disposals in a best on ground performance in the Wildcard Round win against the Northern Knights. Tested very well at the state Draft Combine in Victoria with his 6:12 on the 2km time trial and 3.04 seconds for the 20m sprint rounding off a productive season. Is eligible to be selected under the father-son rule as the son of former Melbourne utility Nathan D Brown, who played 146 games for the Demons.
Weapon: Footy IQ and ball-winning ability
AFL player comparison: Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans)

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Nate Caddy
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Northern Knights
Community Club: Yarrambat
Date of Birth:14/07/05
Height: 193cm

A pack marking forward with a vice-like grip overhead who has a real physical presence with his impact inside 50. Has also shown he can provide a lift for his team with his ability to win the contested ball as a midfielder when the occasion arises. Had an outstanding year with the Northern Knights averaging 16.3 disposals and 6.2 marks across nine matches to earn selection in the Coates Talent League Team of the Year. Kicked 39 goals across all matches in the talent pathway this year, which included games for Victoria Metro and the Australia under-18 team. Tested extremely well at the national Draft Combine with results of 3.02 seconds on the 20m sprint along with 6:35 for the 2km time trial indications of his athletic prowess. Is the nephew of two-time Richmond premiership star Josh Caddy.
Weapon: Contested marking and goalkicking
AFL player comparison: Taylor Walker (Adelaide Crows)

Caiden Cleary
State: NSW-ACT
State League Club: Sydney Swans Academy
Community Club: Sydney University
Date of Birth: 05/03/05
Height: 182cm

An in-and-under player who extracts the ball well from stoppages. His ferocious attack on the ball and his opponent helped set the tone for the Allies to dominate the midfield battle throughout the National Championships and he was rewarded with All Australian honours. Averaged 29.2 disposals, 11.2 contested possessions and a team-high 6.8 tackles across four matches for the Allies and showed excellent repeat speed and courage as well as clean hands playing both on the inside and outside. His 6:06 effort in the 2km time trial at the national Draft Combine showcased his elite endurance. He has been part of the Sydney Swans’ Academy since the under-10s.
Weapon: Contested ball-winning ability
AFL player comparison: Tim Taranto (Richmond)

Lance Collard
State: Western Australia
State League Club: Subiaco
Community Club: North Beach
Date of Birth: 26/03/05
Height: 180cm

Small forward who is extremely dangerous around goals. Booted 39 goals in 16 matches in Western Australia’s pathway this year where he played predominantly at Colts level. Also represented his state in three games at the National Championships which gave him a taste of playing against the nation’s best. He then highlighted his potential by kicking five-goal bags in three of the final five games of the WAFL Colts season. Showcased his athletic prowess at the national Draft Combine where he produced the quickest time on the agility test (8.16 seconds) and a top ten finish on the 20m sprint (2.92 seconds). Is a member of the West Coast Eagles’ Next Generation Academy meaning they can match any bid after selection 40 in this year’s Draft.

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Weapon: Speed and innate goal sense
AFL player comparison: Charlie Cameron (Brisbane Lions)

Jordan Croft
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Calder Cannons
Community Club: Maribyrnong Park
Date of Birth: 12/05/05
Height: 200cm

A tall forward who is lightly built but extremely athletic. He uses his mobility and height to create opportunities as a marking forward, with his speed and precise kicking key features of his game. He only fully focused on a potential AFL career last year after previously playing volleyball. Starred with the Calder Cannons and Victoria Metro this year kicking 33 goals in the talent pathway. His 2km time of 6:05 at the national Draft Combine was a strong indicator of his elite endurance but also his competitiveness for a player of his size. Is eligible to join the Western Bulldogs under the father-son rule as the son of former Bulldogs utility Matthew Croft, who played 186 games for the club.
Weapon: Aerial ability
AFL player comparison: Max King (St Kilda)

Daniel Curtin
State: Western Australia
State League Club: Claremont
Community Club: West Coast
Date of Birth: 08/03/05
Height: 197cm

A left-footed defender who experienced a frustrating run with injury during the 2022 season. Managed to get back to play in the AFL Futures game at the MCG on AFL Grand Final day and excelled for Team Houli with 22 disposals and nine marks to claim best on the ground honours. Continued that form into this season and was outstanding for Western Australia at the National Championships winning his team’s MVP award and All-Australian honours after averaging 23.5 disposals and 6.5 marks playing as a defender and midfielder. Played a handful of senior games for Claremont and ended the season being one of his team’s best in a premiership win at under-18 level. His agility, speed for his size and precise kicking are all features of his game.

Weapon: Intercept ability and precise ball use
AFL player comparison: Steven May (Melbourne)

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Harry DeMattia
Pronunciation: De-matt-e-ya
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Dandenong Stingrays
Community Club: Edithvale-Aspendale
Date of Birth: 11/09/05
Height: 185cm

A midfielder/forward with a combination of speed and endurance which enables him to cover the ground and compete in the air and at ground level. A left footer, he brings real pressure with his ability to lay run down tackles against the flow of play. Shared the role of Victoria Country co-captain with Harley Reid and performed consistently. Had an exciting year with the Dandenong Stingrays averaging 19 disposals and 4.8 tackles to earn selection in the Coates Talent League Team of the Year. Recorded a top 10 finish in the 20m sprint at the national Draft Combine with a slick 2.99 seconds. A dual sports athlete who was a member of Australia’s under-19 cricket program.
Weapon: Speed and endurance
AFL player comparison: Jordan Dawson (Adelaide Crows)

Zane Duursma
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Gippsland Power
Community Club: Foster
Date of Birth: 28/08/05
Height: 189cm

A mercurial forward or midfielder who reads the play exceptionally well, is strong overhead and deadly accurate around the goals. Was an outstanding player for Victoria Country at the National Championships to earn All Australian honours, which included a match-winning performance against Victoria Metro in the final game where he amassed 22 disposals, 10 marks and four goals. Was also dominant for the Gippsland Power to win their best and fairest and earn selection in the Coates Talent League Team of the Year. Finished the year with 42 goals across 20 matches in all competitions. His natural leap was highlighted at the national Draft Combine with his running vertical jump of 97cm ranked second overall. Hails from a talented football family, with his brother Xavier now at Essendon and sister Yasmin playing for Port Adelaide.
Weapon: Aerial skill and goal sense
AFL player comparison: Isaac Heeney (Sydney Swans)

Charlie Edwards
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Sandringham Dragons
Community Club: Sandhurst
Date of Birth: 18/05/05
Height: 191cm

Medium defender and midfielder who emerged as the year progressed and is now considered a possible Draft bolter given his rapid progression for the Sandringham Dragons in their road to the Coates Talent League premiership. Showed real class with his athleticism and ball use once moved into the midfield with his 29-disposal performance against the Dandenong Stingrays in Round 13 an eye-catcher. Is also a talented cricketer and has spent only one year in the AFL Talent Pathway system after playing underaged football at Sandhurst before moving to Melbourne Grammar. Averaged 17.1 disposals at 76 percent efficiency and kicked seven goals across 12 matches in the Coates Talent League to announce himself as a Draft prospect. His 6:24 in the 2km time trial at the state Draft Combine in Victoria was impressive for a player of his type.
Weapon: Rebound and ball use
AFL player comparison: Bailey Dale (Western Bulldogs)

Mitchell Edwards
State: Western Australia
State League Club: Peel Thunder
Community Club: South Mandurah
Date of Birth: 02/06/05
Height: 206cm

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An exciting ruckman still growing into his body. Has the height and natural leap to give his team a distinct advantage at stoppages. Has continued to develop this year and shown glimpses of his aerial ability at state under-18 level and took several exciting marks during the National Championships. A mobile and competitive player still honing his ruck craft, he is a member of Fremantle’s NGA program with the Dockers able to match a rival club’s bid should it come after selection 40 in the Draft. Tested well at the national Draft Combine with his running vertical jump of 94cm ranked fifth overall, while his 3.07 seconds on the 20m sprint was impressive for a player of his size.
Weapon: Height and overhead marking
AFL player comparison: Tim English (Western Bulldogs)

Joel Freijah
Pronunciation: Free-jah
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: GWV Rebels
Community Club: Horsham Saints
Date of Birth: 14/11/05
Height: 190cm

A wingman who has real composure, is clean below his knees and distributes the ball very well. Announced himself as an AFL prospect when he kicked six goals from 26 disposals in the GWV Rebels’ loss to the Dandenong Stingrays in Round 4. He holds his width when playing on the wing which provides his team with an outlet option with its ball movement. Had a consistent year at club level averaging 19.6 disposals in 14 matches for the Rebels and finished third in the best and fairest while playing in all four matches for Victoria Country. A strong all-round athlete, he ran a time of 2.98 seconds in the 20m sprint during pre-season testing and then completed the 2km time trial in 6:13 at the national Draft Combine.
Weapon: Clean hands and vision
AFL player comparison: Hugh McCluggage (Brisbane Lions)

Taylor Goad
State: South Australia
State League Club: South Adelaide
Community Club: Willunga
Date of Birth: 28/04/05
Height: 206cm

Developing ruckman who only began to focus on a potential AFL career this year after initially applying his natural talent to basketball. Showed splendid improvement throughout the season playing at under-18 level for his state and club. Was particularly impressive in South Adelaide’s premiership campaign where he averaged 10.4 disposals, 25 hitouts and 2.2 marks in 13 matches. Both his standing vertical jump of 74cm and 20m sprint time of 2.965 seconds were ranked in the top 10 at the national Draft Combine and gave distinct indications of his elite athletic tools.
Weapon: Height and speed
AFL player comparison: Max Gawn (Melbourne)

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Phoenix Gothard
State: NSW/ACT
State League Club: Murray Bushrangers
Community Club: Albury
Date of Birth 07/09/05
Height: 178cm

A small forward who came to prominence with his creative forward play for the Allies in their unbeaten National Championship-winning run, where he was a livewire at ground level and averaged 10.3 disposals, three tackles and a goal a game. Was also impressive for the Murray Bushrangers in the Coates Talent League, averaging 16 disposals and 3.7 tackles across 10 matches and booted nine goals. His high natural leap and pace were both prominent at the national Draft Combine with his standing vertical leap of 78cm ranked second overall and his time of 2.96 seconds on the 20m sprint ranked in the top ten.
Weapon: Elusiveness and creativity
AFL player comparison: Tom Papley (Sydney Swans)

Will Graham
State: Queensland
State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy
Community Club: Palm Beach Currumbin
Date of Birth: 27/07/05
Height: 186cm

Adapted seamlessly to playing in defence for the Allies after predominantly playing midfield for the Gold Coast Suns Academy. A very clean ball handler with a dazzling burst of speed, he was a consistent performer across all four matches for the Allies, averaging 16.5 disposals at 80 percent efficiency. His speed and power really shone through at the national Draft Combine where he was ranked second in the 20m sprint (2.92 seconds) and standing vertical jump (78cm) as well as being third in the running vertical jump (95cm) which confirmed his elite athletic profile.
Weapon: Speed and ball use
AFL player comparison: Dan Houston (Port Adelaide)

Will Green
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Northern Knights
Community Club: Northcote
Date of Birth: 08/09/05
Height: 204cm

Developing tall who impressed throughout the year with his ruck craft, marking and mobility when playing for the Northern Knights, Victoria Metro and the Australia under-18 team. Holds his ground very well both under the ball in stoppages and marking contests and provides great opportunities for his teammates at ground level. Averaged 12 disposals and 24 hitouts when representing Victoria Metro at the National Championships to earn All Australian honours. Both his running vertical jump of 87cm and 2km time of 6:34 seconds at the national Draft Combine were impressive indicators of his natural leap and endurance.
Weapon: Mobility and marking
AFL player comparison: Brodie Grundy (Sydney Swans)

Clay Hall
State: Western Australia
State League Club: Peel Thunder
Community Club: Harvey Brunswick Leschenault
Date of Birth: 12/05/05
Height: 189cm

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Prolific disposal winner who uses the ball effectively on his preferred left foot and excels at stoppages using his clean hands and vision to create for his team. Has already played nine matches at senior level with Peel Thunder averaging 18.9 disposals. Starred when he represented Western Australia at the National Championships averaging 27.2 disposals, 11 contested possessions, six clearances and five tackles to win All Australian honours. Is the son of former West Coast Eagles and Geelong Cats forward Derek Hall but is not eligible as a father-son to either club given Derek played only two games for the Eagles and 74 matches for the Cats. Didn’t test at the national Draft Combine due to injury.
Weapon: Neat kicking and ball-winning ability
AFL player comparison: Jack Macrae (Western Bulldogs)

Riley Hardeman
State: Western Australia
State League Club: Swan Districts
Community Club: Caversham
Date of Birth: 27/02/05
Height: 185cm

Left-footed medium defender who is strong overhead, has line-breaking speed and is a penetrating kick. These attributes were on show as captain of Western Australia at the National Championships where he earned All Australian selection after averaging 18.5 disposals and 5.8 marks and displayed composure under pressure. Made his senior debut for Swan Districts this year and impressed when representing Australia as part of the AFL Academy. His natural leap was on display at the national Draft Combine where he featured in the top 10 performers in both the standing vertical jump (75cm) and running vertical jump (91cm).
Weapon: Aerial ability and left-foot kicking
AFL player comparison: Hayden Young (Fremantle)

Angus Hastie
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Geelong Falcons
Community Club: Geelong West Giants
Date of Birth: 19/09/05
Height: 190cm

An athletic medium defender who sets the play up from defence with his run and ball use. Has shown a preparedness to back himself and take the game on to create opportunities for his team. His intercepting ability is also a strength which saw him represent Victoria Country in all four matches at the National Championships. Played 13 matches with the Geelong Falcons in the Coates Talent League this year averaging 20 disposals and 4.6 marks. His standout performance came in the preliminary final defeat to the Sandringham Dragons, where his dash from defence was exceptional. His elite lateral movement was on display at the national Draft Combine where he produced the third best time (8.20 seconds) in the agility test.
Weapon: Line-breaking dash
AFL player comparison: Mason Redman (Essendon)

Tew Jiath
Pronunciation: T-ow Gee-ath
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Gippsland Power
Community Club: Morwell
Date of Birth: 02/03/05
Height: 188cm

Emerged in the back half of the Coates Talent League season with some dazzling performances for the Gippsland Power, which included a 29-disposal effort during the Wildcard Round victory over the Dandenong Stingrays. A fine intercept mark and displays fantastic speed away from the contest. Averaged 17.7 disposals in 10 matches for the Power to catch the attention of AFL scouts. Is the brother of Hawthorn star Changkuoth Jiath and a member of the Hawks’ NGA program. Performed solidly during testing at the state Draft Combine in Melbourne with his 3.03 seconds on the 20m sprint and 6:32 seconds for the 2km time trial both impressive results.
Weapon: Intercept marking
AFL player comparison: Will Day (Hawthorn)

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James Leake
State: Tasmania
State League Club: Tasmania Devils
Community Club: Launceston
Date of Birth: 02/10/05
Height: 187cm

Medium defender and forward who won All Australian honours as a defender for the Allies at the National Championships in the middle of the season then played some eye-catching matches as a forward for the Tasmania Devils in the Coates Talent League during a breakout season. With mercurial ability in the air and uncanny ability around goals he looks to have unique versatility which was on display during 11 matches for the Devils where averaged 16.1 disposals and kicked 17 goals, which included a five-goal haul against the Dandenong Stingrays in Round 17.
Weapon: Versatility and contested ball-winning ability
AFL player comparison: Callum Mills (Sydney Swans)

Kane McAuliffe
State: South Australia
State League Club: North Adelaide
Community Club: Central Augusta
Date of Birth: 01/03/05
Height: 187cm

A powerful midfielder who wins his own ball and is a penetrating left-foot kick. Is a strong and aggressive tackler as well as being an accomplished extractor of the ball from stoppages using his clean hands and vision to set up the play. Progressed from dominating under-18 games at club level to playing seven matches at reserves level averaging 18.7 disposals. Featured among South Australia’s best in the National Championship matches against the Allies and Victoria Metro and averaged 18 disposals, 3.8 clearances and 8.5 tackles across the tournament. Showcased his power and speed at the national Draft Combine with his running vertical jump of 95cm ranking third and 2.93 seconds for the 20m spring ranking fifth.
Weapon: Power and left-foot kick
Player Comparison: Jack Crisp (Collingwood)

Will McCabe
State: South Australia
State League Club: Central District
Community Club: Tanunda
Date of Birth: 29/09/05
Height: 197cm

A tall defender who has also gone forward at times this year and has continued to develop nicely. A competitive type who has a good natural leap and is very strong overhead. He had an excellent year at under-18 level for Central District where he averaged 21.8 disposals and 5.9 marks across nine matches. He was also one of South Australia’s better players at the National Championships. Is eligible to join Hawthorn under the father-son rule as the son of Luke McCabe who played 138 games for the Hawks from 1995 to 2004.
Weapon: Overhead marking
AFL player comparison: Jordan Ridley (Essendon)

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Colby McKercher
State: Tasmania
State League Club: Tasmania Devils
Community Club: Launceston
Date of Birth: 12/04/05
Height: 180cm

Had an outstanding year which included winning the Coates Talent League’s Morrish Medal and finishing runner-up in the Larke Medal at the National Championships. Uses his dazzling speed to break the lines and kicks the ball with pinpoint accuracy on his preferred left foot. Averaged 32.8 disposals and 5.8 clearances across four matches for the Allies at the National Championships to earn All Australian honours. Was equally dominant for the Tasmania Devils in the Coates Talent League having more than 30 disposals in seven of his nine matches and also kicked 12 goals. Showed he could match it against more experienced opponents by having 20 disposals and three clearances in Australia’s win over Carlton’s VFL team.
Weapon: Dazzling speed and ball-winning ability
AFL player comparison: Zac Merrett (Essendon)

Ashton Moya
Pronunciation: Moy-ya
State: South Australia
State League Club: Glenelg
Community Club: Plympton
Date of Birth: 15/04/05
Height: 187cm

A medium forward who really caught the eye last year with his goal kicking and marking ability, which included a haul of four majors against Western Australia at the National Championships. Was slightly hampered by a hip injury at various parts of the 2023 season but still managed to kick 23 goals in 17 matches in the talent pathway and showed glimpses of his elite potential. Was fully fit at season’s end and excelled at the national Draft Combine with his time of 8.24 seconds on the agility test in the top bracket.
Weapon: Marking on the lead and goalkicking accuracy
AFL player comparison: Bayley Fritsch (Melbourne)

Ollie Murphy
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Sandringham Dragons
Community Club: East Brighton Vampires
Date of Birth: 16/09/05
Height: 200cm

A lightly built tall defender who sets up the play with his neat left-foot kicking. Although new to playing in defence this season he adapted remarkably well. Shows real composure with the ball in hand and is strong overhead. Is also a capable decision maker on when to mark or spoil in one-on-one contests. Was outstanding for Victoria Metro in the National Championships and won his team’s MVP award along with All Australian honours after averaging 11.2 disposals and 4.5 marks per match. He capped off a great year playing in the Sandringham Dragons premiership team in the Coates Talent League.
Weapon: Height and intercept marking
AFL player comparison: Jake Lever (Melbourne)

Connor O’Sullivan
State: NSW/ACT
State League Club: Murray Bushrangers
Community Club: Albury
Date of Birth: 19/05/05
Height: 198cm

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Athletic tall defender who was outstanding for the title-winning Allies at the National Championships winning their MVP award and All Australian honours. He averaged 17.8 disposals at 86 percent efficiency as well as averaging 8.2 marks and providing great rebound to lead the Allies defence. He has an exciting natural leap, good speed and elite endurance highlighted with a top 10 placing in the 2km time trial at the national AFL Draft Combine with a time of 6:11. Also showed he can go forward and have an impact during his time with the Murray Bushrangers.
Weapon: Rebound ability and athleticism
AFL player comparison: Sam Taylor (GWS Giants)

Ethan Read
State: Queensland
State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy
Community Club: Palm Beach Currumbin
Date of Birth 07/07/05
Height: 202cm

Mobile and skillful ruckman whose work rate and ball use are outstanding features of his game, along with his aggressive work at stoppages. A member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, he was a dominant force for the Allies at the National Championships and earned All Australian honours. Had a massive impact on all four games, averaging 21.5 disposals at 76 percent efficiency, 7.5 marks and 13 hitouts to play an important role in the Allies’ first title win. His time of 5:56 seconds for the 2km time trial at the national Draft Combine was sensational for any player much more so for one of his height. Won the Hunter Harrison Medal for his performances with the Gold Coast Suns Academy. The medal is presented to the best performed player from the non-Victorian Academy teams who compete in a selection of matches in the Coates Talent League.
Weapon: Running ability and ball use
AFL player comparison: Mark Blicavs (Geelong Cats)

Archer Reid
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Gippsland Power
Community Club: Inverloch-Kongwak
Date of Birth: 19/09/05
Height: 203cm

A mobile tall forward who is an exceptional overhead mark, good below his knees and has a natural goal sense. Continued to develop physically and improved his forward craft as the season progressed. Averaged 13.5 disposals, five marks and kicked 16 goals in 11 matches in the Coates Talent League for the Gippsland Power to finish runner-up in the club’s best and fairest award. Also presented as a mobile target for Victoria Country in all four National Championships matches, which included kicking two goals in a lively performance during the impressive win over Victoria Metro. Is the younger brother of Essendon defender Zach.
Weapon: Height and overhead marking
AFL player comparison: Ben King (Gold Coast Suns)

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Harley Reid
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Bendigo Pioneers
Community Club: Tongala
Date of Birth: 17/04/05
Height: 187cm

An exciting prospect who opened the National Championships with three goals in the first five minutes of Victoria Country’s clash against South Australia which continued to build his reputation as a unique prospect. He this year confirmed his ability to impact the game whether forward, midfield or down back. Starred throughout the Championships playing in the midfield and changing forward, with his ability to win the contested ball at ground level or overhead among his many weapons. An excellent decision-maker and ball user by hand or foot, he averaged 19.5 disposals, 12.5 contested possessions and 6.5 clearances to finish third in the Larke Medal voting and took out Victoria Country’s MVP. Further added to his very impressive record by earning selection in the All Australian team for the second year in a row. Handled the step up to playing senior football with three impressive games in the VFL and was the best player for the Australia under-18 team in its match against Port Adelaide’s SANFL team.
Weapon: Power and contested ball-winning ability
AFL player comparison: Dustin Martin (Richmond)

Harley Reid of the AFL Academy in action during the match between the AFL Academy Boys and Carlton VFL at Marvel Stadium on May 13, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Presumptive no.1 pick Harley Reid playing for the AFL Academy. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Archie Roberts
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Sandringham Dragons
Community Club: Hampton Rovers
Date of Birth: 18/11/05
Height: 184cm

A left-footed half-back who is a penetrating kick, smart interceptor and uses his anticipation and clean hands to have an impact. Showed good rebounding speed and fine decision-making ability to set up play from defence for Victoria Metro during the National Championships, where he averaged 20.8 disposals and 3.8 marks to earn All Australian honours before becoming a back-to-back premiership player for the Sandringham Dragons in the Coates Talent League. His impressive time of 6:08 for the 2km time trial at the national Draft Combine gave a glimpse of his elite endurance and competitiveness.
Weapon: Clean hands and ball use
AFL player comparison: Daniel Rioli (Richmond)

Jake Rogers
State: Queensland
State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy
Community Club: Broadbeach
Date of Birth: 02/03/05
Height: 170cm

A tenacious livewire through the midfield, the Gold Coast Suns Academy member is a one-touch player with great vision and creativity. Showed all those traits at the National Championship by starring for the Allies where he consistently set up his team through the middle of the ground. Quick and with elite agility, he was always in the contest. Averaged 22.5 disposals at 77 percent efficiency, 5.5 clearances and 5.2 tackles to be a driving force for the title-winning team. He also impressed for the Australia under-18 team in its second match against Carlton’s VFL side at Marvel Stadium, gathering 26 disposals and six clearances to claim the medal as his team’s best player.
Weapon: One-touch hands and creativity
AFL player comparison: Touk Miller (Gold Coast Suns)

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Ryley Sanders
State: Tasmania
State League Club: Sandringham Dragons
Community Club: North Launceston
Date of Birth: 21/01/05
Height: 185cm

Strong-bodied midfielder who is powerful and courageous in his attack on the ball and the pressure he exerts on the opposition. Strong two-way running is another feature of his game and was on display in dominating for the Allies at the National Championships, averaging 35 disposals at 80 percent efficiency, 14.5 contested possessions, five clearances and four tackles to win the Larke Medal as the best and fairest player. Was also named captain of the All Australian team after leading the Allies to their first title. Caught the eye with a strong performance for the Australia under-18 team in its representative match against Port Adelaide’s SANFL side and backed it up in the second match against Carlton’s VFL side where he collected 24 disposals to be one of Australia’s best in victory. Finished the year as a back-to-back Coates Talent League premiership player with the Sandringham Dragons where he averaged 31 disposals across nine matches.
Weapon: Consistent high-level performances
AFL player comparison: Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle)

Ari Schoenmaker
Pronunciation: Show-en-maker
State: Tasmania
State League Club: Tasmania Devils
Community Club: Launceston
Date of Birth: 07/01/05
Height: 194cm

Left-footed tall defender who reads the game exceptionally well, is a good interceptor and prodigious kick of the ball. Had a very impressive back half of the year, which included being selected for the Allies in their final two matches of the National Championships. He also showed the ability to play on the wing and averaged 27 disposals at 75 percent efficiency as well as 5.9 marks and 9.6 rebound 50s in his eight matches with the Tasmania Devils in the Coates Talent League to be one of their most impressive performers.
Weapon: Intercept ability and long kick
AFL player comparison: Callum Wilkie (St Kilda)

Cooper Simpson
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Dandenong Stingrays
Community Club: Mt Martha
Date of Birth: 13/02/05
Height: 181cm

An ultra professional midfielder with pace, composure and great finishing skills. Also has a neat step through traffic and runs hard both offensively and defensively. Has shown the ability to perform when challenged and in the big moments when the game is on the line. Started the season in good touch with the Dandenong Stingrays in the Coates Talent League but suffered an ankle injury in Victoria Country’s opening game of the National Championships and was unable to play any further matches at that level. Made an impressive return for the final four matches with the Stingrays including having 28 disposals against the Tasmania Devils which reminded scouts of his class and AFL potential.
Weapon: Composure and step through congestion
AFL player comparison: Adam Cerra (Carlton)

George Stevens
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: GWV Rebels
Community Club: South Warrnambool
Date of Birth: 14/04/05
Height: 189cm

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A strong-bodied defender who also plays as an inside midfielder to great effect. He reads the cues to intercept well when playing across half back, is a good decision-maker and has a penetrating kick. Had an outstanding year which included captaining the Australia under-18 team during the AFL Academy’s matches against SANFL and VFL sides. Won All Australian honours at the National Championships when representing Victoria Country and was named captain of the Coates Talent League Team of the Year after averaging 28.8 disposals and five tackles across 13 matches for the GWV Rebels, also winning the club’s best and fairest award. His 6:37 for the 2km time trial at the national Draft Combine was a strong performance for a player of his type.
Weapon: Contested ball-winning and ball use
AFL player comparison: Tom Green (GWS Giants)

Koltyn Tholstrup
Pronunciation: Foal-strup
State: Western Australia
State League Club: Subiaco
Community Club: Newtown Condingup
Date of Birth: 28/06/05
Height: 186cm

A talented player with an elite work rate who often plays as a high half forward and sometimes goes through the midfield. He is a fearless competitor with excellent game sense and a penetrating kick. He played the final three games for Western Australia at the National Championships after missing the first with injury and didn’t miss a beat to average 18.7 disposals. Has a sharp competitive edge which has seen him already play 10 senior matches for Subiaco in the WAFL. Tested impressively at the national Draft Combine to record the second quickest time on the agility test (8.19) and a top ten finish in the 2km time trial (6:17).
Weapon: Power and clean hands
AFL player comparison: Cameron Rayner (Brisbane Lions)

Jed Walter
State: Queensland
State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy
Community Club: Palm Beach Currumbin
Date of Birth: 08/06/05
Height: 194cm

A strong and powerful tall forward who has taken all before him across the past two years for the Gold Coast Suns Academy and Allies, winning All Australian honours at under 18 level in both seasons. Has a real physical presence up forward with his appetite for the contest, along with his second efforts and tackling pressure. Was a threatening target up forward for the Allies during this year’s National Championships averaging 13 disposals and seven marks as well as kicking 11 goals in four matches to be a vital cog in the title-winning team. Overall, he kicked 29 goals in eight matches this season to round off a splendid underage career. Will receive a bid from a rival club very early on Draft night which the Suns will gladly match.
Weapon: Aerial ability and second efforts at ground level
AFL player comparison: Charlie Curnow (Carlton)

Nick Watson
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Eastern Ranges
Community Club: Montrose
Date of Birth: 24/02/05
Height: 170cm

A quick, agile and crafty forward who has a real appetite for the contest. Gave a glimpse of his potential in 2022 when he booted 23 goals in 10 matches in the talent pathway. Was impossible to contain during this year’s National Championships booting 14 majors in four matches for Victoria Metro to top the goal kicking. He also averaged 12.2 disposals and was rewarded with All Australian selection. He further expanded his game by spending more in the midfield and across half back for the Eastern Ranges and averaged 20 disposals while kicking 11 goals in nine matches in the Coates Talent League.
Weapon: Speed, agility and leap
AFL player comparison: Shai Bolton (Richmond)

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Darcy Wilson
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Murray Bushrangers
Community Club: Wangaratta Rovers
Date of Birth: 18/08/05
Height: 186cm

An elusive and creative forward or wingman who covers the ground exceptionally well and has innate ability around goals. He is still developing physically but had an outstanding 2023 season. Averaged 25.4 disposals and kicked 16 goals for the Murray Bushrangers to win the team’s best and fairest and earn selection in the Coates Talent League Team of the Year. Also featured among Victoria Country’s best at the National Championships and produced a strong performance when representing Australia as part of the AFL Academy in the clash against Port Adelaide’s SANFL team, racking up 19 disposals and taking five marks. His running capacity was confirmed when he finished second in the 2km time trial at the national Draft Combine with a time of 5:52. He also demonstrated his power by producing the best running vertical jump with his 98cm effort.
Weapon: Elite running and ball-winning ability
AFL player comparison: Sam Walsh (Carlton)

Caleb Windsor
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Eastern Ranges
Community Club: Lysterfield
Date of Birth: 09/06/05
Height: 184cm

A wingman with pace to burn. His preparedness to take the game on is a real weapon along with his decision-making and ball use. Played all four games for Victoria Metro at the National Championships and was his team’s best player in the loss to the Allies, while also shining with 22 disposals in the win over Western Australia. Across his 16 matches with the Eastern Ranges in the Coates Talent League he averaged 19.4 disposals to be one of their most consistent players during their run to the grand final. Recorded a slick time of 2.92 seconds on the 20m sprint during the national Draft Combine highlighting his dazzling acceleration and backed it up by recording 6:28 for the 2km time trial which demonstrated a combination of elite speed and endurance which are essential to play on the wing.
Weapon: Elite speed and ball use
AFL player comparison: Nick Martin (Essendon)

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