As the 2022 National Draft nears, we begin to assess the top prospects for each position as AFL clubs look to fill certain list needs for 2023 and beyond.

To open our series we take a look at the five leading forward options among the 2022 draft pool, with this year's crop offering a great mix of small, medium and tall forward prospects.

Here we rank the top five forwards following the end of their draft campaigns.

3. Mattaes Phillipou

Position: Midfielder/Forward
State: South Australia
State League Club: Woodville-West Torrens
Community Club: PHOS Camden
Date of Birth: 27/12/04
Height: 190cm
Weight: 89kg

While some might suggest we're 'shoe-horning' Phillipou in with the forwards, there's a clear case that the South Australian youngster is among the best attacking options at the draft.

While he may split more of his minutes in midfield, when Phillipou is positioned in the forward third he remains one of the most damaging players on the field.

Phillipou's ability to be such a significant threat when the ball is loose for a player of his size is a big attraction for AFL clubs, while the Woodville-West Torrens gun is among the best aerial threats among this year's crop.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 19: Mattaes Phillipou of SA celebrates his goal during the 2022 NAB AFL National Championships U18 Boys match between South Australia and the Allies at Thebarton Oval on June 19, 2022 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Last season put Phillipou on the map, having booted 25 goals (1.5 per game) for the Eagles' Under-18s side while collecting 23.3 disposals, 4 marks, 3.4 tackles, 3.6 inside 50s and 3.8 clearances per game as a bottom-ager.

This year Phillipou has only strengthened his bid as a potential top 10 draft selection, with his brimming confidence a trait that separates him from the rest.