Jack Viney, Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca during the 2022 AFL Round 1 match between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

We've reached the third and final instalment of our AFL midfield rankings ahead of Round 1, with the top six midfield groups revealed to round out our rankings.

Here we identify the best midfield packs from 6th to 1st heading into the 2023 season following the first two parts of our rankings series.



6. Western Bulldogs

The Dogs' midfield took a hit over the off-season but there's still no questioning the pedigree of their midfield ensemble.

Headlined by skipper and four-time Charles Sutton Medal winner Marcus Bontempelli, the Dogs' midfield group is packed with star talent and versatility heading into their 2023 campaign.

Bontempelli is arguably the premier midfielder of the competition and will look to retain a title of that degree this year following a 2022 season that was hindered by injury and positional changes.

With the likes of Josh Dunkley and Lachie Hunter departing the Kennel in the off-season, you can expected Bontempelli, and other, to find themselves picking up more midfield minutes compared to yesteryear.

Among those will be luckless half-forward Toby McLean and father-son Dog Rhylee West, who are both looking to impress in midfield when given the chance to relieve Luke Beveridge's top line of midfielders through rotations.

That line includes ball magnet Jack Macrae, hard nut Tom Liberatore and young gun Bailey Smith, who each bring their own star traits to the centre of the field.

Macrae has continued to be a reliable asset for Beveridge and Bontempelli, working as the latter's partner in crime.

Liberatore was arguably the Dogs' best onballer last season as a constant threat at centre bounces, while Smith could be primed for more inside work after previously being shifted to the wing and even in attack.

The wing spots look to be up for grabs heading into 2023, with new recruit Oskar Baker making a strong case across the pre-season to line up against his former club Melbourne in Round 1.

Former Magpie Adam Treloar will be among those that find themselves playing both inside and outside through midfield, while the likes of West, McLean, Bailey Williams, Anthony Scott and Roarke Smith will also be trialled on the wings.

The Dogs were able to strengthen their support for first-string ruckman Tim English through the trade window, securing key-position talent Rory Lobb from Fremantle.

While English will continue to carry the bulk of the ruck workload and will likely rotate forward with Lobb pinch-hitting.