Gold Coast Suns Academy talent Leonardo Lombard in 2023 (Image via Gold Coast Suns, AFL Photos)

16-year-old Gold Coast Academy talent Leo Lombard will feature in the Suns' VFL preliminary final this weekend against Box Hill.

In what is the penultimate match of the 2023 season, the highly-rated teenager is one of three Suns Academy prospects named to face the Hawks at Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Lombard, who is eligible for the 2024 National Draft, made his VFL debut in Round 22 against Carlton, where he recorded 11 disposals and six tackles in a 127-point win that saw the Suns clinch the minor premiership.

Joined by Jared Eckersley and Campbell Lake - who were both eligible for last year's draft, Lombard will be the latest Suns Academy name on show as the Carrara club continues to flex its impressive junior pathways program.

Gold Coast are in line to potentially have a trio of Academy graduates taken in the top 10 picks at this year's count, with all of Jed Walter, Ethan Read and Jake Rogers anticipated to be taken in the first round of November's draft.

Both Rogers and Read would play three and one games respectively in the VFL for the Suns this year, while key-forward Walter firms as arguably the most ready-made of the three-piece given his 195cm, 91kg frame.

Lombard, a skillful midfielder who averaged 24.8 disposals, 3.8 marks, 3.6 tackles and 4.8 inside 50s as a bottom-age talent this year in the Coates Talent League for the Suns, was this week named on the 46-man list for this year's Future Stars match to be held at the MCG on grand final day.

Gold Coast Suns Academy talent Leonard Lombard in 2023 (Image via Gold Coast Suns, AFL Photos)

Alongside Vic Metro talent Levi Ashcroft (son of Marcus and brother of Will), South Australia's Sid Draper (brother of Arlo) and Vic Country's Finn O'Sullivan, Lombard is seen as one of the leading midfielders in next year's draft class.

With new AFL senior coach Damien Hardwick watching on, Lombard will be able to add to his draft stocks in what is shaping as a tantalising final against Box Hill when he features as the 23rd man.

Lombard is the sole inclusion for Josh Drummond's side, with defender Jake Stein ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee sprain.

After handling state rivals Brisbane with ease in week one of the finals, the Suns will enter this weekend as heavy favourites over the Hawks.

The Suns and Lions, who face Werribee at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday, will both need to win their respective preliminary finals matches for the VFL Grand Final to be held in Queensland at Brisbane's home ground Brighton Homes Arena.

If either or both Werribee and Box Hill claim wins this weekend, the VFL Grand Final will be held at Ikon Park, scheduled for Sunday, September 24.