Collingwood and Geelong are reportedly among a quartet of AFL clubs that have a VAFA defender on their radar this off-season, with Collegians talent Sam Sofronidis said to be a live chance of earning a chance at the elite level.
Sofronidis, 23, won the best and fairest for his local side in a premiership-winning season this year and would also earn a selection in the VAFA premier division Team of the Year as well as a call-up to the Big V representative team.
The Collegians were led by former Geelong and Melbourne defender Jared Rivers this year, who coached the Lions to the flag before departing on a high note.
River's links to the Cats could be a factor in Sofronidis potentially finding his way onto an AFL list over the coming months, with AFL.com.au's Josh Gabelich reporting Geelong are one of four clubs showing an interest in the local footballer.
The report suggests Rivers has a close relationship with Geelong football boss and ex-list list manager Andrew Mackie, while Collingwood has also taken a look at Sofronidis in action for the Collegians.
The potential mature-aged recruit could be in consideration for the Rookie Draft later this month, and if overlooked for the intake might be a viable target for the pre-season Supplemental Selection Period as a train-on option.
As well as Geelong and Collingwood, Sydney and Gold Coast are also said to have some level of interest in Sofronidis, who could be the latest local league player to make the jump to the AFL.
Both Richmond and Melbourne selected local talent through this year's SSP window in Kaelan Bradtke and Kye Turner respectively, while Collingwood selected Joe Richards with the 48th pick in last year's National Draft out of Ovens & Murray League club Wangaratta.
Turner was recruited out of Old Haileybury and was listed with Frankston's VFL side, while the Sydney reserves-listed Bradtke impressed the Tigers after a strong year with Corowa-Rutherglen, who also compete in the O&MFNL.
Sofronidis was previously listed with the Sandringham Zebras and also played 17 games for Talent League club the Sandringham Dragons across 2017-2018, with the likes of Bailey Smith, Max and Ben King, and Andrew Brayshaw also part of the Dragons squad in that period.
The 2023 Rookie Draft is scheduled for Wednesday, November 22, while the SSP is set to open closer to the new year before a likely signing deadline before the end of summer.