13/04/2024
Harley Reid at under 18 level.

Harley Reid is the top 2023 AFL Draft prospect. (Image: AFL)

After Collingwood, GWS, Melbourne and Richmond unveiled Opening Round debutants, Round One featured some highly touted talent from Geelong, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, St Kilda, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs.

The Inner Sanctum casts their eyes over all the players that debuted for the remaining ten teams that did not take part in Opening Round last week.

Find the analysis from the Opening Round’s edition of The Debutant Ball here.

Geelong

Shaun Mannagh

The 26-year old mature age recruit started as the sub in his debut against the Saints, coming on the last quarter to have an impact. His first touch was a toe-poke off the ground to set up a crucial Cats goal. Mannagh followed up with four more kicks and two tackles, in what was an impressive first up display. Cats fans would be hoping he gets a full game in Round Two. 

Scott Kertes

Hawthorn

Nick Watson

Nick Watson gave but a glimpse of what he is capable of in a debut loss to Essendon, finishing with a tally of five possessions, all of them kicks. 

He operated almost exclusively in the forward 50-metre arc. He did, however, show that he knew where the goals were, with three scores, albeit all minor ones. 

Given that the Hawks kicked only 11 goals from their 28 scoring shots, he was not the only one with this problem. Hawthorn supporters knew they were getting a crumbing forward in the old-fashioned style, and they will be confident that better days are to come.

Hugh Maclean

North Melbourne

Zane Duursma 

Pick 4 in the 2023 AFL Draft, Zane Duursma impressed in his debut for North Melbourne.

The midfielder kicked two goals, including the Roos’ first goal of the match and had 10 disposals, seven of which were contested.

The younger brother of Essendon recruit Xavier, Duursma’s goals were great to see, but his marking prowess coming across the pack is the compliment to Nick Larkey that the Roos have been searching for. 

Colby McKercher

After an impressive performance in the pre-season match simulation against Collingwood, Colby McKercher continued to show why he is a genuine contender for the Rising Star this year.

The number two draft pick was solid in defence against a strong GWS outfit, collecting 22 disposals. An exciting young player, McKercher also had 18 kicks at 85 per cent efficiency and wasn’t afraid to take the game on. 

Toby Pink

After an incredible season for Glenelg in the SANFL, Toby Pink was handed a second chance at AFL level, joining North Melbourne as a delisted unrestricted free agent. Seven years after he was initially drafted by Sydney, Pink finally made his AFL debut. The 25 year old key defender collected 10 disposals but often found himself exposed against GWS forward Jesse Hogan. 

Monique Quercio

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St. Kilda

Darcy Wilson

Pick 18 in last year’s draft, Wilson looked right at home in the pre-season games, and this continued into Round 1 against the Cats.

Mostly deployed up forward, Wilson provided great pressure, laying three tackles. He also clearly has great goal sense, being in the right place to capatilise and kick 2.1, Saints fans would be most excited by this young prospect.

Lance Collard

Taken with pick 28 in last year’s national draft, Collard started as the sub in his first senior game. Unfortunately for him, he was only brought on late and whilst managing to win a free kick, did not get the chance to claim his first possession, as advantage was taken! The young Saint will be hoping for a full game against the Pies in Round Two.

Scott Kertes

West Coast

Harley Reid

In news that surprises nobody, this kid will be a jet. Reid took to AFL football like a duck to water and showed his sheer power early when he had multiple Port players attempting to bring him down. He was busy early on, and finished with 17 touches, nine contested and four score involvements. Life will get much easier, Eagles fans.

Jack Hudson

Western Bulldogs

Harvey Gallagher

It was a long wait for Gallagher to get his shot at the top level, with injuries standing in the way of an AFL debut. Gallagher’s nerves were quickly settled, able to hit the scoreboard early with a goal. Gallagher finished the match with one goal, five tackles  and nine disposals. 

Ryley Sanders

Although subbed out of the match during the third quarter, Sanders was solid in his first outing in the red, white and blue. Sanders had clean ball use especially early on in the match and was able to link up in the bulldogs chains of play. Sanders finished with 15 disposals and seven marks. 

Elly McNerney

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