BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Joel Jeffrey of the Suns kicks for goal during the VFL Round 15 match between the Aspley Hornets and the Gold Coast Suns at Graham Road Oval on July 24, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Sydney, GWS, Brisbane and the Gold Coast face the potential to become aligned with stand-alone VFL clubs in an effort to create direct links for top-up prospects.

As reported by Daniel Cherny of CODE Sportsthe ties between this quartet and the likes of Williamstown, Port Melbourne, Coburg, Werribee, Frankston and the Northern Bullants are yet to be implemented by the VFL.

However, the short-term amalgamations have been raised given the likelihood that AFL clubs will be asked to draw top-up players to cover losses linked with COVID-19 from their reserves sides.

As each of the Swans, Giants, Lions and Suns routinely elevate youth via their academy sides, the ability to link directly with seasoned performers from the VFL won't see them lose out on talent.

While AFL clubs will now move to create replacement short-lists filled with 20 prospects from lower leagues, these players will only see senior action once their affiliated AFL list - including rookies - has been drained.

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Although each of the four teams located in South and Western Australia have direct alignments with reserves teams within the SANFL and WAFL respectively, recent reports that a trifecta of WAFL teams have barred their players from being called up has muddied the waters.

Should single affiliations between teams from secondary competitions and those at AFL level be required, Adelaide and Port Adelaide will draw from their SANFL sides with the same name. West Coast will do the same in Western Australia and Fremantle with WAFL outfit Peel Thunder.