A total of nine AFL clubs will have access to 16 exciting draft prospects this year through father-son, Next Generation Academy or Northern Academy avenues.

Hawthorn have ties to a pair of father-son names as well as an NGA prospect ahead of November's intake, while the Gold Coast Suns' highly-documented Academy crop is set to feature heavily early into the count.

Clubs with NGA-linked prospects won't be able to call on their priority access until after the 40th pick in the National Draft, with a number of NGA prospects in the mix to be taken before that mark.

Here we preview the leading NGA, father-son and Northern Academy prospects for 2023 and when each prospect could be selected.


The Hawks have two leading names among this year's eligible father-son class, while Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs are also expected to recruit familiar names to their respective clubs at either end of the draft. Sydney could also recruit a famous club name after an over-age talent who was overlooked last year enjoyed a stellar 2023 campaign.

Will McCabe (Hawthorn): The son of former Hawks player Luke McCabe, Will is arguably the leading prospect out of South Australia this year and doubles as one of the premier tall defenders in his class. The Tanunda junior could fetch a bid in the first round of the draft after a year that saw him emerge as a potential top 20 prospect given his strong intercepting and aerial ability. McCabe can also swing forward and play as an attacking threat given his marking and kicking strengths, with the 197cm teenager an exciting name for Sam Mitchell to add to his plans.


Torrens University SA U18 National Championships players Will McCabe, Jack Delean and Tyler Welsh. (Picture – AFL Photos)

Calsher Dear (Hawthorn): The second half of Hawthorn's father-son plans, with Sandringham Dragons key forward Calsher Dear likely to call Waverley home next year after a promising year in the Talent League. Dear, the son of Norm Smith Medal winner and the late Paul Dear, was among his side's best performers in the Talent League Grand Final win over the Eastern Ranges, recording 13 disposals, two goals and 14 hitouts to showcase his forward and ruck craft. A bid for Dear could come late into the draft, while the Hawks might also get access to the key position prospect via the Rookie Draft.

Kynan Brown (Melbourne): The son of former 146-game Demon Nathan Brown, the Oakleigh Chargers midfielder is a pacey and promising ball-winner who might complement current father-son Demons Jack Viney and Taj Woewodin in Simon Goodwin's engine room for the years to come. Brown averaged 23.0 disposals, 4.3 tackles and 4.0 clearances per game for Vic Metro at this year's National Championships to take out the side's best and fairest award. A bid for Brown could come via Melbourne's last selection at the National Draft or through the Rookie Draft.


Vic Metro draft talent Kynan Brown vs Western Australia, 2023 (Image via Coates Talent League/AFL Photos)

Jordan Croft (Western Bulldogs): The Western Bulldogs are set to add further height to their attacking stocks through the acquisition of Calder Cannons key forward and father-son talent Jordan Croft. The son of ex-Dog Matthew Croft, the 200cm teenager is one of the best tall forwards among this year's crop, representing Vic Metro this year and showing off his leaping ability and athleticism across the season. Croft is set to be afforded the chance of a long development plan given the club's current group of tall forwards in Aaron Naughton, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Rory Lobb and Sam Darcy.


Indhi Kirk (Sydney): An outside chance to join the Swans' list, but the son of Sydney grand final skipper Brett Kirk enjoyed a stellar over-age season with the Swans Academy this year, and would even feature in red and white at the VFL level this year. Kirk would lead the Talent League averages this year for tackles (8.2 per game) and inside 50s (6.8) to go with his 23.8 disposals and and 3.6 marks from five appearances for the Swans Academy. His father-son and Academy links could see Kirk earn a list position via a general rookie contract with Sydney.

Next Generation Academy

Several NGA prospects for 2023 are expected to be swooped on before the Pick 40 barrier, with any available names following that mark able to have their bids matched by their tied clubs. The Kangaroos and Eagles are likely to see top-rated NGA players selected in the first round, while the Hawks, Dockers and Bulldogs will be nervously waiting to see if any of their own slide to the bidding benchmark.

Tew Jiath (Hawthorn): The younger brother of dashing Hawks defender Changkuoth Jiath, Tew has shot up into contention as a potential top 40 prospect who could now be out of reach to Hawthorn. Offering plenty of run and carry out of defence, Jiath is sure to have several suitors lining up bids before Hawthorn can lodge priority access for his services.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Tew Jiath of the Gippsland Power marks the ball during the Coates Talent League Boys Quarter Final match between Tasmania Devils and Gippsland Power at Highgate Reserve on September 09, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Lance Collard (West Coast): The Subiaco small forward is one of several players tied to the Eagles through their Next Generation Academy, with Collard the leading name linked to West Coast. The crafty livewire isn't expected to be available to the Perth powerhouse and could be taken within the top 15 picks on the opening night of the count. Collard's speed and eye for goal have him among the best-rated small forwards at this year's draft.


Mitch Edwards (Fremantle): A Tim English-like ruckman, Edwards is a prospect who is brimming with upside and potential after an injury-hit year hampered his draft stocks. The Western Australian entered the season as a potential top five pick and has since slid, but remains a live chance to be taken in the top 40. Edwards' best efforts came with Peel Thunder at the Colts and Reserves levels, where he was also able to develop his forward craft as a versatile 206cm talent.


Ryley Sanders (North Melbourne): The teenager's NGA ties to the Kangaroos were only approved by the AFL in Septemeber after a lengthy process, with the Arden Street side initially hoping they might've secured priority access to Sanders as part of their compensation package from the league. While Sanders is now linked with the Roos, he's unlikely to find himself donning the blue and white next year unless North Melbourne use either Picks 2 or 3 on the Tasmanian. Sanders firms as a top 10 prospect and one of the best midfielders in this year's class, having taken out the Larke Medal after a premiership-winning season with the Allies.


MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Ryley Sanders of the Allies poses after being named as the MVP of the U18 Boys Championship during the 2023 U18 Boys Championships match between Vic Country and Vic Metro at Ikon Park on June 16, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Luamon Lual (Western Bulldogs): A sprightly half-back flank who hails from Victoria's west, Lual is another NGA talent who could fall either side of the Pick 40 mark. The GWV Rebels defender 17.9 disposals 3.6 tackles and 2.9 rebound 50s in the Talent League this season to earn a spot in the Team of the Year, and would be among Vic Country's best in their carnival-concluding win over Vic Metro at this year's National Championships. His name will be of great focus to the Dogs' list team given he could fall as early as the opening round while also having a chance of sliding past the bidding barrier.


Northern Academy 

The Gold Coast Suns are set to reap the rewards of their Northern Academy links this off-season, with as many as four Carrara-based prospects potentially landing in the opening round of the draft. The Swans are also set to swoop on a highly-promising NA name, while the Giants and Lions are less likely to be active in this space.

Jed Walter (Gold Coast): The physical key forward could fetch a bid as early as Pick 2 at November's count, with Walter perhaps likely rivalling top-rated prospect Harley Reid for the No.1 spot had it not been for his links to the Suns. Standing at 194cm and 97kg, Walter is a ready-made key forward who could be the long-term partner for Gold Coast spearhead Ben King up in Queensland.


Gold Coast talent Jed Walter in the 2023 Coates Talent League (Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos)

Jake Rogers (Gold Coast): A tackling machine, Rogers has rapidly emerged as a potential top 15 selection after a strong year with the Suns' Academy, the Allies and the AFL Academy. He would take out best-afield honours with the latter against Carlton's VFL side earlier this year and would earn Team of the Year status following the National Championships as a key piece in the Allies' midfield.


Ethan Read (Gold Coast): The Palm Beach Currumbin ruckman is a towering presence at 202cm tall and can float behind the ball to be a defensive juggernaut as well. Read would help pull strings in midfield for the premiership-winning Allies at this year's carnival with his ruck craft and aerial dominance, averaging 22 possessions, eight marks and 13 hit-outs per game. Read is a live chance to earn a rival bid in the top 10 at the draft.


Will Graham (Gold Coast): Graham is another strong-bodied midfielder who was among the Suns' best performers in the Talent League before flourishing in a more defensive role for the Allies at the National Championships. Graham averaged 19.4 disposals and 6.4 tackles for the Suns' Academy this year and could join the aforementioned Walter, Rogers and Read in fetching a bid in the first round of the draft, albeit likely late into the opening night if so.

Caiden Cleary (Sydney): A contested threat at the coalface, with Cleary only strengthening his draft stocks through a sensational National Championships with the Allies, where he would earn U18 All-Australia honours in a midfield group that was also accompanied by teammates Colby McKercher, Ryley Sanders, Ethan Read and Jake Rogers. Cleary averaged 29.3 disposals, 6.3 tackles and 11.25 contested possessions per game for the Allies. Like Graham, Cleary could earn a bid in the opening round of he draft and force the Swans to cough up a sizeable amount of draft points for his services.

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Harvey Thomas (GWS): Thomas looms as the more likely Academy pickup for the Giants in a field that includes key forward Charlie McCormack, with either Allies talent likely to join GWS's senior ranks as a Rookie Draft selection or Academy promotion spot. Thomas is a versatile prospect who can play across all three lines of the field, relying on his decent tank and football smarts to shift into any role he's required to play. Thomas averaged 17.8 disposals and just under four rebound 50s per game in a defensive role for the Allies at this year's carnival.