St Kilda has brought in two of this year’s most promising young talents from the opening night of the 2023 AFL Draft, recruiting first-round selections Darcy Wilson and Lance Collard at pick No. 18 and 28 respectively.
A classy, smooth-moving and hard-running outside midfielder/forward from the Murray Bushrangers, Wilson was a starring feature at representative level to thrust himself into first-round calculations off the back of a Best & Fairest season.
In securing the 186cm talent, the Saints facilitated a deal to move back one spot in the draft order and also gain a second-round selection for 2024.
Collard, a member of West Coast's Next Generation Academy, shaped as one of the most dynamic forward talents from this year's draft following his starring season for Subiaco which earned him selection in the Western Australian Under 18 squad.
Lightning-quick and incredibly damaging in front of goal, the 18-year-old adds to the Saints' small forward stocks who cannot only pack a punch in front of goal, but do so in big moments.
The 180cm forward had an impressive close to the season to bolt into first-round calculations, averaging three goals a game from his 11 Colts apperances - including three five-goal bags in his last five games - before finishing first in the agility and fourth in 20m sprint tests at this year's Draft Combine.
Collard will be the sixth Indigenous player on St Kilda's AFL list in 2024 alongside Bradley Hill, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Marcus Windhager, Isaac Keeler and trade recruit Liam Henry.
“We’re incredibly pleased to welcome Darcy and Lance to St Kilda,” List Manager Stephen Silvagni said.
“Darcy is one of the most well-rounded players from this year’s draft class, boasting great athleticism, agility and influence through the midfield and up forward.
“He is a very smooth mover with ball in hand and can use his skills to set his teammates up further afield to good effect.
"Lance is a creative and energetic small forward who has the ability to turn a game on its head through his dynamic skillset.
He is a proven match-winner whose high energy and knack for producing game-changing moments is something we’re very excited to see.
"We wish both Darcy and Lance all the best for what is to come at St Kilda."
Wilson and Collard join recent first-round selections Mattaes Phillipou, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Matthew Allison, Max King and Hunter Clark.
Earlier in the night, St Kilda improved its draft position to pick No. 33 (originally pick No. 27, pushed out by academy/father-son bids), engaging in a three-club trade with Gold Coast and Melbourne which saw pick No. 42 and a future third-round selection depart to the Suns and Demons respectively.