Another Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal winner could join the AFL ranks at season's end, with the VFL's latest winner of the heralded honour understood to be gaining attention from the top flight.

The Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal has seen its past 15 recipients go on to play AFL football, a list that includes recently retired triple premiership Tiger Kane Lambert, Dockers defender Luke Ryan, premiership Demons duo Bayley Fritsch and Michael Hibberd, former Docker and Sun Michael Barlow, and ex-Roo and Tiger Robbie Nahas.

The award is handed to the most promising young payer in the VFL.

2021 winner Charlie Dean was drafted to Collingwood in last year's Rookie Draft as the second overall selection, joining the Magpies after a stellar season with Williamstown.

The former Seagulls defender has endured an injury-interrupted campaign this year, but firms as a future asset after re-signing with Collingwood until the end of 2024 in April.

Attention is now turning to Port Melbourne's Ethan Phillips, who took out the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal during Monday's VFL Awards night, capping off a dominant campaign in defence for the Borough.

Vic Metro player Charlie Dean fronting the media at Trevor Barker Oval, 2021 (Photo: Mitchell Keating - Zero Digital Media)

Phillips averaged 19.6 disposals and 9.8 marks in 2022 to earn full-back honours in the VFL Team of the Year, placing alongside former Hawk Teia Miles, ex-Demon Marty Hore and Swans youngster Will Gould in the side's backline.

Now potentially in line to follow in the footsteps of previous Fothergill-Round-Mitchell medallists, Phillips is already in the sites of AFL clubs.

Speaking to CODE Sports, Borough coach Adam Skrobalak revealed he has taken "five or six" calls from AFL clubs inquiring about Phillips, stating his star defender would be ready for the jump.

“I think he settled into his role, he’s got a good number of games under his belt now, he’s 23, he’s got a mature body, he’s stable off-field and he understands what it takes at the level,’’ Skrobalak said.

“All those things go into it, and we had a game plan where he could go over and intercept and beat his opponent one-on-one with aggressive positioning.

“It sort of super-charged the way he played. He’s got beautiful hands and reads the ball very well off the boot. But him getting a bit more belief into what he could do was a big part of his improvement. Yes, we set it up for him a little bit, but he really took the opportunity and ran with it. The belief thing was big for him.’

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"...I think he’s got enough upside to play AFL.

"Being in a full-time system would help him a lot. A pre-season in the gym, some more run under his belt, more learnings about the game … I definitely think there’s something there."

Phillips is 23 years old and would be of interest to several clubs needing to bolster their key defensive stocks for next season.

Tall defenders have become in demand this off-season, with Fremantle's Griffin Logue, Crow Billy Frampton and Sydney's Lewis Melican among those linked to the exit.