2023 AFL Draft Review: Port Adelaide
COMING into the 2023 AFL Draft with the most slender hand of any club, Port Adelaide made the most of its stock to come away with a quartet of versatile prospects. The forward half was a priority this time around after targeting rucks and tall defenders at the trade table. We recap the Power’s draft haul.
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13. Xavier Walsh
>> ANALYSIS: Big winners, bolters & sliders
Having not made an imprint on night one, Port got busy on night two to turn a one-pick hand into a haul of three. The Power traded into proceedings to land picks 48 (Thomas Anastasopoulos) and 52 (Lachlan Charleson), parting with two future fourth round selections to do so.
Both recruits are crafty small forwards with high-end finishing and the ability to close in on opposition defenders with tackling pressure. They came through the ranks this year as Vic Country teammates, too, which should give them a sense of familiarity in the move to Alberton.
Anastasopoulos was first to go, out of the Geelong Falcons. The Power like his speed-endurance mix and ability to both play high and deep forward. He burst into draft contention early this year with 12 goals in his first four Coates Talent League outings, including a bag of five against Oakleigh.
Charleson’s forward craft is what appeals and he’s the energetic type of small who can ignite his team in big moments. His ground level game and smarts inside 50 make him a constant scoring threat, as was best demonstrated in his eight-goal haul for Greater Western Victoria against Bendigo.
Coming into the year, suggesting Will Lorenz would be called out after Anastasopoulos and Charleson – no less at pick 57 – looked a long shot. The Power snapped him up with their original lone-standing pick in the draft to round out their effort in the National intake.
Lorenz is versatile enough to play in each third of the ground, but will likely find a home either on the wing or as a high half-forward. His work rate on the outside appeals, and while he lacks speed, is usually a poised stepper with classy decision making and ball use.
A tall forward put the cherry atop of Port Adelaide’s 2023 draft haul, with West Australian Xavier Walsh taken as a rookie. The aggressive, powerful marking force only made his WAFL Colts debut with East Perth this year, but has plenty of upside and Port sees him as a versatile key position outlet.
All up, Port was able to squeeze maximum value out of its draft hand in the way of trading picks, seeing value late in the piece and bolstering a specific part of the ground. The Power landed two pressure forwards who work hard and can hit the scoreboard, a versatile runner who uses the ball well, and a powerful key forward who has plenty of potential left to show.