Next week, Aussie rule footballers across the country hoping to live their dream will be watching on in anticipation of the 2023 AFL Draft commencing over three days. Monday, November 20, will see Round 1 of the National Draft take place, followed by Round 2 on Tuesday and, on Wednesday, the AFL Pre-Season and Rookie Drafts.
Of the hundreds of players who have been nominated, of many ages, from 17 to even a reported 50-year-old, at least seven of them are of Greek background.
Three of the names have an excellent chance of being picked up by a club, while the other four have missed opportunities in previous years but, of course, could still find a spot on a list.
Neos Kosmos provides a preview and bio of the players below.
Anastasopoulos, a crafty small forward, has positioned himself as a strong contender for the upcoming draft. Early on, he demonstrated his ability to contribute significantly in offence and defence.
As a top-ager for the Geelong Falcons, he made a notable impact by scoring eight goals in the first two weeks and accumulating a total of 12 by Round 4, establishing himself as one of the standout scorers in the league.
While his scoring slowed in later in the season, the 18-year-old returned to his goal-kicking form in the finals, scoring five goals across two games.
Neos Kosmos spoke to Anastasopoulos, and he believes he’ll make a great asset to a club with his speed, pressure, goal sense and team work.
The St Kilda supporter is happy to get drafted to any club and inspires to be like Collingwood’s Nick Daicos, whose work ethic is beyond mature for his age.
Finally, he has the support of his big Greek family, who mostly come from Athens.
There are areas for improvement in his game, like improving his consistency across an entire game. Expect him to be a possible late-round or rookie selection.
Philactides stands out as a half-back with a unique blend of skills, speed, and a relentless attacking approach on the rebound, setting him apart on the field. His athleticism, a cornerstone of his game, comes from a background in hurdling, so he provides a challenging force to contain for opposition players when in full flight.
As the co-captain of the Oakleigh Chargers, Philactides made his Talent League debut in 2021 and remained consistent throughout the season. He represented Vic Metro as a bottom-ager in 2022 and continued his form in 2023, earning a spot in the AFL Academy.
A Richmond supporter, Philactides had the opportunity to train with the club during the pre-season and played two VFL games in the yellow and black. He draws inspiration from current Tiger Daniel Rioli. The 18-year-old was invited to the National Combine but unfortunately suffered a late-season shoulder injury, meaning he could not participate in testing.
According to AFL.com.au, Sofronidis has drawn the attention of four AFL clubs, including Collingwood and Geelong, and someone from his club, Collegians, told Neos Kosmos that Essendon and Gold Coast have also shown interest in the Greek.
Sofronidis was named at half-back in the VAFA premier team of the year after earning Big V selection mid-season before winning Collegians’ best and fairest. He had a dominant season, helping his club win the premier division premiership.
The 23-year-old was planning to live overseas this year but chose to return to Melbourne and play again after missing the pre-season and first three games of the year. The 194cm backman was previously listed with the Sandringham Zebras and also played 17 games for the Talent League club, the Sandringham Dragons, across 2017-2018. One club could make a move during the Rookie Draft on November 22.
Still, clubs are believed to be interested in exploring a trial during the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP) during the summer.
The 28-year-old would be a mature pickup, having played around 200 games of footy for Werribee VFL, the Swans in the NEAFL and West Preston-Lakeside in the Northern Football Netball League. He is a strong defender with good instinct and work rate and has been overlooked in a few drafts. Belbasis is a full-time fitness and nutrition coach for Breaking Limits Fitness.
Pavlidis was overlooked in two drafts before this year, having played for the Western Jets in 2021 and 2022. This year, the 20-year-old played 18 games for GWS in the VFL, averaging 13.5 disposals, two tackles, and two marks a game while managing just one goal for the season.
Varagiannis has played for Carlton and GWS in the VFL and, before that, played for the Oakleigh Chargers in the Talent League.
The 21-year-old was one of the players whose development was impacted during league shutdowns in the COVID pandemic.
Recently returning to his junior Airport West Football Club, Roumeliotis played for the Bullants in the VFL this year, averaging seven disposals, 2.6 marks and 1.3 tackles across 14 games. He kicked six goals and had some stints in the ruck. The 24-year-old also developed his craft as a whole forward with stints at Doutta Stars and Marby Park.