Rival AFL clubs are reportedly showing interest in contracted Geelong young gun Max Holmes, who has enjoyed a solid third season at Kardinia Park as a leading name through midfield.

Holmes joined Geelong as a first-round selection in the 2020 National Draft, with the Cats trading selections with Richmond on draft night to advance their place in the queue to secure the service of the speed machine.

The Sandringham Dragons product would play a dozen games in his debut season before adding a further 18 appearances to his tally last year, with injuries the only factor limiting a full season at senior level for the 20-year-old.

Holmes would miss his side's premiership-clinching grand final win last September after sustaining a hamstring injury the week prior against Brisbane in his side's 71-point preliminary final victory.

The son of former Olympian Lee Naylor, Holmes has enjoyed a stellar 2023 campaign so far as a key contributor to Chris Scott's midfield - averaging 18.69 disposals, 5.23 tackles and 3.54 clearances per game.

Holmes' speed on the wing has seen him emerge as one of the more promising outside midfielders in the competition, while this year he's also made a move into the middle to record centre bounce attendances in all but two of his 13 games in 2023.

The young Cat's potential and poise at senior level are understood to have rival clubs circling despite his contract status for 2024, according to AFL.com.au.

The publication's report suggests clubs had expressed some level of interest last year prior to Holmes' decision to ink a two-year extension 12 months ago, with Collingwood reportedly among the clubs keen on looking to pry Holmes away from the Cattery.

Interest in Holmes is now expected to come again in 2023 despite his commitment to Geelong.

The Cats' current list demographic will see Holmes as a priority retention signing over the course of the next 12 months, however it now seems Stephen Wells and Andrew Mackie will be needing to stave off external interest to do so.

Holmes looms as the centrepiece to Geelong's midfield for the future, placed alongside fellow 2020 first-round selection Tanner Bruhn and 2022 Pick 8 Jhye Clark.

While a contract call for Holmes won't be required until next year, Geelong will be needing to finalise decisions in the coming months with off-contract players Tom Hawkins, Gary Rohan, Gryan Miers, Bradley Close, Isaac Smith and Zach Tuohy, among others, for 2024.