With the 2023 AFL Draft period coming to an end on Wednesday, Bulldogs National Recruiting Manager Dom Milesi is pleased with the Club’s haul.
The Bulldogs drafted Larke Medallist Ryley Sanders with pick 6 on Monday, before matching a bid for father-son recruit Jordan Croft at pick 15.
Another three talented youngsters were added to the list on Tuesday, with Joel Freijah, Lachlan Smith and Aiden O’Driscoll joining the red, white and blue with picks 45, 47 and 55 respectively.
Here’s what Milesi had to say about each of the Club’s selections, and the decision to re-draft Taylor Duryea and Lachie McNeil via the Rookie Draft.
“His contested work, his professionalism, his leadership – the fact we were able to get into the top end of the draft and bring in a player who is going to be a high-end talent was an objective for us as list management.
“We’re really excited about what Ryley is going to bring.”
“Clearly with Crofty – father-sons are always exciting for the supporters, but also for us to be able to access another developing tall. I think we’re really blessed as a Club.
“With Jordan’s athleticism, I think he’s going to bring a lot of different attributes to the group that we’ve already got.”
“We’re really excited to bring Joel in as a 190cm running wingman. He’s got an elite running profile for the position he plays, and plays the wing really well. He’s had some big games at Coates League during the year, and with a late birthday feel he has a bit of growth in him.
“He’s a fantastic young kid and is really going to work hard when he gets to the Club.”
“In terms of Lachie – what we’re bringing in there is a real competitor. With Jordon Sweet leaving, we really wanted to bring in another young ruckman to help develop under Tim English. Given Lachie’s basketball background, he hasn’t played a lot of footy growing up but we’re really confident in a full-time program – with the rate of improvement he showed late in the year – he’s only going to blossom.
“He’s certainly going to compete straight away at VFL level and be aggressive, which is what we want in a ruckman.”
“Aiden’s athletic profile is really high-end – he was the fastest player at the Draft Combine and has great endurance as well. It’s rare to get that mix.
“He’s clearly got a bit of pedigree with two siblings already in the pathway, and is just a little ball of energy. He can play that small forward role, which is probably something we were looking at, but can also play higher up the ground with his running. I think he’ll really add something different to the group as well.”
We promise to make it a home away from home for Aiden ❤️ https://t.co/Uzl837MBNw— Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) November 21, 2023
“Under the rules, we had to delist both Taylor and Lachie to have more picks with points attached to match a bid for Jordan – but the intention was always to bring them back in.
“We’re very pleased to do so – clearly both of them have shown they can play really valuable roles in our best side at AFL level and will be valuable parts of the squad in 2024.”