I’ve been spending a lot of time checking out stats and watching the under 18s, and now I’m really excited to share my thoughts on the Phantom Draft for the 2023 AFL season.
This isn’t just a random guess from me. I’ve genuinely put in the effort, analyzing numbers and watching games to come up with these predictions.
In my draft, I’ve chosen players who are impressive not just on paper but also have what it takes to really make a mark in the AFL.
We’re about to explore the top 24 picks. You’ll see some names you know and some new ones, and here’s the deal – each pick is based on solid research about what each club is likely to go for. This is the draft order I’m expecting.
Let’s get started.
2023 AFL Phantom Draft: Top 24 Selections
1. Harley Reid (West Coast Eagles)
AFL Comparison: Dustin Martin/Patrick Dangerfield
Key Attributes: Explosiveness, game-changing ability, versatility
Club Benefit: Reid could revitalize the Eagles’ midfield with his dynamic play, reminiscent of AFL legends. His ability to impact various areas on the ground will be crucial for the team’s strategic flexibility.
2. Jed Walter (Gold Coast Suns)
Position: Key Forward
AFL Comparison: Tom Lynch
Key Attributes: Strength, aggression, scoring ability
Club Benefit: Walter’s qualities offer the Suns a dominant forward presence. His partnership with Ben King could make Gold Coast’s attack one of the most formidable in the league.
3. Zane Duursma (North Melbourne Kangaroos)
AFL Comparison: Jeremy Cameron
Key Attributes: Goalkicking, aerial prowess
Club Benefit: Duursma’s Cameron-esque skills will enhance North Melbourne’s forward line, adding a new scoring threat and complementing their existing offensive strategies.
4. Colby McKercher (Hawthorn Hawks)
AFL Comparison: Zach Merrett
Key Attributes: Speed, kicking precision, consistency
Club Benefit: McKercher could be a pivotal figure in Hawthorn’s midfield, similar to Merrett. His speed and accurate kicking are set to transform the Hawks’ play dynamics.
5. Nick Watson (Western Bulldogs)
AFL Comparison: Cody Weightman
Key Attributes: Agility, goal-scoring instinct
Club Benefit: Watson’s addition promises to bring a Weightman-style flair to the Bulldogs’ offense. His agility and knack for finding goals will be invaluable in breaking through tight defenses.
6. Ryley Sanders (Western Bulldogs)
AFL Comparison: Jason Horne-Francis
Key Attributes: Clearance ability, strength, consistency
Club Benefit: Sanders would bolster the Bulldogs’ midfield with tenacity. His strength in clearances and ability to impact contests could be crucial for the team’s midfield dominance.
7. Ethan Read (Gold Coast Suns)
AFL Comparison: Brodie Grundy
Key Attributes: Athleticism, mobility, work rate
Club Benefit: Read could become the Suns’ future premier ruckman, bringing Grundy’s athleticism and mobility to the role. His versatility in playing multiple positions across the ground adds strategic depth to the team.
8. Daniel Curtin (Melbourne)
Position: Key Defender
AFL Comparison: Matthew Pavlich
Key Attributes: Intercept marking, versatility, decision-making
Club Benefit: Curtin’s versatility would be a major asset for Melbourne. His ability to read the play and intercept marking could solidify the Demons’ defense while offering flexibility in roles.
9. Connor O’Sullivan (Greater Western Sydney)
Position: Key Defender
AFL Comparison: Jacob Weitering
Key Attributes: Versatility, aerial ability, mobility
Club Benefit: O’Sullivan’s addition to GWS could provide a reliable and versatile defensive option. His capability in multiple roles would greatly benefit the Giants’ defensive strategies.
10. Darcy Wilson (Geelong)
AFL Comparison: Josh Daicos
Key Attributes: Speed, endurance, transitional play
Club Benefit: Wilson could bring a dynamism to Geelong’s wing position. His exceptional endurance and speed would enhance the team’s transitional play, contributing significantly to both offensive and defensive phases.
11. Nate Caddy (Essendon)
AFL Comparison: Jack Riewoldt
Key Attributes: Aerial ability, athleticism, goal sense
Club Benefit: Caddy’s addition to Essendon could greatly enhance their forward line. His strong aerial presence and goal-scoring capabilities will provide the Bombers with a reliable target upfront.
12. Jake Rogers (Gold Coast Suns)
AFL Comparison: Touk Miller
Key Attributes: Clearance ability, speed, competitiveness
Club Benefit: Rogers could inject energy into the Suns’ midfield. His speed and ability to win clearances would bolster their midfield dynamics, enhancing both offensive and defensive transitions.
13. James Leake (Adelaide)
AFL Comparison: Jake Lever
Key Attributes: Versatility, intercept marking, goal-scoring ability
Club Benefit: Leake’s versatile skill set would provide Adelaide with strategic flexibility. His ability to play both in defense and attack could make him a valuable asset in various game situations.
14. Caleb Windsor (Melbourne)
AFL Comparison: Andrew Gaff
Key Attributes: Pace, precise kicking, goal sense
Club Benefit: Windsor’s style could add significant value to Melbourne’s wing play. His pace and accurate foot delivery would enhance their ability to transition quickly and efficiently.
15. Jordan Croft (Western Bulldogs)
Position: Key Forward
AFL Comparison: Harry McKay
Key Attributes: Overhead marking, mobility, work rate
Club Benefit: Croft’s addition would provide the Bulldogs with a strong marking target inside 50. His mobility and work rate around the ground could add a new dimension to their attacking play.