Ins: Jed Adams (NAB Draft, Pick 38), Kyah Farris-White (Category B Rookie), Brodie Grundy (Trade, Collingwood), Lachie Hunter (Trade, Western Bulldogs), Matthew Jefferson (NAB Draft, Pick 15), Josh Schache (Trade, Western Bulldogs), Oliver Sestan (Rookie Draft), Will Verrall (Rookie Draft)
Outs: Oskar Baker (Delisted), Toby Bedford (Trade, Greater Western Sydney), Mitch Brown (Retired), Majak Daw (Retired), Jayden Hunt (Free Agent, West Coast), Luke Jackson (Trade, Fremantle), Fraser Rosman (Delisted), Sam Weideman (Trade, Essendon)
Draw (what teams twice) : Based on the new weighted draw brought in for the 2023 season, Melbourne statistically have the 9th hardest/easiest draw. The Demons will face Brisbane, Carlton, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Richmond and Sydney twice throughout the season.
Forwards: Ben Brown, Kade Chandler, Bayley Fritsch, Matthew Jefferson, Tom McDonald, Jake Melksham, Andy Moniz-Wakefield*, Alex Neal-Bullen, Kysaiah Pickett, Josh Schache, Oliver Sestan*, Charlie Spargo, Jacob Van Rooyen
Midfielders: Luke Dunstan, James Harmes, Blake Howes, Lachie Hunter, James Jordon, Ed Langdon, Bailey Laurie, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca, Tom Sparrow, Jack Viney, Taj Woewodin*
Rucks: Max Gawn, Brodie Grundy, Will Verrall
Defenders: Jed Adams, Jake Bowey, Angus Brayshaw, Michael Hibberd, Jake Lever, Steven May, Judd McVeigh*, Harrison Petty, Trent Rivers, Christian Salem, Deakyn Smith*, Joel Smith, Adam Tomlinson, Daniel Turner*,
* Indicates rookie/long-term injury listed player
Ones to watch: Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn have arguably been the two best ruckmen in the AFL for the last 3 years. The Demons pre-season games will be watched by many to see how they plan on splitting the ruck role between the two beasts. Word from the Demons camp is that Kozzy Pickett is training the house down ahead of being out of contract at the end of 2023. Look for the Demons to pinch hit him in the midfield this year with his speed and on-ball pressure providing another weapon to their already outstanding midfield.
Strengths: The Demons midfield of Petracca, Oliver, Viney, Gawn and Grundy will immediately send shivers up the back of every coach and midfield group. Add to that the outside run of Ed Langdon and new recruit Lachie Hunter, you have one of the best midfields of the modern era. Melbournes backline is statistically the best in the competition. Boasting stars such as Steven May, Jake Lever, and Angus Brayshaw, along with the unassuming Harry Petty, defence turns into attack in a heartbeat. Add the drive and foot skills of Michael Hibberd and the returning Christian Salem and you have one of the best backlines in the AFL.
Weaknesses: With Tom McDonald missing majority of the year, at times the Demons struggled to kick a winning score. They often relied too much on their midfielders to contribute whilst their forward were out of form. Jacob Van Rooyen had a successful in the VFL last year, kicking 36 goals from 18 games and the Demons will be hoping he continues his development at a higher level this year. Demon’s fans will be hoping for a better year from Ben Brown this year, after a disappointing 2022 by his lofty standards.
General thoughts: Everything points towards a top 4 finish this year for the Demons. Lachie Hunter and Brodie Grundy will slot straight into their side and immediately provide impact. If the Demons can sort their forward line out and take the pressure of Bailey Fritsch, there is no reason why they can’t be playing in the last game of the year. Expect Gawn to play forward quite a lot this year, stretching opposition backlines whilst Grundy takes 60/70% of the centre ruck contests.
Coach Pressure Gauge – 5/10. Expectations are high for this Melbourne side and Simon Goodwin, with their board and fans alike expecting success in 2023. Trading away their ‘unicorn’ in Luke Jackson, for a superstar in Brodie Grundy shows that the Demons are after success NOW. Although unlikely, if the Demons underperform in 2023 expect significant pressure to come on Goodwin after going out in straight sets in 2022.
Breakout year: Jacob Van Rooyen,
B&F Winner: Christian Petracca
Clayton Oliver – $994,000 – Mid
Christian Petracca – $908,000 – Mid
Angus Brayshaw – $878,000 -Def
Christian Salem – $653,000 – Def
Jacob Van Rooyen – $200,000 – Fwd
Finishing spot prediction: 1st