Will Graham in action during the Coates Talent League match between Gold Coast Academy and GWV Rebels at Ikon Park on May 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

WILL Graham was a Gold Coast member from the club's inception.

Alongside parents Andrew and Kylie and older brother Jackson, five-year-old Will was at Carrara to watch the fledgling Suns play home games in their first few years.

Even though he was a St Kilda supporter at heart, just like his grandad, dad and brother, the family wanted to support the AFL's 17th club in their own backyard.

It wasn't too many years down the track that Graham would join Gold Coast's Academy as a 12-year-old and is now in line to be drafted by the club alongside three of his best mates.

In many ways, he is the perfect example of everything good about the Suns' inclusion in the national competition – someone who knows nothing but having a local team to support that he can now play for.

"I've definitely been a supporter the whole way through," Graham told AFL.com.au.


"My family got memberships the first year they became a team, and I followed them the whole way through.

"We just wanted to be a part of it and support the club."

When Graham became part of the Suns Academy, he did so alongside a few boys that he would eventually become great mates with.

He played club football at Palm Beach Currumbin with Ethan Read and Jed Walter and would regularly come up against Jake Rogers at Broadbeach.

Will Graham (No.10) with fellow draft hopefuls Ethan Read (No.2), Jake Rogers (No.3) and Jed Walter (No.25) with the Suns Academy under-14 team. Picture: Suns Academy

The stories of Walter, Read and Rogers have been well told throughout the year and the Suns are set to match bids on all three inside the first-round of next week's draft.

And after a solid 2023, Graham is set to join them.

A powerful midfielder who developed as a half-back with the national under-18 champion Allies team, Graham has paid close attention to Collingwood premiership player Jack Crisp this year as someone's game he'd like to emulate.

He overcame two surgeries on a meniscus problem at the end of last year to put together a superb 2023, excelling with both the Suns and Allies and eventually getting a few games in the VFL.

Will Graham in action during the U18 Championships match between the Allies and Western Australia at Thebarton Oval on June 11, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Testing at the AFL Draft Combine showed off Graham's athletic potential. 

Already a strong endurance runner, he excelled in the power events, running 2.91 seconds to finish second in the 20m sprint and then placing third in both the standing and running vertical jumps.

Now he waits. Although the expectation is Graham will end up at the Suns, he said until it's confirmed, he'll be a little nervous.

Will Graham in action at the Draft Combine at Margaret Court Arena on October 8, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Regardless, the journey with some of his best mates has been well and truly worth it.

"It's pretty cool having the chance to maybe get drafted with three of your best mates that you've grown up with and playing footy the whole way through," he said.

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"Even to go through the process with these guys has been pretty surreal. 

"To train with them over the past five years or so and potentially get on a list together, you never know, that would be cool."