2023 AFL Draft | Ones to Watch: South Australia
ACROSS the AFL midseason, national and rookie drafts last year, a whopping 22 players were selected out of the SANFL, pitting South Australia as a successful producer of top level talent. Well ahead of the next intake and beyond, there is already more exciting talent emerging, of which we highlight as ones to watch.
AFL ACADEMY MEMBERS
Jack Delean (South Australia)
15/04/2005 | 181cm | Forward
Delean has long been on the radar of those who pay attention to the SANFL Under 18 competition, having consistently proven himself as a dangerous goalkicker. The crafty small can also pinch-hit further afield, but looks most at home close to goal where his smarts, agility, and innate finishing ability shine.
Kane McAuliffe (North Adelaide)
1/03/2005 | 187cm | Midfielder
A strong inside ball winner capable of putting up remarkable numbers from the engine room, McAuliffe is a well developed type with imposing size and the willingness to compete. He has translated those traits to roles behind the ball as well, and is not afraid to open up the game with long left-foot kicks.
Ashton Moir (Glenelg)
15/04/2005 | 186cm | Forward
A potential challenger for the number one mantle, Moir’s sheer breadth of traits is enviable. He kicks with uncanny fluency off both feet, has the athleticism to fly for marks overhead, and can adapt his game to multiple roles. As it stands, he looks most dangerous inside 50 where he’s a real match winner.
Will Patton (West Adelaide)
04/01/2005 | 191cm | Defender
Patton is a player who took little time to establish himself at Under 18 level, doing so with hardly a hitch for West Adelaide. ‘The General’ in Westies’ and South Australia’s defence, he is capable of playing tall with his intercept marking, but also looks comfortable in possession on the rebound and is versatile.
ONES TO WATCH
South Australia’s crop shaped as a deep one coming into 2022, and though that sentiment is a touch less strong in 2023, there may still be some diamonds in the rough. Alongside Delean, Moir and Patton, the likes of Alex Holt, Ben Ridgway, and Luca Slade all made their state Under 18 debuts last year in a positive sign for the upcoming crop.
Sturt’s Holt has made a name for himself as a high-accumulating rebound defender who remains accountable, while Double Blues teammate Slade is a versatile midfielder capable of carrying the ball forward. Ridgway, also a midfielder, should be well known to SANFL fans after he skippered Glenelg to the Under 18 flag and took out the league best and fairest as a bottom-ager.
There are a bunch of spearhead forwards likely to attract attention too. Arguably the most versatile and high profile of the lot is Will McCabe, a Hawthorn father-son candidate (son of Luke). The Centrals tall was named MVP of his state’s title-winning Under 16 side and is a lean athlete who thrives aerially at both ends of the ground.
Patrick Weckert and Chad Reschke are in-between sized but physically developed goalkickers who have climbed the SANFL grades. Eagles gun Weckert kicked a goal on League debut after snaring eight in the Reserves, while Reschke dominated the Under 18s with 68 majors in 17 games – never dipping below two goals and booting over five on seven occasions.
There’s also Glenelg’s Harry Francis, a more genuine key position option at 195cm who can play at either end. South Australia have named Northern Territory natives Orlando Turner and Will Rowlands in their state hub setup too, with both Rostrevor College boarders tied to Norwood.
Having taken out last year’s Under 16 National Championship, there is understandably a bit of talent in South Australia’s 2006-born cohort as they move into their bottom-age campaigns. Among them are a bunch of father-son candidates, including four within the state talent hub list.
Carlton fans will be keen to see more of twin wingmen Lucas and Ben Camporeale, the sons of Scott. One’s a leftie and the other kicks on his right, but both are chips off the old block. Similar can be said about Tyler Welsh, the aerially apt son of former Crows goalkicker, Scott.
Louie Montgomery (son of Brett), whose brother Harper was a draft prospect in 2022, is also emerging as an electric athletic forward, while Rome Burgoyne (son of Peter) will work towards becoming the fourth member of his family to make it onto an AFL list. They’ll both be eligible to be taken by Port Adelaide in 2024 along with Oliver Francou (Josh).
Ky Burgoyne, the son of Shaun, will be in the frame for both Port and Hawthorn next year. Tied to West Adelaide, he’s outside the current state setup, but Woodville-West Torrens have a bunch of bottom-agers in there.
Among them, Charlie West and Tom Luck are a couple of talls to keep an eye on alongside Welsh. South Adelaide also has some emerging talent in midfielders Benny Barrett, Phoenix Hargrave, and Sid Draper, the brother of Collingwood’s Arlo.
Sturt’s Ned Atkinson is another talent to monitor, while Double Blues teammate Alex Dodson projects as a promising type. The ruck didn’t get a look in during the Under 16 carnival, but showed his wares in the SANFL Futures showcase last year.
STATE UNDER 18 TALENT HUB
Central District (4): Liam Fawcett, Jayden Matz, Will McCabe, Trent Tattoli
Glenelg (7): Lucas Camporeale*, Harry Francis, Ashton Moir, Bowen Payne, Eli Redman, Ben Ridgway, Bodie Ryan
North Adelaide (4): Jed Dignan, Luke Harvey, Kane McAuliffe, Louie Montgomery*
Norwood (4): Logan Evans, Brayden Rachwal, Will Rowlands, Orlando Turner
South Adelaide (5): Benny Barrett*, Jack Delean, Sid Draper*, Phoenix Hargrave*, Tom Wheaton
Sturt (8): Ned Atkinson*, Alex Dodson*, Fraser Greaves, Alex Holt, Ted Newman, Loch Rawlinson, Chad Reschke, Luca Slade
West Adelaide (3): Max Downs, Jack Oates, Will Patton
Woodville-West Torrens (10): Rome Burgoyne*, Riley Davey, Harvey Dodd*, Callum Fairall, Jett Hasting*, Tom Luck*, Oscar Pearce, Patrick Weckert, Tyler Welsh*, Charlie West*
* – denotes bottom-aged (2006-born)