AlliesAlliesDefender, Midfielder


Will Graham

height: 186cm

weight: 81kg

D.O.B: 27-07-2005

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships, Coates Talent League Boys

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT: “Will Graham is an explosive ball winner most accustomed to playing in midfield, but more recently converting into a defender.”

Gold Coast’s Academy has rightly garnered plenty of spotlight this year, with three graduates likely to be taken within the first 15 picks. Perhaps one Sun who has flown under the radar as a result is Will Graham, an explosive athlete and genuine draft prospect in his own right.

A product of Palm Beach Currumbin, the midfielder-turned-defender has played plenty of footy alongside fellow Suns Jed Walter and Ethan Read. He represented Queensland at Under 17 level and was selected for the annual Futures showcase last year, despite twice tearing his meniscus.

While Walter, Read, and Jake Rogers earned AFL Academy honours, Graham went about his business for Gold Coast in a full Academy Series stint, proving one of the side’s most consistent performers. Having largely played on-ball there, he was squeezed out to defence in the championship-winning Allies side.

Graham also broke through for a VFL berth this year, playing four games with the Suns – all against AFL-aligned opposition. He booted his maiden goal on debut with an assist from fellow first-gamer, Rogers. Off the field, Graham was also a standout at the recent National Draft Combine, blitzing the power-based tests.



+ Athleticism
+ Clean hands
+ Competitiveness
+ Contested work
+ Power
+ Strength


- Endurance
- Scoreboard impact

While on-field feats make up most of what sees players get drafted, Graham has certainly caught the eye off it with his performance at the National Draft Combine. The Queenslander finished second in the 20m sprint (2.915 seconds) and equal-third in both the standing and running vertical jumps (78cm & 95cm). Such results in power-based events highlight Graham's explosive streak.

He may not have the flair of others with similar athletic profiles, but those traits translate to a strong contested acumen. Graham came through the pathway as a midfielder and started his top-age season there, proving a key player in Gold Coast's opening two Coates Talent League games. Across the Academy Series, he averaged 19.4 disposals, 4.0 clearances, and 6.4 tackles to demonstrate his ability on the inside.

Already a good size at 186cm and 81kg, the 18-year-old looks up to Jack Steele and can get his hands dirty in similar fashion. Graham is competitive at the coalface and has a clean set of hands, meaning he can extract the ball and lean on his power to roll would-be tacklers off his back. He's the type of player who can be difficult to wrap up and is quite adept at getting effective handballs away.

Another current AFL player Graham moulds his game on is Jack Crisp. Like Crisp, Graham can also play across half-back and that seems like being his new spot. He thrived there in the Allies set-up, proving he can adapt to new roles quickly with his all-round athleticism and keen defensive application being particularly useful traits in either position.

Something that will endear Graham to recruiters is that he has identified holes in his profile and sought to work on them. Durability was a question after dual meniscus tears last year, but he played out a full and consistent season in 2023. He wanted to improve his marking ability and averaged five at the National Championships, while also showcasing good development in his endurance base with a 2km time of 6:26.

Perhaps adding to that running capacity will also help Graham boost his disposal numbers. As a midfielder, scoreboard impact is another area he may look to enhance, especially if he is to rotate forward. He averaged 4.5 score involvements with the Allies, but can be more damaging by foot through the middle, and kicking goals will compound that factor.



There was talk earlier in the year that Gold Coast would struggle to match bids on more than three academy players, and being the ‘fourth’ meant Graham was likely looked at heavily by other clubs. Perhaps to his own relief, the St Kilda supporter is still expected to end up at the Suns, but may set the club back a fair amount of points on draft night. Opposition teams will be sure that’s the case, though Graham is arguably a top 40 prospect on merit regardless.

Clean hands
Contested work
Scoreboard impact

AFL U18 Championships


Coates Talent League Boys

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