PREVIEW | 2023 AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft

THE 2023 AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft is just around the corner, set to be held virtually via the AFL tomorrow night. Before the picks drop, we take you through all you need to know about this year’s intake – from the top prospects, to eligibility rules, and which clubs are in line to make selections.


What: 2023 AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft
When: Wednesday May 31, 7:00pm AEST
How to watch: via AFL website & app



1. West Coast
2. North Melbourne
3. Hawthorn
4. Richmond
5. Greater Western Sydney
6. Sydney
7. Geelong
8. Fremantle
9. Essendon
10. Western Bulldogs
11. Port Adelaide


12. Hawthorn
13. Richmond
14. GWS
15. Sydney

Eligible clubs had until 5pm on Tuesday May 30 to lodge their final list spots. Note that some clubs may take multiple picks into the draft but are not compelled to make any selections.


The nomination and eligibility rules were tweaked this year, so as to provide a touch more leniency for players who have perhaps shot into contention. In previous editions, only players who nominated for the previous National Draft were eligible in the mid-season intake, with only few exemptions accepted.

Now, both overlooked players, and those who have played at least three state league games in season 2023 are available mid-season. There has also been a tweak with regards to overlooked club-tied talent. Next Generation Academy products eligible in 2022 will now be available to all clubs in this draft.

>> ALL 321 PLAYERS: 2023 MSD nominations list

Jack Buller is one of the leading MSD prospects | Image Credit: WAFL


Jack Buller (Claremont)
199cm | Key Forward | 22yo

One of the most talked about mid-season hopefuls, Buller has enjoyed a breakout year in the WAFL. After being overlooked for the 2018 draft, where many of his carnival-winning state Under 18 teammates found homes, the 22-year-old stuck at it with Claremont and is now a bonafide mature-age prospect. He featured for WA in the recent State Game and has averaged 16 disposals, seven marks and over a goal per his five WAFL games this year. At 199cm, he has presence inside 50 and can also pinch-hit through the ruck with his readymade frame. A recent calf injury shouldn’t hold him back.

Will Elliott (Oakleigh Chargers)
203cm | Key Forward/Ruck | 18yo

Elliott was perhaps unlucky to miss out on being drafted last year, but has returned to the Oakleigh program he once captained to showcased his upside in 2023. The 203cm key forward is another who can also roll through the ruck, offering a touch of mobility and the willingness to compete aerially. He played very little footy as a top-ager due to injury and despite a recent bout of illness which hindered his last Chargers outing, he has potential which will be hard to ignore. He comes from good sporting pedigree too as the son of former Australian test opener, Matthew.

Mutaz El Nour (Richmond VFL)
192cm | Tall Defender | 21yo

A spring-heeled intercept defender, El Nour is a name well known to clubs by now having been on the draft precipice for a few years. He originally made his name in the VFL with Northern Bullants and even turned out in the 2021 Young Guns game before shifting to Richmond this year. So far in 2023, the 21-year-old has played five games in the state league for averages of 11.2 disposals and three marks.

Robert Hansen Jnr (Subiaco)
180cm | Small Forward | 19yo

Another overlooked talent from last year’s top-age pool, Hansen Jnr has proved undeniable for a senior berth with Subiaco this season and the same may be said in his quest to play AFL. The 180cm speedster is a small forward with good goal sense and defensive pressure, looking most dangerous when he breaks over the back with run-and-carry. After making his WAFL League debut in Round 2, Hansen has averaged 10 touches and two scoring shots per his five games. If he isn’t picked up, he’ll have more opportunities to impress in WA’s Under 18 squad.

Jaiden Hunter (Perth)
196cm | Key Forward | 21yo

Somewhat of a surprise packet among the list of players put forward by clubs, Hunter has burst back onto the draft radar after long bouts of injury setbacks. Plying his trade for Perth, the 21-year-old key forward made his League debut in 2021, but was made to earn his spot this year with three games in the Reserves. He booted 12 goals in those games and has added 11 at League level since, including five in his most recent outing – a match-winning effort, no less. He has some nice upside at 196cm, rising to be considered for what is typically a tall’s draft.

Ryan Maric (Gippsland Power)
193cm | Tall Forward | 18yo

Arguably the number one mid-season prospect, Maric burst onto the scene in Round 1 of the Talent League season and has not looked back. He booted four goals in that game and has since made a splash in the VFL, bagging braces in both of his outings for Box Hill. At 193cm, he covers the ground nicely and can shift gears on the attack, but also possesses strong kicking skills. He showcased the latter in the second Young Guns game this year, plying his trade in defence with prolific results.

Rye Penny (Calder Cannons)
186cm | Defender | 19yo

Much like fellow Talent League products Elliott and Maric, Penny’s top-age campaign was scuppered by injury but he has returned to the level with strong results. Though Calder used him mostly through midfield, Penny has arguably played his best footy across half-back where his athleticism shines. The 186cm over-ager is the highest leaper in the Talent League and has great speed on the rebound, making him a good breed of athlete who translates those traits to the football field.

Flynn Riley (Northern Knights)
206cm | Ruck | 19yo

Riley is another name which popped up onto the mid-season radar in quick time, with the 206cm Northern Knights ruck building nicely during his over-age season. Waxing with National Academy tall Will Green at Talent League level, Riley has built in confidence over the last two years and is now beginning to display greater presence in his craft. The 19-year-old showed glimpses for the Young Guns and averages 13 disposals and 20 hitouts across his four games with Northern this season.

Brandon Ryan (Northern Bullants)
200cm | Key Forward | 25yo

Making the most of his return to the VFL this year, Ryan was previously with North Melbourne’s reserves but has emerged as a potential draftee with Northern Bullants. While currently serving a three-game suspension in the state league, his form prior made him one of the most dominant big men of the competition. The 200cm talent booted 18 goals across his first seven games for the Ants, also averaging five marks and displaying good dexterity for a player his size. He is versatile too, able to pinch-hit in the ruck or swing to defence if need be.

Ethan Stanley (Box Hill)
188cm | Wing/Forward | 19yo

Likely another big tick for the Box Hill VFL program, Stanley could well continue to don the brown and gold – only at the elite level. Having been recruited from the local scene, the 19-year-old has bloomed relatively late and is thus taking a more unconventional route to the big leagues. He’s a wingman/forward with a booming kick and great speed, able to take ground in front of him and hurt the opposition in attacking phases. His average of 4.7 score involvements attests to the latter, and he only strengthened his value in the second Young Guns game.

James Trezise (Richmond VFL)
188cm | Defender | 20yo

Richmond’s VFL program is another which has proven a real winner in the mid-season draft space, and that could well be the case again with the likes of El Nour and Trezise. The latter has popped up from seemingly nowhere this year, averaging 16 disposals and 5.4 intercepts in the VFL, having transformed from a local league goalkicker to an intercept defender. He reads the play well and impacts aerially at 188cm, which is part of the reason why some clubs are considering him high up the order.

Clay Tucker (Eastern Ranges)
204cm | Ruck | 18yo

Making it four Talent Leaguers and as many 200cm-plus players on the nomination list, Tucker is a developing ruck who seems to improve week on week. He rises nicely at the centre bounces but is expanding his work around the ground, dropping back to clunk intercept marks and even hitting the scoreboard when resting forward. As another mobile tall, he falls into the long-term category and could rapidly improve in an elite environment. He recently made his VFL debut with Box Hill after impressing for Eastern and in the Young Guns series.

Noah Casalini is in the MSD frame | Image Credit: Cory Sutton


Outside of the 12 names above, much of the remaining talent in contention is made up of ex-AFL players seeking a second chance. Among them, Williamstown pair Oscar McDonald and Marty Hore are both in contention, with the former courted by Sydney along with fellow former-Blue Angus Schumacher.

There are few more readymade rucks than Sam Naismith, who has impressed for Port Melbourne this season and is linked with Geelong’s pick. Former Cat Quinton Narkle may earn a quick promotion from the VFL alongside other recently delisted players like Caleb Poulter and Callum Brown.

Don’t count out Ryley Stoddart either, after his showings for Frankston. Elsewhere, North Adelaide bolter Noah Casalini has been linked to Port Adelaide after the Power moved Mitch Georgiades to their long-term injury list. He’s a 191cm forward who booted five goals in his most recent SANFL game.

Port also has Jed Hagan waiting in the wings for a possible promotion from the SANFL. Brisbane’s Harry Arnold is another reserves player who is attracting attention, as a 194cm defender. There has also been interest in Claremont’s Ben Clarke, a tall wingman who has played only four senior WAFL games.

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