Season summary:

Stephens shows flashes of what's to come in the future during his first year in the brown and gold, but was unable to break through to the senior side in 2023. Joining the club from Geelong via a trade in the past off-season, the big-bodied midfielder continued working hard on his development while playing for Box Hill in the VFL. Due to turn 23 next year, Stephens could be primed for a break-out campaign, if he's able to put in a big pre-season and hit the ground running in 2024.

What the coaches said:

“Cooper started the year where his pre-season was not too bad. He just had a little bit of inconsistency in his performances – he’d have a couple of games where he would play alright and then a down one – he just couldn’t string a run of games together. But I think his back half of the year in the VFL was really good. The level of his performance and output has been at the level we’ve been looking for. We expect him to comeback in 2024 with a real mindset to be able to compete with the other guys that have been playing midfield this year.” - David Hale