Zane Duursma during Melbourne’s open training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne in 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes/Zero Digital Sports)

In the first chapter of Zero Hanger's positional rankings for the final week leading up to the 2023 AFL Draft, we'll be counting down the five best forward prospects on offer.

Between spearheads, small forwards or hybrid assets, the premier attacking names among this year's class each offer differing skill sets and strengths, with each of the top five a live chance of earning top 10 draft selections.

Two of the five players listed have ties to AFL clubs via either father-son or Academy links, while a further two teenagers in this list won't be the first from their families to step up to the elite level.

Accompanied by comments from AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan, here are the FIVE best forward prospects for the 2023 AFL Draft...

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5. Jordan Croft

FULL PROFILE
Position:
Key Forward
Height:
200cm
Weight: 81kg
State: Victoria
Club: Maribyrnong Park

The Western Bulldogs father-son selection was a steady riser throughout 2023, with his promising middle third of the year seeing his name soon cemented among the top 20.

The son of ex-Dogs defender Matthew Croft, Jordan's impressive Talent League goal run was sparked in Round 4 against the Northern Territory, booting five majors before finishing a seven-game streak with a total of 21 goals to his name.

Croft would tally up the 23.17 in the competition from his 11 appearances while averaging 10.2 disposals and 3.5 marks per game to earn a place in the Talent League Team of the Year.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Jordan Croft of Vic Metro runs with the ball during the AFL Pathways match between Vic Metro and Queensland at Highgate Reserve on August 14, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

The 200cm key forward, who utilises his elite leaping and marking abilities, would also represent Vic Metro in a trio of matches at the National Championships this year for a return of four goals.

Kevin Sheehan says: A tall forward who is lightly built but extremely athletic. He uses his mobility and height to create opportunities as a marking forward, with his speed and precise kicking key features of his game. He only fully focused on a potential AFL career last year after pursuing volleyball. Starred with the Calder Cannons and Victoria Metro this year kicking 33 goals in the talent pathway.

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