Taking a look back over recent AFL drafts, there is strong evidence to suggest that late draft selections can often produce some of the highest quality players each year.

Focusing on the Cats specifically, the club has made a habit of drafting champion players in later rounds that have helped contribute to Premiership success over the past two decades.

As it currently stands, Geelong will enter the 2023 AFL Draft with five of their seven picks (70, 75, 79, 81, 85) sitting outside the top 40.

In preparation for this year’s draft, we take a look back at the Cats top selections from pick 40 and beyond since the inaugural AFL draft in 1986.

For this exercise we have chosen to exclude Father/Son selections, focusing on those players that the Cats took with standard picks outside the top 40 in each draft.


1.    Corey Enright – Pick 47 in the 1999 Draft

332 Games

3 x Premiership Player (2007, 2009, 2011)

6 x All Australian (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016)

2 x Carji Greeves Medal (2009, 2011)

It is hard to go past one of the greatest defenders the game has ever seen in the number one spot on any list that he qualifies for, particularly considering his value as a later pick.  

Corey Enright was taken with the 47th pick in the 1999 AFL draft from Kimba in South Australia, going on to become a three time Premiership player and six time All-Australian with the Cats.

‘Boris’ also eclipsed Ian Nankervis for the most games in club history during the 2016 season, finishing with 332 games and holding the record until Joel Selwood surpassed him in 2021.

The champion defender won two Carji Greeves Medals in Premiership seasons during his career, while also being inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2023.  

2.    Tom Stewart – Pick 40 in the 2016 Draft

148 Games (and counting)

1 x Premiership Player (2022)

5 x All Australian (2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023)

2 x Carji Greeves Medal (2021, 2023) 

Snapping at the heels of Enright is another of the generation’s great defenders, Tom Stewart who continues his rapid rise after just seven seasons at the top level.

Taken with pick 40 in the 2016 AFL Draft from South Barwon, Stewart became an All-Australian in just his second season and has made five of the last six All-Australian teams.

The tough defender played an integral role in the Cats 2022 Premiership while winning two best and fairest awards in the past three seasons to further add to his incredible resume.


3.    Darren Milburn – Pick 48 in the 1995 Draft

292 Games

2 x Premiership Player (2007, 2011)

1 x All Australian (2007) 

26 Brownlow votes

Continuing with the theme of champion Geelong defenders, two time Premiership Cat Darren Milburn lands at number three on the list after a stellar 292 game AFL career. 

Often regarded as one of the more underrated players from the Cats dynasty, Milburn was taken with the 48th pick in the 1995 AFL draft from the Calder Cannons in Melbourne. 

‘Dasher’ was selected in the 2007 All-Australian during the Cats premiership season, and was a solid contributor right throughout his 17 seasons at Kardinia Park. 

4.    Mathew Stokes – Pick 61 in the 2005 Draft

200 Games

2 x Premiership Player (2007, 2011)

With the 61st pick in the 2005 draft, the Cats selected Mathew Stokes from Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL who quickly developed into an important piece in the Geelong dynasty. 

Stokes went on to play 200 games at the top level, including important roles during two premierships in 2007 and 2011. 

Another underrated piece during the Cats success, Stokes averaged 20 disposals and a goal per game across his 10 seasons with Geelong. 


5.    Josh Hunt – Pick 44 in the 2000 Draft

212 Games

2 x Premiership Player (2007, 2011)

The booming left foot of Josh Hunt was one of the most recognisable traits of the Geelong Football Club during the 2000s, as he went on to play 212 games across 14 seasons at the top level. 

Taken with pick 44 in the 2000 AFL draft, Hunt’s elite foot skills were often crucial to the Cats’ ability to set up attacks from half back, playing an important role in the 2007 and 2011 Premierships. 

Hunt also represented Australia in the 2008 International Rules Series against Ireland, spending one season at GWS before retiring after the 2014 season. 

6.    Gryan Miers – Pick 57 in the 2017 Draft

106 Games 

1 x Premiership Player (2022)

AFL Goal Assist Record (2023)

The final entry on this list is another who is making a rapid ascension early in his career, small forward Gryan Miers who was taken with pick 57 in the 2017 draft from Grovedale.

Miers was a Rising Star nominee in his first season and made the 22 Under 22 team in 2020, before becoming a Premiership player with the Cats in 2022.

His most productive season at AFL level came this year, when Miers set the AFL record for goal assists in a home and away season while finishing third in the Carji Greeves Medal.

At just 24 years of age, Miers certainly has the potential to continue his climb up this list as his career progresses.


Honourable Mentions 

Jake Kolodjashnij – Pick 41 in 2013
174 Games
2022 Premiership Player

Ronnie Burns – Pick 49 in 1995
154 Games
262 Goals

Sam Menegola – Pick 66 in 2015
117 Games
2020 All Australian 40 Man Squad
2020 Grand Final Player