The first round of the 2023 AFL Draft has been completed. As expected, talented Victorian Harley Reid was selected first overall by West Coast, ahead of Colby McKercher (North Melbourne) and Jed Walter (Gold Coast).
More than 25 players were drafted in the first round on Monday evening at Marvel Stadium, and here's what the top 10 selections had to say immediately after learning which clubs they would be joining:
PICK 1 - HARLEY REID (West Coast)
"It's a huge relief. The butterflies got to me in the end. I'm just super grateful to be in the position and to have Nic Nat present the jumper to me ... it's not just a number, it's got a lot of meaning behind it. It's a huge privilege. It was a pretty exciting time. There's a great young core over there and a lot of experience and history behind the [Eagles]. Excited to get over there and influence that club and help them get back to the top. I'm not going to have a huge impact straight up, but just try and go through and play my best footy really."
PICK 2 - COLBY MCKERCHER (North Melbourne)
"I'm super thrilled. It's probably been the best day of my life so far. It's a super exciting moment and to have a good friend in Zane to come with me, it's going to be an awesome ride. I'm just keen to meet everybody and get started. They have an exciting young list, so I can't wait to be a part of that. Everyone needs goals to motivate them and I think [playing Round 1 next year] is a good one for me. I can't wait to get to know [Alastair Clarkson] better, learn off him, prove my game and hopefully be a part of something special."
PICK 3 - JED WALTER (Gold Coast)
"It's a big weight off the shoulders. I've been looking forward to this moment for my whole life, so for it to finally happen ... I couldn't be more relieved and excited. I've got my family over from Western Australia and got some friends from all over Australia. It was a really special moment to share with them. It's an exciting time for the Gold Coast. [I have] been at the club a bit, I've got some good relationships with the players already, so it's definitely an easier transition than what it would be if I had to move interstate. I try and play a bit like Charlie Curnow - definitely some big shoes to fill there!"
PICK 4 - ZANE DUURSMA (North Melbourne)
"I didn't really get any phone calls or text messages from any AFL clubs ahead of the draft, so didn't really have any ideas [but] I had a pretty good inkling that I was going to end up at North Melbourne, and I'm glad I did. I think the future at North Melbourne is very bright and I'm looking forward to being part of that dynasty."
PICK 5 - NICK WATSON (Hawthorn)
"There's a lot of uncertainty and talking points across the media. You don't know where you're going, but it was a relief to get your name called out with a Hawks pick. Around 14, 15, I had a lot of people say I was too small to play AFL. It sort of gets in your head a bit, especially when you don't know where you're going to end up. Having Brent Harvey in my ear, I played with his son in Tasmania, he was a great mentor for me and I looked up to him a lot. I'm really keen to get amongst the boys, it's an unreal squad and they're on the up. Having Luke Breust there, who has kicked 500-plus goals, learning off him will be unreal."
PICK 6 - RYLEY SANDERS (Western Bulldogs)
"I'm super stoked to be joining the Dogs. It's a dream come true. So many good players and amazing midfielders - it's so exciting for me to be able to learn off them and hopefully be as good a player as them. It's going to be a tough midfield to crack into, so I might have to start out of position, but I'm more than happy to do that. I was definitely really nervous before the draft, just lots of butterflies. I'm glad it's over and I can just get stuck into training now."
PICK 7 - CALEB WINDSOR (Melbourne)
"It's bloody awesome. I can't believe it. I did not expect to be a top 10 pick. I'm so grateful for the opportunity they've given me. Probably the best feeling ever when all my best mates jumped on me when I got my name called out. Half of my family goes for [the Demons] so I know a bit about them! Obviously want to play my first game, stay in the team and win a premiership. I play on the wing and I pride myself on my pace and my defensive pressure."
PICK 8 - DANIEL CURTIN (Adelaide)
"It's been a bit hectic. A lot of uncertainty. My head's been a bit all over the place, but I just tried to stay away from as much as possible. Just happy for it to be done [and] absolutely stoked to be going to the Adelaide Crows. At the end of the day I just wanted to play AFL footy, so I'm excited to get to work. I'm definitely keen to get to the backline and see what the coaches' point of view is on it all but happy to [play] wherever."
PICK 9 - ETHAN READ (Gold Coast)
"Yeah, I'm stoked. Really excited to get into it. We always knew we were going to get to the Suns which was good. Going up against bigger bodies in the ruck [this year will hold me in good stead] going into next year. [I feel most confident] in the ruck."
(via Zero Hanger)
PICK 10 - NATE CADDY (Essendon)
"I'm so excited. Just can't wait to get started. It's been a life-long dream for me. Stoked! No clue [the Bombers were trading up to select me] and I thought 'here we go'. It was grouse. I'm 193cm, so I'm a bit of an undersized key forward, but I like to be a hard match-up. I can play on a small but I can also play on a tall and beat whoever it is. I feel like the list is really good. They were just outside finals this year but I feel like their list can get a lot better and hopefully I can contribute to that."