The start of the AFL season brings excitement for fans, especially with the possibility of seeing round-one debutants. Here’s a look at some of the uncapped youngsters hoping to make their mark this season.
Adelaide’s Max Michalanney, the son of premiership star Jim Michalanney, has impressed over the summer and may face Greater Western Sydney. However, he may be squeezed out by Wayne Milera, who missed a practice game due to personal reasons.
Brisbane’s Will Ashcroft, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft and a father-son pick, is already showing the build, nous and habits of an established star, and is a favourite for the Rising Star award.
Carlton’s top draftee Ollie Hollands and fellow pick-up Lachie Cowan will line up against Richmond. Hollands is likely to be named on a wing, opposite Fremantle recruit Blake Acres, and Cowan, a half-back from Tasmania, will also suit up.
Collingwood’s Ed Allan, the son of former Hawthorn star Ben Allan, shapes as the best bet for a debut against Geelong on Friday night.
Essendon’s Alwyn Davey jnr, a father-son draftee, has impressed through summer with his dash and goal nous, ahead of Sunday’s clash against Hawthorn.
Fremantle’s Matt Johnson, taken with pick No.21 in the 2021 draft, has hopes of facing the Saints after his rookie season was interrupted by a hairline fracture in his foot.
Geelong’s Cooper Whyte and Jhye Clark have both shown promise in the pre-season and could make their debut this season.
Gold Coast’s Bailey Humphrey, the No. 6 draft pick, was on track to play in the Suns’ season opener against the Swans until he sustained a nasty cut to one of his feet two weeks ago.
GWS’s Aaron Cadman, the No.1 draft pick and key forward, may not make his debut against Adelaide on Sunday, but academy product Josh Fahey may be a better round-one chance.
Hawthorn’s Cam Mackenzie, the No.7 selection, is likely to be the sole 2022 draftee to face Essendon.
Melbourne’s Bailey Laurie, the No.22 selection, may make his first senior game this season as a small forward.
North Melbourne’s Harry Sheezel, the No.3 pick, looks set to make a smooth transition to the AFL as a forward-midfielder.
Port Adelaide’s new draftees are still a while off selection.
Richmond’s Tylar Young, a 24-year-old rookie, could make his debut against Carlton.
St Kilda’s Mattaes Phillipou, the No.10 pick, is likely to make his debut in round one, along with Anthony Caminiti.
Sydney’s Lachlan McAndrew, an academy product and rugby union convert, may debut with Tom Hickey set to miss the start of the season with a calf injury.
West Coast’s Reuben Ginbey, a rising star contender, is likely to debut this season, along with Campbell Chesser and Elijah Hewett.
Western Bulldogs’ Arthur Jones, a 2021 draftee, could have made his first appearance in senior footy but suffered an injury setback.