2023 AFL Draft | Ones to Watch: Western Australia

AFTER whopping 17 players were taken from the WAFL across all drafts in 2022, it’s clear that Western Australia is a happy hunting ground for top-end footballing talent. Heading into season 2023, elite talent is continuing to emerge and we take a look at the ones to watch among WA’s state Under 18 setup.

>> Top AFL Draft Prospects: 23 in 2023


Daniel Curtin (Claremont)
08/03/2005 | 196cm | Key Defender/Forward

Though a finger tendon injury somewhat scuppered his bottom-age campaign, Curtin has proven nothing but quality in high-level fixtures – including his best afield performance in the Under 17 Futures showcase. The Claremont and Scotch College swingman has mainly cut his teeth as a defender, but his marking ability is a trait which has him pegged for time up forward in the state setup. Should that not go to plan, Curtin reads the play incredibly well and distributes with aplomb from behind the ball.

Preseason stint at: Fremantle

Mitchell Edwards (Peel Thunder)
02/06/2005 | 205cm | Ruck

There seems to be a highly touted Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect every year, and in 2023 Edwards is the one considered a potential top 10 candidate. Though relatively lean, the Peel premiership colt has a competitive streak and overtook teammate Jackson Broadbent for the leading ruck role at club and state level last year. His range at 205cm makes him dominant aerially, and Edwards is developing as an aerial threat around the ground – particularly up forward.

Preseason stint at: Fremantle

Riley Hardeman (Swan Districts)
27/02/2005 | 188cm | Outside Midfielder

Hardeman has long been a fixture in Swan Districts’ Colts setup and even featured in their 2021 premiership side, having debuted as a 15-year-old. He’s a hard runner on the outside who accumulates possessions and carries forward with intent, capping his forays with positive left-foot kicking. Hardeman is one of many 2005-born talents to have already debuted for his state’s Under 18 side, and even turned out for a handful of WAFL Reserves games.

Preseason stint at: West Coast

Koltyn Tholstrup (Subiaco)
28/06/2005 | 188cm | Forward/Midfielder

A powerful athlete who can play just about anywhere, Tholstrup has plenty of traits which AFL recruiters and fans alike will love. The Subiaco standout is a proven goalkicker at Colts level and is capable of playing above his height, or even progressing as a midfielder. Not only is he in the first round conversation at this early stage, but Tholstrup has also thrown his hat in the ring for a senior WAFL debut early next year.

Preseason stint at: West Coast

Koltyn Tholstrup representing WA in 2022 | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central


Fresh off a colts premiership, Peel Thunder is understandably well represented in WA’s state summer squad, with six representatives included. Among them are players with serious potential, arguably none more so than Clay Hall.

The son of West Coast draftee and 74-game Geelong forward, Derek, the midfielder transitioned from the outside to end up a core part of his side’s centre bounce mix in 2022. Hall is lauded for his running power and at 189cm, the left-footer is a dynamic talent.

Fellow Thunder leftie Reece Torrent is another versatile type. The slick kicker started out behind the ball but made a natural progression into midfield and starred in his side’s winning grand final. Keep an eye on mid-sized swingman Ethan Logan too, who has wickedly clean hands and plays tall at 186cm.

Elsewhere, Koen Sanchez is an exciting small who will hope to get a clean run at it in 2023. The East Fremantle speedster likes to take the game on and overcame a groin injury to boot two goals in his state Under 18 debut. If not for injury, he could well have pushed for AFL Academy honours.

Coen Livingstone, a forward/ruck out of Perth is one who comes with good pedigree as the nephew of Hawthorn premiership player Chance Bateman. He’s tied to West Coast’s NGA program, and will head up one end of the Demons’ key position stocks.


A handful of bottom-age prospects were included in Western Australia’s Under 18 summer squad, including Peel premiership Colt Deian Roberts. Fellow Thunder product Darcy Peterson made the cut as tall depth alongside West Perth’s Trent Hiscock, while Swan Districts had two representatives in Otis Harvey and Thomas Cathcart.

The latter was one of four West Australians named in the 2022 Under 16 All Australian side, though the other three – MVP Chayse Martinson, Malachai Champion, and Anthony Hansen – did not train with the state Under 18 squad over summer.


Claremont: Daniel Curtin
East Fremantle: Koen Sanchez
East Perth: Mitchell Williams
Peel Thunder: Mitchell Edwards, Clay Hall, Ethan Logan, Darcy Petersen*, Deian Roberts*, Reece Torrent
Perth: Coen Livingstone, Aiden O’Driscoll, Elijah Scoble
South Fremantle: Jacob Whan
Subiaco: Lance Collard, Koltyn Tholstrup
Swan Districts: Thomas Cathcart*, Riley Hardeman, Otis Harvey*, Evan Smith
West Perth: Trent Hiscock*

* – denotes bottom-aged (2006-born)

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