MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 08: Ben McKay of the Kangaroos runs with the ball during the round eight AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Collingwood Magpies at Marvel Stadium on May 08, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

North Melbourne defender Ben McKay and GWS swingman Harry Himmelberg are expected to assess their free agency options after the start of the 2023 AFL season.

Both McKay and Himmleberg are among the headlining names for this year's class of free agents, which is deemed to be lacking the star power compared to years prior.

That could be due to a host of 'pre-agents' securing their futures before the new year, with Carlton pair Charlie Curnow and Harry Mckay, Collingwood midfielder Jack Crisp and Giant-turned-Tiger Jacob Hopper all earning long-term deals.

Hawks forward Darcy Moore and Bulldogs defender Ryan Gardner both secured new deals until 2026 this week, opting to sort their contract concerns prior to Round 1.

That won't be the case for either McKay or Himmleberg according to News Corp, with the key-position pair tipped to hold off on signing new deals until the home and away season is underway.

For McKay, the Kangaroos defender will be hoping to see signs of a bright future at Arden Street in the first year of Alastair Clarkson's reign with the club.

McKay ranks as one of the best emerging key defenders in the competition and joins the likes of Eagles veteran Jeremy McGovern, Richmond's Nathan Broad and Port Adelaide captain Tom Jonas in being among the tall backmen eligible to exercise his free agency rights.

While likely to begin the 2023 season as a forward, Himmelberg could also attract interest from rival clubs looking to add height to their rearguard, with the versatile Giant flourishing down back last year.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Harry Himmelberg of the Giants in action during the 2022 AFL Round 13 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the GWS Giants at Marvel Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Like McKay, the Wagga Wagga native is tipped to assess his options during the season in a period where his club will be hoping to show signs of growth and development.

The Giants and Roos are both expected to remain among the bottom third of the competition after placing a focus on youth through the off-season.

Other star free agents include Bulldogs veteran Tom Liberatore, West Coast captain Luke Shuey, Essendon midfielder Darcy Parish and Port Adelaide pair Travis Boak and Charlie Dixon.

Dixon has revealed he and the Power have held contract discussions in the pre-season but a new deal isn't likely to come soon, with the tall forward in no rush to lock away his future.

The Power have the most free agents in 2023 with nine still unsigned, with Riley Bonner, Trent DumontFrancis EvansScott LycettTrent McKenzie and Dylan Williams joining the aforementioned Jonas, Boak and Dixon.