2023 AFL Draft Preview: Collingwood

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 Collingwood’s hand and offer insight into how the Magpies may utilise the picks at their possession. Winning their first flag in September since 1958 and their third overall in the AFL era, the Craig McRae-led side is in strong shape for the future, but can still fill some needs.

LADDER FINISH: 1st (18-5, 127.0%) | Premiers
2023 PICKS: 19, 33, 80

Pick 19

Collingwood is in that slightly awkward spot of the draft where they are positioned to pick up a high-upside player, but not quite in the top bracket. It means like with Ed Allan last year, the Magpies will have to wait and see what falls their way, with Pick 19 set to be in the early-to-mid 20s but the time it rolls around due to other bid matches.

Though the Magpies had their own maths to do a couple of years ago with phenom Nick Daicos, they go into the 2023 AFL Draft picking freely and able to pick up the best available that fits their needs. For Collingwood, that could be a running outside type or a tall, both of whom can be added to the depth that the club has.

A potentially perfect pick for the Magpies could well be Tasmanian utility James Leake, with the smooth-moving talented 187cm player able to play on all three lines. Unless he slides back a handful of picks, it might require a trade up, similar with the likes of Caleb Windsor and powerful mid-forward Darcy Wilson all of whom would suit the Collingwood style of play.

Subiaco’s Koltyn Tholstrup and Dandenong’s Harry De Mattia fall into that range and have the exiting athletic traits that the Pies loves, while bolting midfielder Charlie Edwards and defender Archie Roberts are also in that range.

Do not discount a bid on South Australian Will McCabe with the Magpies also searching for a tall, and could well utilise those bigs available half a dozen picks later to upgrade their second selection or perhaps bring in a third pick.

Archie Roberts has the pace and kicking skills that suits Collingwood’s gameplan to a t. Image credit: Rookie Me Central


Given the Magpies do have three senior list spots available and their third selection is 80, a trade to drop back down could be in order. Collingwood’s second selection comes in at 33, and though the draft at that point is monopolised by bid-matching clubs which will see it shift drastically, a club like West Coast (37, 58), GWS (43, 59) or Fremantle (46, 60) could be candidates for potential trade.

Realistically though, the Magpies could well pass the third selection and take a player over the off-season ala Oleg Markov once they have settled into the club. However regardless of what happens with a potential third selection, the Magpies do have that handy second selection which can still net a need.

Could Glenelg slider Ashton Moir be in that range for the Magpies? The exciting athletic medium-tall with elite skill on both sides of his body and enormous hops is one that has bucket loads of talent. The Magpies do love their South Australians in a draft, and with a ruck need, explosive 206cm – yes, you read that right – ruck Taylor Goad in the frame, he might be too good to pass up.

If off the board, the Magpies might scoop up one of Northern Knights’ Will Green or Peel Thunder’s Mitch Edwards with one of them or Goad likely to be available at the least. They definitely need ruck support, and all three have time to develop.

Collingwood might go tall with its first selection and therefore look outside key position height for its second. GWV Rebels winger Joel Freijah would be a perfect fit for the Magpies and allow Collingwood to play Ed Allan in a different role as the Steele Sidebottom replacement. Western Jets tall forward Logan Morris would be a perfect replacement to Brody Mihocek for the future inside 50 as well, kicking 30 goals in each of his past two Talent League seasons.


– Will the Magpies do any live trading to either move up or down the order to find the sweet spot?
– Would Collingwood pounce early on a tall to ensure it secured one rather than waiting?
– Could the Magpies look to further boost their 2024 draft hand to allow for any retirements in 12 months time?

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