With a Tasmanian AFL side on the verge of being handed the 19th licence in the league, the other 18 clubs will be needing exercise a degree of caution when weighing up their draft selections in the years ahead.

The next draft under the league's latest expansion is sure to be seen as a compromised one for other clubs battling toward the bottom of the league, with any side currently in a rebuild looking to get their head above the water before Tasmania's arrival.

2011 wooden spoon 'winners' Gold Coast weren't sighted in the opening round of that year's count until Pick 24, while GWS claimed 11 of the top 14 selections - including the first five picks of the National Draft.

Port Adelaide would enter the draft at sixth overall after a three-win season, landing one spot higher than the league's newcomers in the Suns by percentage, while the 15th-placed Brisbane would be the only side outside of the Giants and Power on the clock before Pick 15.

While a similar trend is sure to take place for Tasmania's entry into the draft system, and perhaps rightfully so, there's a thought that the incoming club may be a catalyst in the draft planning for the other 18 clubs as early as 2023.

As many as three Tasmanians are currently seen as potential first-round selections for this year's count, with AFL Academy trio Ryley Sanders (North Launceston), Colby McKercher (Launceston) and Jack Callinan (Clarence) all impressing through the early rounds of the NAB League and in the Academy's recent hitout against Port Adelaide's SANFL side.

Sanders, while hailing from the Apple Isle, has switched to the mainland as a student at Melbourne Grammar and become a standout for the Sandringham Dragons while continuing his allegiance to Tasmania in representing the Allies at the National Championships.

Embed from Getty Images

Much like the current contingent of AFL players from the island state, the silky midfielder in Sanders is sure to already be on the radar of the league's next club before a moniker and logo are finalised.

McKercher is another top draft talent that could be the face of Tasmanian football across the coming decade, with the teenager averaging over 31 possessions per game in the NAB League for Tasmania in 2023.

The only prospect ahead of McKercher for disposals this year? Sanders at 31.7 per game.

McKercher, a speedy and explosive midfielder capable of doing damage on the inside and outside of the engine room, has led the way for Tasmania in the NAB League this year, emerging as a likely top 20 selection at this point of the season.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 22: Colby Mckercher of the Devils in action during the NAB League Boys match between Oakleigh and Tasmania at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on May 22, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Callinan, the third prong in the suite of Tasmania's top emerging names, has bolted up draft rankings this year thanks to a hot start with the Devils in 2023, having booted 11 goals in three games - including a seven-goal haul against the Northern Territory in Round 5.

The Tasmanian small forward managed to impact the scoreboard against Port Adelaide earlier this month with a goal to his name, while McKercher and Sanders were among the standouts from midfield.

All three will add to the list of potential targets for a new Tasmanian club to consider, with AFL clubs looking their way this year sure to be mindful of the incoming threat that will be hoping to pry local talent back home.

So how do the current 18 clubs rank the likes of McKercher, Sanders and Callinan come draft night with a driving 'go home factor' that's potentially aided by the league itself on the horizon?

It's a thought that is sure to have crossed the mind of Carlton, and other clubs, last year with the recruitment of Tasmanian defender Lachie Cowan.

Seen as a potential first-round selection last November, the Blues were able to swoop on Cowan at Pick 30 after trading selections with Collingwood and advancing their place in the queue.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Lachlan Cowan of the Blues handballs during the round two AFL match between Carlton Blues and Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground, on March 23, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The impressive defender, who featured in the Blues' first six matches of his debut year, adds to the list of Tasmanian targets for the years ahead, with Carlton's investment in the young Cowan potentially Tasmania's benefit.

The Blues acted swiftly to re-sign Cowan to a two-year extension that sees the Devenport product locked in at Princes Park until 2026. The timing of that deal's expiry could align with the league's expansion however, with the Tasmanian club likely to be handed similar concessions to that of Gold Coast and GWS from their first years.

Both the Suns and Giants were able to sign up to 16 off-contract players (limited to one per rival club) ahead of their inaugural campaigns, while draft picks were used as compensation.