2023 AFL Draft Preview: St Kilda

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 St Kilda’s hand and offer insight into how the Saints may utilise the picks at their possession. Having made finals at the first time of asking upon Ross Lyon’s return, a shrewd trade period has set the club up for further growth.

LADDER FINISH: 6th (13-10, 107.8%) | Eliminated: Elimination Final
2023 PICKS: 13, 21, 40, 92
POTENTIAL NGA & F/S: Josh Docking (NGA)

Pick 13

It’s a ‘best player available’ type of scenario for St Kilda at this year’s draft, though bolstering its midfield may be the most glaring list need. The Saints have also been vocal on prioritising local, bayside talent – likely to recruit from nearby Talent League regions Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons.

That means Stingrays co-captain Harry De Mattia may be in the box seat, being both a local and a hardened midfielder. The versatile dual-sports athlete has serious speed and plays at a high intensity, impacting going both ways and capable of playing in each third of the ground.

A similarly explosive and hard-working player in the frame is Koltyn Tholstrup, whose notable senior experience and willingness to play team-oriented roles will appeal. He has genuine power and ability too, most often utilised as a dynamic forward or as a rotating midfielder.

Of course, St Kilda’s pick is likely to be pushed back a few selections in the bidding process. The Saints could join in and force Hawthorn’s hand for father-son prospect Will McCabe, though due to such a compromised draft, may miss out on classy outside midfielders Darcy Wilson and Caleb Windsor.

The latter pair are both outstanding athletes who would add some much needed polish and flair to St Kilda’s centreline. Wilson has the capacity to play inside and roll forward, while Windsor is more a genuine wingman with searing speed in open spaces.

Archie Roberts could be St Kilda’s second selection | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central


Sticking to the theme of bayside talent, Sandringham Dragons defender Archie Roberts has been heavily linked with the Saints’ second pick (21). His speed-endurance mix would bolster the side’s running power and his ball use in transition could provide a nice chop-out for Jack Sinclair.

His teammate, Ollie Murphy may fall in the same range and would make sense should St Kilda make a bid on fellow tall defender, McCabe. Another option down back is Tew Jiath, a raw and developing interceptor who is tied to Hawthorn’s NGA, and is the brother of current Hawk, Changkuoth.

Shifting back into the midfield, perhaps another Dragon in Charlie Edwards is in the offing. At taller type at 191cm, he came on strongly towards the end of the season and blends his clean contested work with deceptive spurts of speed through the corridor. Like Roberts, he’ll be in high demand.

While picks 13 and 21 will be shifted back a few spots, St Kilda’s pick 40 may well shoot up the order after bidding eliminates a number of mid-range selections. That leaves the club in a good position to either enter live trading or nab high value in a slider.

Expected to make either four or five selections, the Saints also have access to a couple of promising NGA talents in small wingman Joshua Docking and defender Billy McGee Galimberti. The former is a late chance. The delisted Dan McKenzie is also expected to be a train-on in hopes of earning his spot back.


– How prevalent will St Kilda’s targeting of local talent be?
– Will midfielders be the main priority?
– Does St Kilda have any interest in its NGA prospects?

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