The Western Bulldogs have drafted Tasmanian midfielder Ryley Sanders with their first selection in the 2023 AFL National Draft.
Taken with Pick 6, Sanders is a strong-bodied, accumulative and hard-working midfielder that possesses the ability to play both inside and outside.
Originally hailing from North Launceston, the 18-year-old with Indigenous heritage is a dual premiership player with the Sandringham Dragons after relocating to Victoria and boarding at Melbourne Grammar.
He dominated for the Allies in the U18 National Championships, averaging 35 disposals at 80% efficiency, five clearances and four tackles from four games, to be awarded the Larke Medal as the best-and-fairest player.
Sanders was also named captain of the All-Australian team after leading the Allies to their maiden title, highlighting his impact and leadership qualities.
Here’s how AFL Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan described him:
A strong-bodied midfielder who is both powerful and courageous in his attack on the ball and with the pressure he exerts on the opposition in contests.
His strong two-way running is another feature of his game and was on display as dominated for the Allies at the National Championships, averaging 35 disposals at 80 percent efficiency, with 14.5 contested possessions, five clearances and four tackles to win the Larke Medal as the best and fairest player.
Caught the eye with a strong performance for the Australia under-18 team in its representative match against Port Adelaide’s SANFL side and backed it up in the second match against Carlton’s VFL side where he collected 24 disposals to be one of the side’s best in victory.
Ryley Sanders – player profile
State league club: Sandringham Dragons
Community club: North Launceston