The 2023 AFL National Draft order is set to see further shuffling at the top of the queue due to a number of highly-rated Academy prospects and father-son selections.
Gold Coast Academy trio Jed Walter, Ethan Read and Jake Rogers could all land among the opening 10 selections in November's draft, while eligible father-son pair Jordan Croft and Will McCabe are seen as a live chance to join the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn respectively in the top 20 through early rival bids.
These bids will reshuffle the draft order, with the Dogs and Hawks needing to package up their own picks in order to level the required points tally for those early certain selections.
VIEW: 2023 DRAFT POINTS INDEX
Every selection from Pick 1 (3000 points) to Pick 73 (9 points) has a "value", while clubs have priority access to players from their own academies - both Northern and Next Generation - and father-son prospects.
AFL clubs are able to bundle multiple later draft selections in order to match the required points tally, with clubs that have access to father-son and Academy players given a 20 per cent points discount for those selections.
Following the Jamarra Ugle-Hagan selection at No.1 in the 2020 AFL Draft - in which the Western Bulldogs matched Adelaide's first pick - the league reformed the system for bidding on NGA prospects ahead of the 2021 AFL Draft, meaning any bid for an Academy player inside the top 20 selections can't be matched.
Since last year, that cut-off has been extended to the top 40 selections, placing a player like Luamon Lual, who is tied to the Bulldogs as an NGA product, is no certainty to join the Dogs despite being on the outside of first-round calculations.
So what does this mean? Here are some scenarios to help.
Scenario 1: Hawthorn currently hold Pick 3 at the 2023 National Draft and may look to select Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Jordan Croft should he still be available for selection.
Let's say the Hawks 'select' Croft with Pick 3, the Dogs will need to match that selection with draft points. Pick 3 equates to 2234 points and with a 20 per cent discount, the Dogs' required points tally comes to 1787 points.
The Dogs will then need to package up multiple draft selections of their own in order to match the selection bid on their father-son prospect and attain Croft's services.
Collectively, the Dogs' current draft hand of picks 11, 17, 35, 62, 65 and 83 tally a total of 3026 points.
Therefore the Dogs won't have to give up all of their draft hand, however, will lose their opening selection at Pick 11 (1329 points) and see their second selection moved back as a result of the matched bid.
Those picks will then come out of the draft order and each club placed behind those picks will advance their position on the board.
Scenario 2: West Coast may look to select Croft with the first overall selection at the 2023 National Draft.
Pick 1 is worth 3000 points alone, which will see the Dogs require 2400 points (following the 20 per cent discount) to acquire Croft, the son of ex-Bulldog Matthew.
If the Dogs' draft hand failed to match the total points tally, then they would have a few options.
The Bulldogs could look to trade future draft selections in order to attain enough draft points to match the Eagles' bid, or, could go into deficit for the 2024 AFL Draft, which would see the Dogs' first pick in next year's draft lose value.
Fremantle did this in 2019, matching an early bid on NGA prospect Liam Henry at Pick 9, however, the Dockers didn't have enough points to match the required total. That bid saw the Dockers lose 264.9 points from their first selection in the 2020 AFL Draft, moving back their first-round pick in the draft order from 7 to 12, which ended up being the 14th selection after two earlier academy selections (Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Braeden Campbell).
Despite being a prioritised prospect, the Dockers are ineligible to match the Giants' bid on Edwards, as his selection comes within the top 40 picks of the draft. As mentioned earlier, the AFL reformed matching bids for NGA prospects ahead of the 2021 AFL Draft.
Fremantle would have been able to match the bid in 2020, as seen with the Bulldogs and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, however, since 2022 clubs can only match selections on NGA prospects after pick 40.
Should a team use Pick 41 or later to select an NGA product like Edwards instead, then the Dockers will be able to match the bid and recruit the teenager.