L-R: Tyler Welsh, Levi Ashcroft, Kade Herbert, Finn O'Sullivan. Pictures: AFL Photos

ON TO the next one. 

After the national and rookie drafts were completed, it will not take long for clubs to narrow their focus on the 2024 draft crop.

The 2023 season already saw a stack of impressive types get to strut their stuff as bottom-agers, meaning a number have established their credentials as early picks before their draft seasons commence.

AFL.com.au releases its list of the 10 prospects to watch for the following draft annually, with the 2024 list (in alphabetical order) below. Keep track of these names.


Levi Ashcroft

Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro

Ashcroft couldn't have had a better bottom-aged season, claiming under-18 All-Australian honours after starring for Vic Metro at the national carnival, helping Sandringham Dragons to a premiership in the Coates Talent League and also winning the Dragons' best and fairest. The midfielder and younger brother of Lion Will is a similar player in his inside/outside onball mix, while also being a regular goalkicker. The Brisbane father-son prospect averaged 27 disposals and more than a goal in 11 Dragons game this year and will be a contender for the No.1 pick. 


Sid Draper

South Adelaide/South Australia

A super season for Draper saw him named South Australia's MVP at the under-18 carnival, be picked as a part of the All-Australian team, win the best afield medal for South Adelaide's under-18 Grand Final victory and then be given the AFL life members scholarship. The hard-at-it midfielder looks to Brisbane gun Lachie Neale as his footy idol, hoping to use his clean hands and smart play to get his side going. He also experienced the senior level with South Adelaide in the SANFL and impressed, with his consistency a key factor in his game. The younger brother of Arlo Draper, who was delisted by the Magpies this year. 


Tom Gross

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

With a tenacious and tough approach, there is a bit of Rory Sloane in the way Gross attacks his game. He spent the 2023 season with the Chargers as a forward/midfielder, kicking nearly a goal a game, including a couple of big games late in the Coates Talent League campaign. He has a bit of a rugged nature to his play that sees him throw himself into contests and come out the other side with the ball.  


Kade Herbert

Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia

Herbert was able to get some good experiences under his belt through 2023, including getting a taste of senior football at the Eagles. For his state he played in the midfield for the under-18s side, with his versatility to roll through the wing, midfield and forward line among his strengths. 

Kade Herbert in action during the U18 National Championships match between South Australia and the Allies at Thebarton Oval on June 4, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Sam Lalor

Greater Western Victoria Rebels/Vic Country

Lalor is a talented cricketer and footballer, with his football traits on display in recent years for the Rebels and also in the Vic Country program. The stronger-bodied prospect is a bit taller than some of his midfield contemporaries and he can also go through the forward line. He has some power to get out of stoppages and get the ball out to his teammates. Lalor has been a part of Cricket Victoria's elite junior programs as well to claim All-Australian honours. 

Sam Lalor looks to break a tackle during the U18 National Championships match between Vic Country and WA at the WACA on June 30, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Christian Moraes 

Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro

Moraes just kept on playing well and getting better in 2023. The Eastern Ranges product played 16 games and showed his smooth-moving capabilities through the middle, averaging 26 disposals a game. His classy skills were on show right through the Ranges' finals series, with Moraes averaging 27 disposals in four finals games and having 24 touches and a goal in the Grand Final defeat. Looks among the best midfield candidates to start 2024. 


Finn O'Sullivan

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Country

Another midfielder who will start the year in contention for the No.1 pick. O'Sullivan is a gun – he is tough, consistent, can mark overhead strongly for his size and has a nice blend to his game. O'Sullivan is a second cousin of Carlton star Sam Walsh and plays in a similar manner to the star Blue, regularly dominating games and standing up at key moments. O'Sullivan boards at Xavier College in Melbourne but plays for Vic Country, where he featured in 2023 at under-18 level. 


Josh Smillie

Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro

The tall midfielder of the top end of the draft. Smillie is a contested, big-bodied midfielder from the Ranges who also featured for Vic Metro at the under-18 carnival. The 17-year-old looms as a top-five pick candidate given his size and dominance around the ball, having averaged 26 disposals for the Ranges before injury cut short his campaign. He had three games of 30 or more disposals for Eastern and should be a dominant player in 2024.  

Josh Smillie in action during the AFL Futures match between Team Naitanui and Team Selwood at the MCG on September 30, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Jagga Smith

Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro

Smith is a ball magnet – he has shown that at every level he's played and he continues to do the same. The midfielder just knows where to be to get it in his hands and he averaged 30 disposals for the Chargers in 10 games in 2023. He was a standout against the Eastern Ranges in the Chargers' elimination final with 26 disposals and a goal and five inside-50s and was also consistent for Vic Metro at the carnival. The moves of Jagga make him hard to catch, regularly twisting and turning past opponents with the ball in his hands. 

Jagga Smith handballs during the U18 National Championships match between Vic Metro and Vic Country at Ikon Park on June 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Tyler Welsh

Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia

Welsh kicked five goals for South Australia in his first appearance for the under-18 side during the mid-year carnival. He showed his power and forward craft, banging in goals from different means. He had been injured earlier in the year and was made to work for his spot in the side, with the son of former Adelaide, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne forward Scott Welsh eligible to join the Crows as a father-son. He shapes as a medium/tall forward given his height but clearly knows his way around goal.