The Sydney Swans have welcomed two new draftees to the red and white, following the opening night of the 2023 AFL Draft held on Monday, November 21.
The first new face to the club is 18-year-old ruckman Will Green, our first round selection, pick 16, recruited from the Northern Knights. The 204cm ruckman and Knights co-captain has impressed in his development to date, playing 14 Coates Talent League matches and featured in the Under 17 Futures showcase on AFL Grand Final day.
“It was crazy because I couldn’t see much as everyone swarmed over me,” Green recalled of the moment he found out he was drafted alongside his family and friends.
“It was surreal and honestly it’s a dream come true.”
Shortly after finding out he was drafted, senior coach John Longmire surprised Green at his family home.
“I didn’t expect it, walking down the hallway, but what a dream. To have your new coach, walking down your hallway, it means it’s real now,” Green said.
“I am down and ready for pre-season. Let’s roll.”
He was also selected in the National Academy, played twice in Australian colours against VFL opposition this year and was selected as the starting ruck in the 2023 Team of the Year having also been named in the All-Australian side.
Sydney Swans recruiting manager Simon Dalrymple was impressed by Green’s development, pinpointing plenty of potential.
“Will is a young ruckman who developed quickly in the back half of the season as he went on to earn selection in the Under 18 All Australian side,” Dalrymple said.
“He is a ruckman who models his game on Tim English and has similar attributes in terms of elite endurance, very good footy IQ and skills.”
Green will be joined by a familiar face in red and white, with QBE Sydney Swans Academy product, Caiden Cleary, the clubs second selection of the night, matching Collingwood’s bid for pick 24.
Cleary is no stranger to senior level football for the club, having played six games at VFL level for Sydney. His best VFL performance was 22 disposals and seven clearances against cross-town rivals GWS, and he matched that performance the following week against the Gold Coast Suns.
“Caiden is an inside midfielder whose development is a credit to himself and the QBE Swans Academy, which resulted in under 18 All Australian selection,” Dalrymple said.
“Caiden is an elite endurance runner and a fanatical trainer who can’t wait to start pre-season.”
Cleary came into his draft year on the back of strong bottom-age form, which saw him represent NSW-ACT and the Allies. He has performed strongly throughout his junior career, with starring performances in the Under 17 Futures game and the U18 National Championships with the Allies, who won the title for the first time.
In exciting news for our members and fans, Green and Cleary will join the rest of their Swans squad who return to pre-season next week.
The second night of the 2023 AFL Draft will be held tonight, where the Swans will enter with picks 59, 70 and 71. Stay tuned to the Swans social media channels for all the latest news as it unfolds throughout the evening.