Ryley Sanders and Harvey Gallagher will make their AFL debuts this weekend against Melbourne at the MCG.

It caps off an impressive pre-season for the 19-year-old Sanders, who arrived via pick 6 in last year’s draft, and a long-awaited debut for the 20-year-old Gallagher, who endured an injury-interrupted 2023 after being selected with pick 39 in 2022.

The duo were advised of the news at the end of Thursday morning’s training session.

Sanders is a strong-bodied, accumulative and hard-working midfielder hailing from North Launceston.

The former Sandringham Dragons dual-Premiership player has earned high praise both inside and outside the four walls for his professionalism and dedication.


“It feels great – I’ve just been stoked with how welcoming all the players and coaches have been towards me. I’ve just felt so comfortable and they’ve let me do the things that got me drafted, so I’m glad that’s shown in the pre-season and Bevo and the coaches have picked me,” Sanders said.

“It’s an unreal opportunity to debut at any time, but especially in round one in front of a big crowd at the MCG against a good side in Melbourne – it’ll be great.”

It’s a story of persistence for Gallagher, the former Bendigo Pioneers captain and best-and-fairest who was overlooked in his initial draft class.

With an impressive work-rate and speed, he will finally have his senior opportunity 471 days after arriving at the Kennel. 

“It’s been a bit of an interrupted first year, but after a solid pre-season it’s been good to get the runs on the board,” Gallagher said.

“It’s pretty cool debuting at the ‘G too – I’ve never played there so that will be pretty nice as well.”


The Bulldogs have also confirmed trio Nick Coffield, James Harmes and Lachie Bramble as club debutants, ahead of the 26-player squad to be released at 6.20pm AEDT tonight.

The team will then be finalised at 5pm AEDT on Friday.

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