Williamstown duo Kallan Dawson and Tom Downie are understood to be on the radar of AFL clubs ahead of Wednesday's Mid-Season Draft.
Last year saw four of the top seven picks select a ruckman, with several sides set to follow the trend in 2022.
Downie played nine games for Greater Western Sydney across six seasons with the New South Wales club, announcing his retirement in 2017 amid a battle with mental health.
The 29-year-old is averaging 35.6 hit-outs this season in the VFL, and is understood to be gaining interest from Hawthorn, according to 7 News' Tom Browne.
The Hawks have also been linked to Ballenden and Box Hill defender James Blanck ahead of the June 1 draft, with the latter seen as a leading defensive option for AFL clubs.
Like Blanck, Dawson has been touted as a near-certain selection at the draft following an impressive run of form in the VFL, having played eight games this year as an intercepting defender for Williamstown.
"Collingwood are keen on a defender after Jordan Roughead's retirement," Browne said on Monday night. "The Mid-Season Draft is really the stuff of dreams.
.@CollingwoodFC’s form has thrown a curveball to their mid-season draft target. Here’s chief football reporter @TomBrowne7 with the details. https://t.co/5zYfOfGqUb #7AFL #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/x5qEOxYdsU
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) May 30, 2022
"The Pies are looking at Williamstown's Kallan Dawson, he's a talented defender and full-time sparky.
"Hawthorn today expressing interest in Williamstown ruckman Tom Downie, the former Giant
"That could be a surprise packet."
Collingwood are set to hold two picks at the Mid-Season Draft, their first likely coming at ninth overall, while Hawthorn are poised to have just the one selection at Pick 6.