With all 18 AFL teams nearing finalised lists ahead of the new year, clubs have seen a shuffle in their standing among the ladder of oldest and youngest squads

Geelong broke records with their veteran-heavy squad in 2022, having the oldest and most experienced list this year at an average of 25.6 years and 94.4 games per player.

But age was no issue for the Cats, who would clinch the premiership with a resounding 81-point victory over Sydney in the season decider.

Adelaide had the youngest list for 2022, with Adelaide's squad averaging 23.5 years of age and 45.6 games of AFL experience each.

Now turning our attention toward another season, we look at how the off-season of recruits, retirements and draft additions have impacted the order of the oldest and youngest lists in the AFL.



Average Age: 23.82 years (17th oldest)
Average Games: 53.36 games (17th highest)

After ranking 18th last season for both age and experience, the Crows move one rug up in both categories following another season that heavily relied on their youth.

The Crows' oldest departure was veteran defender Luke Brown, while the club injected another wave of youth through the off-season, headlined by the acquisition of Izak Rankine, who landed back in South Australia at the age of 22.

Adelaide also acquired Max Michalanney, Hugh Bind and Billy Dowling through the National Draft to further bolster their youthful ranks.


Average Age: 25.14 years (3rd)
Average Games: 79.61 games (4th)

The Lions were the ninth oldest and ninth most experienced side in 2022, but following the additions of mature-aged talent in Jack Gunston (31 years of age), Conor McKenna (27) and Josh Dunkley (26), they ascended on the age ladder.

Skipper Dayne Zorko (34) is lifting the average, while Daniel Rich (32) and Jarryd Lyons (30) will also lead the way next year.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Dayne Zorko of the Lions looks dejected after a goal by Kysaiah Pickett of the Demons during the round 23 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Melbourne Demons at The Gabba on August 19, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The future is still very bright in Brisbane however, with a pair of first-round father-son selections in Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher heading to the Lions.


Average Age: 24.68 years (8th)
Average Games: 65.98 games (10th)

The Blues sat in the middle of the table for age and experience last year and look set to do the same again after a quieter off-season.

The Blues' list gained an extra 0.5 years to its average age despite the departures of Jack Newnes, Will Hayes and Oscar McDonald, among others.

Carlton also added a handful of draftees and Blake Acres through the trade period, seeing Michael Voss' squad placed within a demographic that should be competing for a premiership next year.


Average Age: 24.99 years (6th)
Average Games: 73.47 games (6th)

While seen by some as one of the younger lists in the AFL, the Magpies' high age and experience ranking can come down to a small group of veterans.

Scott Pendlebury (35 years of age), Jeremy Howe (32), Steele Sidebottom (32) and Mason Cox (32) all significantly lift the average age of Craig McRae's squad.

(L-R): Collingwood draftees Jakob Ryan, Ed Allan and Joe Richards (Image: Collingwood FC)

Collingwood are home to 22 players 23 years and under for 2023, meaning they're certainly not short on youth.


Average Age: 23.85 years (16th)
Average Games: 56.20 games (15th)

Only home to a pair of players over the age of 30 (Dyson Heppell and Andrew Phillips), Brad Scott has taken on a young and promising list at Tullamarine.

Their new-look list demographic comes after the retirements of Michael Hurley and Devon Smith, while mature-aged personnel in Tom Cutler, Garrett McDonagh, Aaron Francis and Alec Waterman also departed.

Their heavy focus on the draft across the past couple of seasons has also helped quickly turn the Bombers' list into a young one, with Essendon currently home to 14 players 20 or younger


Average Age: 24.05 years (14th)
Average Games: 55.30 games (16th)

Stunningly, Fremantle are one of the youngest sides in the competition despite amassing a top-six finish to this season.

Justin Longmuir's squad saw its average age plummet following the retirement of the AFL's oldest player in David Mundy, a departure that also significantly lowered the club's experience average.

The Dockers added a balance of youth and experience to their list through the off-season, with Jaeger O'Meara (29 years of age), Josh Corbett (26), Corey Wagner (26), Liam Reidy (22) and Luke Jackson (21) all heading west.


Average Age: 25.48 years (1st)
Average Games: 92.37 games (1st)

The Cats hold their place atop the AFL for age and experience, however have seen a decrease in both categories compared to 2022.

Having lost veteran talent Joel Selwood, Shaun Higgins and Luke Dahlhaus, Geelong's list has taken a further step toward youth.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: Joel Selwood of the Cats poses for a photo during 2022 AFL Premiership Captain's Day at Marvel Stadium on March 09, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

On top of two National Draft additions, the Cats secured young trade targets Tanner Bruhn, Oliver Henry and Jack Bowes for 2023.

Gold Coast

Average Age: 24.78 years (7th)
Average Games: 63.49 games (12th)

The numbers are a bit of a concern for the Suns, who have the seventh oldest list yet just the 12th most experienced side in the competition.

That imbalance perhaps comes after their recruitment of mature-aged talent in Connor Blakely, Jake Stein, Ben Long and Tom Berry.

The Suns also added just one the player through the National Draft in Pick 6 selection Bailey Humphrey.


Average Age: 24.18 years (12th)
Average Games: 57.24 games (14th)

GWS again sit on the younger and less experienced side of the competition, with the New South Wales side working through a rebuild under new senior coach Adam Kingsley.

The Giants saw senior personnel in Matt de Boer, Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto leave, while a total of eight young players joined the Giants through trading or draft avenues.

GWS Giants' Toby McMullin and senior coach Adam Kingsley (Image: GWS Giants Twitter)

GWS are still home to six players over 30 for 2023, with Callan Ward (33 years of age), Lachie Keeffe (33) and Phil Davis (32) bringing the average age up.


Average Age: 23.06 years (18th)
Average Games: 42.81 games (18th)

Little surprise to see the Hawks rank as the youngest and least experienced team in the AFL, having gutted almost all of their senior talent this off-season.

The Hawks bid farewell to five of the six oldest players from their 2022 squad, while 28-year-old Jaeger O'Meara also left for Fremantle.

After ranking 11th for experience this year, the Hawks have fallen seven spots in the league, while they also moved from 16th oldest to 18th.


Average Age: 25.08 years (5th)
Average Games: 84.93 games (2nd)

The Demons ranked seventh overall for experience last year and see their squad average for games played lift by 13.5 matches following the end of the 2022 season and acquisition windows.

Melbourne added a trio of experienced players in Brodie Grundy, Lachie Hunter and Josh Schache, who were joined by draft duo Matthew Jefferson and Jed Adams as arrivals this off-season.

The Demons lost young gun Luke Jackson to Fremantle, while uncapped defender Fraser Rosman, journeyman Mitch Brown and forward Sam Weideman were among eight players to leave Melbourne this year.

North Melbourne

Average Age: 23.92 years (15th)
Average Games: 60.05 games (13th)

North Melbourne finished 2022 last on the ladder with the third youngest list, and in 2023 they'll take the fourth youngest into the new year.

The Roos added some experience in the form of Fremantle pair Griffin Logue and Darcy Tucker, while delisted Hawk Daniel Howe joined North Melbourne through the Rookie Draft to add further experience to their squad.

Daniel Howe during the AFL match between Hawthorn and St Kilda in Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

Todd Goldstein (34 years of age), Aaron Hall (32), Jack Ziebell (32), Ben Cunnington (31) and Hugh Greenwood (31) are all over 30 for the Roos next year.

Port Adelaide

Average Age: 24.38 years (11th)
Average Games: 67.88 games (9th)

Port Adelaide had the fifth oldest and fourth most experienced list in 2022, however have seen themselves move toward the midriff of the age and experience ladder ahead of the new year.

On top of their trio of National Draft additions, the Power also added teenager Jason Horne-Francis through the trade period to further reposition their list.

The departures of Robbie Gray, Steven Motlop and Karl Amon shed a substantial amount of games from the Power's profile for 2023, which will still be heavily lifted by veteran midfielder Travis Boak.


Average Age: 25.13 years (4th)
Average Games: 83.05 games (3rd)

The Tigers ranked on the podium for both age and experience in 2022 and remain within the top three for the latter next year, while they fall just the one spot for average age across the competition.

Richmond bid farewell to senior talent in Shane Edwards, Kane Lambert and Josh Caddy this year, and could see their average age plummet further in 12 months time when champion pair Jack Riewoldt and Trent Cotchin likely call time on their stellar careers.

Shane Edwards and Liam Baker following the 2022 AFL Round 19 match between Richmond and Fremantle (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

The Tigers added almost 30 games of AFL experience with the additions of Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper, while Steely Green and Kaleb Smith were their only National Draft selections.

St Kilda

Average Age: 24.42 years (10th)
Average Games: 64.95 games (11th)

After ranking in the top third of the competition for age and experience in 2022, the Saints take a significant step back to be placed in the bottom half of the AFL for both categories.

This comes with little surprise given senior names in Paddy Ryder, Jarryn Geary, Daniel Hannebery, Jarrod Lienert, Dean Kent and Ben Long all departed.

The Saints also placed greater attention toward the draft, while Bulldogs free agent Zaine Cordy was their only addition through the sign and trade window.


Average Age: 24.08 years (13th)
Average Games: 69.48 games (8th)

The demographic of the Swans' list is stunning, with the grand finalists carrying the sixth youngest list into 2023.

Despite their youth on paper, Sydney are home to the eighth most experienced side in the competition, having given their younger ranks plenty of minutes in recent seasons.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Chad Warner of the Swans runs the ball during the round two AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 25, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

The Swans weren't too busty through the off-season, adding Aaron Francis through the trade period and calling on just three new faces in the National Draft.

West Coast

Average Age: 24.50 years (9th)
Average Games: 72.64 games (7th)

West Coast are one of the biggest movers for age and experience compared to last year, where they ranked as the second oldest and second most experienced side in the AFL.

The retirement of all-time goalkicking leader Josh J. Kennedy (35 years of age, 293 games) was a significant factor in the Eagles dropping in both categories, while the departures of Jack Redden, Junior Rioli and Jackson Nelson also helped.

Working through a rebuild, the Eagles added five players through the draft as well as 27-year-old flanker Jayden Hunt from Melbourne.

Western Bulldogs

Average Age: 25.45 years (2nd)
Average Games: 77.27 games (5th)

The recruitment of veteran targets Liam Jones and Rory Lobb see the Bulldogs lifted from fourth oldest and fifth most experienced to second and fifth respectively.

At the age of 32, Jones immediately becomes Luke Beveridge's oldest player, with the former Blues defender and Lobb now part of an eight-man list of over-30-year-olds at Whitten Oval for 2023.

Western Bulldogs' Rory Lobb and Liam Jones during the 2023 AFL-preseason (Image: Western Bulldogs Twitter)

The Dogs did shed some age and experience after losing Stefan Martin, Lachie Hunter, Josh Dunkley, Zaine Cordy, Mitch Wallis and Josh Schache.

Data via draftguru.com.au.