Key Defender


Connor O'Sullivan

height: 198cm

weight: 92kg

D.O.B: 19-05-2005

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT: “A versatile tall who can play any position on the ground, Connor O’Sullivan is composed in possession and aerially prominent from contest to contest.”

Murray Bushrangers prospect Connor O’Sullivan shot up draft boards in a big way during this year’s National Championships, taking out MVP honours in the title-winning Allies side. Doing so from such a stacked field was no mean feat, with the Albury product clearly playing his best footy this year at the highest level possible.

O’Sullivan came into the year off a promising bottom-aged campaign where he played 10 games for Murray, represented NSW-ACT at Under 17 level, and was selected in the Futures showcase on AFL Grand Final day. Predominantly, he was utilised as a tall defender and forward, with his aerial ability impressive most.

Fast-forward to 2023, and the AFL Academy member found himself attending centre bounces in Round 1, also spending time up forward before eventually finding a home down back. There, he earned All-Australian honours and was named in the Coates Talent League Team of the Year.

Having catapulted his name into top 10 contention, the 18-year-old was duly invited to the National Draft Combine and showcased his high level running capacity in the 2km time trial. He’s one of a couple of Bushrangers expected to feature at the pointy end of the intake, alongside midfielder Darcy Wilson.



+ Aerial ability
+ Composure
+ Intercept marking
+ Mobility
+ Running capacity
+ Versatility


- Defensive accountability
- Forward craft

Somewhat a Jack of all trades, O'Sullivan's point of difference is that he has just about also become a master at one, too. With long reach and good aerial range at 198cm, he combines his physical gifts with astute reading of the play as a key defender. O'Sullivan averaged nearly seven intercept possessions, and over two intercept marks in both the National Championships and Coates Talent League this year.

A key factor which aids the utility's prolific work behind the ball is his running capacity. Clocking in an impressive 2km time of 6:11 at the recent National Draft Combine, O'Sullivan uses it on-field to impact from contest to contest - again, most notably in an aerial sense. His running is also observed in attacking phases, as he peels off on turnover to get involved with his side's transitional play out of the back line.

For a tall, O'Sullivan is incredibly comfortable with ball in hand. Given he moves so well, he can work out of tight spots and stand up in tackles to dish off effective disposals, displaying great composure in high-pressure contested situations. A neat ball user by hand and foot, he averaged over 20 disposals, seven marks and four rebound 50s with the Bushrangers, hardly looking out of place as a rebound or playmaking outlet.

Another of O'Sullivan's prized assets is his versatility. While arguably best down back, he seems determined to be known as a swingman and has even been tasked with going on-ball. As such, he can look to improve his forward craft in order to switch between ends more seamlessly. In particular, his goal kicking accuracy is an area for growth. Otherwise, he has the physical tools and natural ability to play wherever required.

Arguably the only thing he can work on defensively is his accountability and one-on-one craft. O'Sullivan is so good at peeling off and roaming the back half as he pleases, but was found out by a couple of quality opponents late in the season, who he perhaps allowed too much leeway.

O'Sullivan racked up 26 disposals, eight marks and five rebound 50s in Murray's one-point win over Calder in Round 15, but his direct opponent Jordan Croft bagged 3.4 from 17 disposals and seven marks. Similarly, GWV bottom-ager gave him trouble with his speed and aerial work on the lead. With that in mind, there is still a bit to work on for O'Sullivan, but an abundance of upside nonetheless.



Perhaps only 197cm West Australian standout Daniel Curtin can claim to be more proven in the way of versatility among this year’s tall cohort, but O’Sullivan certainly has similar potential. Likely to continue his work as a key defender at the next level, the Albury native is undeniably a top 15 prospect and may even warrant selection within the first 10 picks. He can do things not many 198cm players are capable of.

Aerial ability
Intercept marking
Running capacity
Defensive accountability
Forward craft

AFL U18 Championships


Coates Talent League Boys

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