2023 AFL Academy squad announced

THE AFL has announced its National Academy intake for 2023, with the 30-player squad showcasing just why next year’s crop is tipped to produce somewhat of a super draft. Headlining the cohort is Harley Reid, the Bendigo Pioneers utility widely considered to be the class’ number one prospect.

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Reid is one of 12 Victorians in the squad, though there is a typically diverse spread of nationwide representation. Vic Country and Metro are the most heavily represented regions with six players apiece, while South and Western Australia each contributed four. Allied states NSW, Queensland and Tasmania all had three talents selected, and Orlando Turner is the Northern Territory’s sole entrant.

The 2023 draft class has already been lauded for its depth and excitement factor, with many fan friendly types leading the line. Along with Reid, Glenelg’s Ashton Moir and Eastern Ranges pocket rocket Nick Watson can light up attacking 50 and will likely feature at the pointy end of the crop.

There are some familiar names which feature, too. Zane Duursma, the brother of Port Adelaide’s Xavier and Yasmin, is a likely top 10 talent, as is Nate Caddy – the nephew of Richmond premiership player Josh. There’s also Archer Reid, whose elder brother Zach was drafted to Essendon in 2020.

In terms of club tied talent, Jed Walter is arguably the best of the bunch. The bustling key forward is one of three Suns Academy members which make up Queensland’s selection, while speedy Swans Academy products Lachlan Cabor and Caiden Cleary take up two of the three NSW spots.

Other prospects to keep an eye on include Daniel Curtin, who was named best afield in this year’s Under 17 Futures showcase. The West Australian swingman will hope for a year free of injury. Among a host of plenty more promising types, George Stevens is a relative unknown who also deserves a clean run having torn his ACL as a bottom-ager.

Academy coach Tarkyn Lockyer will take charge of the squad for its induction camp in December, before reconvening for further camps and the annual game in April and May next year. Of the 30 players selected, 21 also featured in Rookie Me Central’s 23 to watch in 2023, which can be viewed in our AFL Draft Guide.

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Harley Reid is touted as 2023’s top prospect


Lachlan Cabor (Swans Academy)
Caiden Cleary (Swans Academy)
Connor O’Sullivan (Murray Bushrangers)

Orlando Turner (Norwood)

Ethan Read (Suns Academy)
Jake Rogers (Suns Academy)
Jed Walter (Suns Academy)

Jack Delean (South Adelaide)
Kane McAuliffe (North Adelaide)
Ashton Moir (Glenelg)
Will Patton (West Adelaide)

Jack Callinan (Tasmania Devils)
Colby McKercher (Tasmania Devils)
Ryley Sanders (Sandringham Dragons)

Nate Caddy (Northern Knights)
Will Green (Northern Knights)
Will Lorenz (Oakleigh Chargers)
Nathan Philactides (Oakleigh Chargers)
Archie Roberts (Sandringham Dragons)
Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges)

Zane Duursma (Gippsland Power)
Archer Reid (Gippsland Power)
Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers)
Cooper Simpson (Dandenong Stingrays)
George Stevens (GWV Rebels)
Darcy Wilson (Murray Bushrangers)

Daniel Curtin (Claremont)
Mitch Edwards (Peel Thunder)
Riley Hardeman (Swan Districts)
Koltyn Tholstrup (Subiaco)

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