MELBOURNE has bolstered its AFL playing list at the 2023 National and Rookie Drafts.
The three-day period opened on Monday night with first-round selections in the National Draft kicking off at Marvel Stadium. The Demons selected Caleb Windsor and Koltyn Tholstrup with picks No.7 and No.13, respectively.
After passing on second-round selections Tuesday night, Wednesday then saw the club make the most of the Rookie Draft, re-selecting fan-favourite Jake Melksham and signing Kynan Brown under the father-son rule.
As we prepare to head into the 2024 pre-season period, learn more about Melbourne’s four additions below.
Caleb Windsor | Pick No.7 | Eastern Ranges
Strengths: Agility, speed, endurance
Caleb Windsor arrived at the Dees from the Eastern Ranges with pick No.7. The speedy winger has impressive running capacity and can often break open a game with his run and carry.
The 18-year-old boasts plenty of qualities in addition to his speed and endurance, with a natural flare for booting long goals.
Melbourne’s National Recruiting Manager Jason Taylor gave fans some further insight into what the new Demon adds to the club.
“He’s quite fast and covers a lot of ground as well, so it’s that speed and endurance combination,” Taylor said.
“He really carries the ball and is a goal-kicker, so adds a bit of class.
“We’re just rapt and we think he can really grow into an outstanding athlete and is someone who we really wanted to add to our football club.”
Koltyn Tholstrup | Pick No.13 | Subiaco
Strengths: Strength, overheard marking, scoreboard impact
Koltyn Tholstrup was selected with pick No.13 and comes to the red and blue from Subiaco as an attacking half-forward.
The 18-year-old is known for his determination to take on the game, using his power and strength to impact inside 50. He has a dangerous penetrating kick and can clunk overheard marks.
Taylor said the club was thrilled to have the talents of Tholstrup on the AFL list.
“He’s a great character and a powerful medium-forward,” Taylor said.
“We’ve got no doubt that he can, at some point in his career, go through the midfield [as well].
“He’s going to add some real quality, both as a person and as a player…we can’t wait to get him down.”
Kynan Brown | Father-Son Selection | Oakleigh Chargers
Strengths: Speed, contest game, tackling
Kynan Brown officially became a Demon on Wednesday, following in his father footsteps and signing as part of the father-son rule.
The son of 146-game Demon defender Nathan Brown, Kynan arrives at the club from the Oakleigh Chargers and Vic Metro, most recently named Vic Metro’s best and fairest at the 2023 National Carnival.
Kynan’s biggest strength comes in his contest and stoppage work, his ball-winning ability and tackling pressure at an elite level.
The Demons have seen the talent of Kynan for some time now, having welcomed him into the club earlier this season for training as well as his two games for the Casey Demons in the VFL.
Nathan said he was particularly proud to see Kynan live out his dreams of AFL football at the Dees.
“He wanted to have a crack at footy and he’s gone really well,” Nathan said.
“It’s unreal that he gets his chance, especially at the club that he’s grown up following and loves.”
Jake Melksham | Rookie Draft
Melbourne fans are well-acquainted with Jake Melksham, the forward having played 107 games in the red and blue. The club delisted him as part of their first list lodgement last month, but have re-selected him for what will be his ninth season for the Dees.
Despite suffering a knee injury late into the 2023 season, Melksham solidified his importance within the team following a standout year in which he kicked 20 goals across 13 games.
Melbourne List Manager Tim Lamb highlighted the impact of the 32-year-old at the Dees.
“Jake played a really important role for us this year, and did so with character and class,” Lamb said.
“His significant impact on the field was matched with his leadership and work ethic off it, and his desire to improve, not only his own game but that of those around him, was prominent.
“Jake means a lot to our football club; you only have to look at the outpouring of love and support following his ACL injury towards the end of the year. We are really looking forward to him continuing his career as a Demon.”