2023 AFL Draft Preview: Carlton
WITH season proper and trade period done and dusted, AFL fans and staff alike now turn their attention towards the draft (November 20-21). The chaos has momentarily settled on player and pick swaps, and budding prospects have completed their combines, leaving a nervous wait until they learn their fate.
In the next of our club-by-club draft previews, we take a look at Carlton’s hand and offer insight into how the Blues may utilise the picks at their possession. The awakening Victorian giant has two second-rounders to extract value with this year, and a pair of father-son guns to prepare for in 2024.
LADDER FINISH: 5th (13-9-1, 113.3%) | Eliminated: Preliminary Final
2023 PICKS: 22, 28, 70, 78, 96
FUTURE PICKS: CAR R1, CAR R2, FRE R4, GC R4, WB R4
POTENTIAL ACADEMY/FATHER-SON PICKS: Nil.
Carlton is in a good spot to continue to address its list needs, and despite recruiting Ollie Hollands and Blake Acres last year, the outside is where the Blues need refining. In particular, quick and polished ball moves who use the ball well would help take the preliminary finalists to another level.
A pair of left-footed playmakers sit right in Carlton’s hitting zone; namely Archie Roberts and Riley Hardeman. Both love to take the game on with overlap run and have endurance bases to do so throughout four quarters. Carlton loves taking Blues fans too, and Roberts fits that bill.
Another Blues supporter, Arie Schoenmaker is also a terrific left-footed distributor and did much of his learning last year alongside fellow Tasmanian Lachlan Cowan. The superboot is a bit taller at 194cm, but kicking is very much his 1-wood and he can give the side different looks on the rebound.
If not for players who will assist the Blues’ transitional play, a pressure forward with genuine pace and x-factor could be in their sights. Unfortunately, it looks like Lance Collard will be off the board by then, but Koltyn Tholstrup is capable of filling roles and providing intensity the modern game requires.
Dandenong Stingrays co-captain Harry De Mattia is similarly explosive to Tholstrup and plays with plenty of vigour across all three lines. Should key position depth be in the offing, perhaps Archer Reid is the mobile ruck-forward for Carlton to develop in the long term.
Carlton is likely to make two or three selections in the National Draft, with a move up the order perhaps not as much a priority as it once looked.
Having nabbed Elijah Hollands on the cheap, and traded out depth players in Paddy Dow and Zac Fisher, the Blues have also bolstered their 2024 hand in anticipation of drafting father-sons, Ben and Lucas Camporeale.
The targets for either of Carlton’s second round selections are just about interchangeable – if one list need is addressed first, the other will be met next. There are some handy talls around the pick 28 range who may tempt the Blues, namely rucks Will Green and Mitch Edwards.
Should they already be off the board after an elongated first round, then Taylor Goad has just as much upside in the same role, while Reid and Gippsland teammate Wil Dawson are versatile types who offer mobility at over 200cm, and at either end of the ground.
Otherwise, options to bolster the Blues’ forward line may present. Having taken top five slider Harry Lemmey last year, perhaps Ashton Moir will take a similar path. There’s also another Croweater in Jack Delean who provides a spark. Both are arguably behind Phoenix Gothard though in terms of ranking.
In the way of outside runners, small wingmen like Aiden O’Driscoll and Tarkyn O’Leary can do damage on the attack. There’s also 190cm running machine Joel Freijah and West Australian mid-forward Koen Sanchez to consider.
Defenders like Luamon Lual and Angus Hastie are others who could offer value. Lual is a smaller type with a great blend of competitiveness and speed, while Hastie is a flexible 190cm prospect who takes the game on, but can also shut down both small and tall forwards.
– What type of player will Carlton target with pick 22?
– Can Carlton further enhance its 2024 hand?
– Will Carlton again be active in live trading?