2023 AFL Draft Preview: Sydney

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 Sydney’s hand and offer insight into how the Swans may utilise the picks at their possession. Having already addressed several list needs during trade period, the Sydneysiders are well poised to take the best available talent come draft time.

LADDER FINISH: 8th (12-10-1, 110.0%) Eliminated: Elimination Final
2023 PICKS: 12, 45, 55, 76
LIKELY CLUB-TIED NOMINEES: Caiden Cleary, Indhi Kirk, Caleb May

* – denotes end of Round 1 assistance pick

Pick 12

It’s a case of taking the ‘best available’ talent for Sydney at pick 12, with a half-dozen names narrowed down on the Swans’ board. Should all options be exhausted, the club has expressed its interest in a potential trade with North Melbourne, splitting the selection for picks 17 and 18.

The Swans, led by shrewd list boss Kinnear Beatson, are also very much inclined to wreaking havoc via the bidding process. They could be in line to call out Western Bulldogs father-son Jordan Croft and Suns Academy star Jake Rogers before either making a live selection or trade.

Should things remain as they are, Albury export Connor O’Sullivan looms as the ideal player for Sydney but is unlikely to be available by that point. Other clubs, holding top 10 picks, have been unwilling to part with them so opportunities to move up the order are slim.

The same goes for prospects like Nate Caddy, James Leake, Caleb Windsor and Darcy Wilson, though if any of them were to slip through to the Swans, they would only bolster the club’s prosperous group of young stars. Again, availability is the only issue.

That being the case, Sydney has been linked with a few others. Northern Knights ruck Will Green is a mechanically sound tall the club has been high on, while West Australian under 18 captain Riley Hardeman looms as a likely type with his speed-endurance mix and raking left-foot kick.

Speaking of the latter, perhaps Tasmanian superboot Arie Schoenmaker will appeal. There have also been links to Sandringham Dragons key back Ollie Murphy, though that is arguably more on the back of suggestions Sydney is after long-term defensive depth.

Will Green has been heavily linked to Sydney | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central


Sydney is expected to make two selections during this year’s National Draft, while also being set to rookie list recently delisted veteran Sam Reid. It means much of the intake pivots on what the club can do with pick 12 – whether that be a single player or split into several via live trading.

Currently, the Swans also have picks 45, 55, and 76 to their name. They will all shift up once father-son and academy bids are matched, but consideration must also be given to Sydney’s own academy export in Caiden Cleary.

The hard-nosed midfielder earned All Australian selection this year on the back of a stellar campaign with the Allies, and saw VFL exposure. He may well yield a bid in the second round, though the Swans are said to be no guarantee to match if other talent they prefer remains up for grabs.

That said, two more academy players are in line to be listed as rookies. Father-son candidate Indhi Kirk, who was overlooked last year, is well placed for a Category B spot, while mountainous ruck Caleb May has also been looked at closely, but could require another year of development.


– Will Sydney bite on a trade back down the order for pick 12?
– Will Sydney match a potential second-round bid on Caiden Cleary?
– Which Academy product will Sydney list as a Category B rookie?

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