Ollie Murphy, Connor O'Sullivan and Daniel Curtin took out their team's MVP at the 2023 AFL National Championships. Pictures: AFL Photos

AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan has released profiles on the top tall defender prospects ahead of the 2023 AFL Draft.

The 2023 AFL Draft will be held on Monday, November 20 and Tuesday, November 21. The 2023 AFL Rookie Draft will follow on Wednesday, November 22.

Sheehan's player profiles will be released by positional group each week ahead of this year's Draft.

The players profiled attended the 2023 AFL Draft Combine or 2023 AFL State Draft Combine which were held during October.

>>> INDICATIVE DRAFT ORDER Your club's picks as they stand

The tall defenders group includes three players who claimed their team’s MVP award at the 2023 AFL National Championships in Daniel Curtin (Western Australia), Ollie Murphy (Victoria Metro) and Connor O’Sullivan (Allies).

Keep updated with all the latest news ahead of the 2023 AFL Draft at the AFL Draft Hub.


Daniel Curtin
State: Western Australia
State League Club: Claremont
Community Club: West Coast
Date of Birth: 08/03/05
Height: 197cm

A left-footed defender who experienced a frustrating run with injury during the 2022 season before getting back to play in the AFL Futures game at the MCG on AFL Grand Final day. He excelled for Team Houli with 22 disposals and nine marks to claim best on the ground honours. Continued that form into this season and was outstanding for Western Australia at the National Championships winning his team’s MVP award and All-Australian honours after averaging 23.5 disposals and 6.5 marks playing as a defender and midfielder. Played a handful of senior games at club level and ended the season being one of his team’s best in a premiership win at under 18s level. His agility, speed for his size and precise kicking are all features of his game.

Wil Dawson
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: Gippsland Power
Community Club: Leongatha
Date of Birth: 20/12/05
Height: 200cm

Developed as a potential tall defender throughout the year but also played up forward and in the ruck. Still developing physically having grown 20cm in the past two years but has maintained his ability at ground level, where he is clean below the knees. Doesn’t turn 18 until late December making him only just eligible for this year’s Draft. Showed distinct promise in his 13 games for the Gippsland Power in the Coates Talent League as well as for Victoria Country, where he displayed aggression and intensity in the way he attacked the ball.

Will McCabe
State: South Australia
State League Club: Central District
Community Club: Tanunda
Date of Birth: 29/09/05
Height: 197cm

A tall defender who has also gone forward at times this year and has continued to develop nicely. He had an excellent year at under 18 level for Central District where he averaged 21.8 disposals and 5.9 marks across nine matches. He was also one South Australia’s better players at the National Championships. A competitive type who has a good natural leap and is very strong overhead. Is eligible to join Hawthorn under the father-son rule as the son of former Hawk Luke McCabe who played 138 games from 1995 to 2004.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: William McCabe of South Australia (R) competes for the ball during the 2023 AFL National Championships match between Vic Country and South Asutralia at Ikon Park on June 18, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Photos)

James McLaughlin
Country: Ireland
County: County Galway
Date of Birth: 09/12/02
Height: 194cm

Potential tall defender who is a star of the Gaelic game. Won under 17 All Ireland honours as a midfielder and is now a member of Galway’s senior team with his agility and prowess overhead real features of his game. A talented all-round sportsman he also excels at basketball, soccer and golf. Has adapted quickly to the oval ball at training in Dublin and at tryouts in Australia and has the positive mindset to be capable of switching codes and being a success.

Ollie Murphy
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Sandringham Dragons
Community Club: East Brighton Vampires
Date of Birth: 16/09/05
Height: 200cm

A lightly built tall defender who sets up the play with his neat left-foot kicking. Shows real composure with the ball in hand and is strong overhead. Is also a capable decision maker in one-on-one contests on when to mark or spoil. Although new to playing in defence this season he adapted remarkably well. Was outstanding for Victoria Metro in the National Championships winning his team’s MVP award and All Australian honours after averaging 11.2 disposals and 4.5 marks per match. He capped off a great year playing in the Sandringham Dragons premiership team in the Coates Talent League.

Connor O’Sullivan
State: NSW/ACT
State League Club: Murray Bushrangers
Community Club: Albury
Date of Birth: 19/05/05
Height: 198cm

Athletic tall defender who was outstanding for the title-winning Allies at the National Championships winning their MVP award and All Australian honours. O’Sullivan averaged 17.8 disposals at 86 percent efficiency as well as averaging 8.2 marks and providing great rebound to lead an almost impassible Allies defence. He has an exciting natural leap, good speed and elite endurance highlighted with a top 10 placing in the 2km time trial at the AFL Draft Combine, where he recorded a time of 6:11. Also showed he can go forward and have an impact during his time with the Murray Bushrangers.

Will Patton
State: South Australia
State League Club: West Adelaide
Community Club: Mitcham
Date of Birth: 04/01/05
Height: 192cm

Left-footed defender who captained South Australia at the National Championships and was a consistent performer throughout, which was rewarded with All Australian honours. Showed he can play on both taller and smaller opponents and averaged 17 disposals at 89.7 percent efficiency and 4.8 marks. Uses the ball exceptionally well by hand and foot and sets up the play with his ball use from defence. Had shoulder surgery which curtailed the back end of his season but is on track to a complete recovery.

Ari Schoenmaker
Pronunciation: Show-en-maker
State: Tasmania
State League Club: Tasmania Devils
Community Club: Launceston
Date of Birth: 07/01/05
Height: 194cm

Left-footed tall defender who reads the game exceptionally well to intercept and is a prodigious kick of the ball. Had a very impressive back half of the year, which included being selected for the Allies in their final two matches of the National Championships. He showed the ability to also play on the wing and averaged 27 disposals at 75 percent efficiency as well as 5.9 marks and 9.6 rebound 50s in his eight matches with the Tasmania Devils in the Coates Talent League to be one of their most impressive performers.

Zane Zakostelsky
Pronunciation: Zac-oh-stel-ski
State: Western Australia
State League Club: Claremont
Community Club: North Beach
Date of Birth: 14/12/05
Height: 196cm

Tall defender and ruckman who developed rapidly as the year progressed. Was selected in the final two games for Western Australia at the National Championships with his incept marking a feature. Was a consistent performer for Claremont at Colts level averaging 15.2 disposals in 13 matches and was best on ground in the club’s Grand Final win with 22 disposals and 14 hitouts. Followed up that performance by being one of the athletic stars of the National Combine. His standing vertical jump of 80cm ranked number one overall along with producing top-six times in the agility test (8.23 seconds) and 20m sprint (2.95 seconds). Potential Draft bolter who doesn’t turn 18 years until mid-December so has plenty of upside.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 06: Zane Zakostelsky (Claremont) participates in the 2km time trial during the 2023 AFL National Draft Combine at AIA Centre on October 06, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)


Mutaz El Nour
Pronunciation: Moo-taz
State: Victoria
State League Club: Richmond VFL
Community Club: Caroline Springs
Date of Birth: 14/08/01
Height: 192cm

Tall defender with Sudanese heritage who has an exciting aerial game using his long reach and natural spring to mark and spoil. Is also a composed decision-maker and neat user of the ball by hand and foot. First came under notice as a member of the Western Bulldogs NGA program and has gone on to establish himself at VFL level playing 34 games over the past three years with the Northern Bullants and Richmond. Played 16 matches with the Tigers this year and continued his development averaging 12.9 disposals at 80 percent efficiency and 3.8 marks to remain on the radar of AFL scouts.

Oscar Gawith
Pronunciation: Gore-th
State: Victoria Country
State League Club: GWV Rebels
Community Club: Minyip-Murtoa
Date of Birth: 23/05/05
Height: 193cm

A strongly-built tall defender who excels in one-on-one contests and makes good decisions on when to mark and spoil. His consistent form with the GWV Rebels earned him selection for Victoria Country. Played the final two National Championship games including against the Allies with his containment of the highly regarded Jed Walter seeing him recognised as one of Victoria Country’s best. A courageous player under the ball with impressive mobility, he played nine games in the Coates Talent League averaging nine disposals.

Patrick Snell
State: Northern Territory/Queensland
State League Club: Brisbane Lions Academy
Community Club: Southern Districts/Wilston Grange
Date of Birth 18/07/05
Height: 194 cm

Left-footed tall defender who has also shown versatility playing for the Brisbane Lions Academy having the ability to also go forward and have an impact. Was a consistent player in five games for the Lions in the Coates Talent League, averaging 13.6 disposals. He then stepped up to become part of the Allies’ strong defensive unit during the National Championships. Was impressive during testing at the State Draft Combine held in Melbourne with his 3.03 seconds for the 20m sprint showing his speed off the mark.

Cooper Trembath
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Eastern Ranges
Community Club: Park Orchards
Date of Birth: 17/10/05
Height: 193cm

Tall defender whose ability to read the game had him ranked first for intercept marks in the Coates Talent League. Played 13 matches for the Ranges averaging 6.8 marks as well as 14.3 disposals and was a member of the Grand Final team that went down to the Sandringham Dragons. Experienced a taste of VFL football with Frankston to add to his development in 2023. His natural impressive leap was highlighted during Combine testing where he recorded 88cm for the running vertical jump which was the fourth best result produced at the State Draft Combine in Melbourne.

Bailey van de Heuvel
State: Victoria
State League Club: Geelong Cats (VFL)
Community Club: Ballarat
Date of Birth: 31/07/98
Height: 198cm

A mature-aged defender now in his third year at VFL level who impressed for Geelong this season after two years with Footscray. Really emerged as a Draft smokie due to his late season form for the Cats which earned him an invitation to the Draft Combine as a 25-year-old. A strong intercept mark, he can also lock down an opponent and is ultra competitive. Had a consistent VFL season playing 17 matches and averaging 11.4 disposals and six marks.

Nick Williams
State: Queensland
State League Club: Gold Coast Suns Academy
Community Club: Surfers Paradise
Date of Birth: 02/05/04
Height: 190cm

Tall defender who is very strong in the contest particularly one-on-one in marking contests where he holds his ground well to mark or spoil. Played five matches for the Gold Coast Suns Academy in both the Coates Talent League and the VFL. Held down the key defensive post for the Allies in their unbeaten Championship-winning side averaging 10.8 disposals at 77 percent efficiency and 3.5 marks. Tested soundly at the State Draft Combine with his 6:41 for the 2km time trial a strong performance.