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Guide to the AFL Draft: When, how to watch and who’s gone first overall recently

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2023 AFL Draft

Every aspiring Aussie Rules player’s dream of making the AFL becomes a reality once they hear their name read aloud on Draft day.

And dreams will soon come true, as hype slowly builds towards the 2023 AFL Draft.

Not only is it a special day for the players selected, but it’s equally as important for a number of clubs who are desperate to start turning their side’s fortunes around, off the back of some much-needed fresh talent.

Sides are already seeing the fruits of their most recent draft picks; Harry Sheezel for North Melbourne and Will Ashcroft at the Lions are showing that things can happen very quickly.

The 2023 AFL Draft is shaping up to be one of the best classes in recent years, with Vic Country superstar and runaway favourite for the first overall pick, Harley Reid, headlining the lot.

2023 AFL Draft, Harley Reid
Harley Reid is set to be taken first overall in the 2023 AFL Draft.

Reid has become the wanted prized possession for many clubs, so much so that the narrative around the league is that West Coast, North Melbourne and Hawthorn were in a ‘race’ for his services, dubbed the Need For Reid.

The Eagles ended up winning said ‘race’, claiming the top pick in the 2023 AFL Draft. Now the question is whether or not the club will use the pick, or trade back and multiply it into a few shots at the stumps.

It’s expected that West Coast will fend off early trade offers and hold the asset up until the last minute… if they do decide to part with it.

As per usual, there is plenty of top end talent coming out of Victoria, but that doesn’t mean ‘outsiders’ are being ignored, with an Allies (NSW, QLD, ACT, NT and TAS) player currently rising into top three contention.

With the big day not far away, let’s have a bird’s eye look at the 2023 AFL Draft and where some of the popular names in the class are expected to go.

2023 AFL Draft
Your typical Draft room.

When is the 2023 AFL Draft?

November 20 & 21, 2023

Round 1: November 20

Rounds 2 & 3: November 21

Pre-Season and Rookie Draft: November 22

There’s also an AFL Trade Period to get through first as well, from October 9-18, which will start heating up after the Grand Final and subsequently shape some of the AFL Draft’s major drama.

Pre-season supplemental selection period: December 2023 – February 2024

How can you watch the 2023 AFL Draft?

Still with no official date given by the AFL, you can expect the 2023 AFL Draft will be available to stream via Foxtel and Kayo.

Kayo has shown the past few AFL Drafts on its streaming platform, dating back to its inception in 2018. They are still available for viewing today.

The AFL Draft doesn’t attract the same interest as the corresponding events in the United States, like the NBA or NFL equivalents, where the players picked are already high-profile – and older athletes – that have shot to stardom through the highly popular college system. The point being made is that this event doesn’t draw major mainstream broadcast interest.

2023 AFL Draft, NFL Draft
NFL Draft (Roger Goodell) vs the AFL Draft (the retiring CEO Gillon McLachlan)

How long has there been an AFL Draft?

The first Draft was in 1981

A draft system first popped up in the AFL, VFL at the time, in the early 1980s, in response to increasing player salaries and declining crowd attendances that threatened to end the league.

Even then it maintained the format of the reverse ladder positioning to determine the Draft order, which is quite different to the NBA’s model involving a lottery.

Since it’s introduction into the AFL, rules associated with draft related things such as priority picks, father-son rule and the rookie draft as a whole have changed but the premise has always been to equalises each side as much as possible.

2023 AFL Draft, Jed Walter
Jed Walter has early top three interest | 2023 AFL Draft

Who have the previous first picks been in the AFL Draft?

Vic Country star Harley Reid is practically a lock for the first pick in the 2023 AFL Draft, due to his incredible scoring ability and all round dominance on the ball.

But who have been the ‘Harley Reids’ of the past?

Given we’ve also written up a Best all time Pick 1s piece, here are the last 10 first overalls too:

The last 10 AFL #1 Draft picks

2022: Aaron Cadman (GWS Giants)

2021: Jason Horne-Francis (North Melbourne)

2020: Jarmarra Ugle-Hagan (Western Bulldogs)

2019: Matt Rowell (Gold Coast)

2018: Sam Walsh (Carlton)

2017: Cameron Rayner (Brisbane Lions)

2016: Andrew McGrath (Essendon)

2015: Jacob Weitering (Carlton)

2014: Paddy McCartin (St Kilda)

2013: Tom Boyd (GWS Giants)

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