Clubs who are interested in Geelong forward Tyson Stengle and Gold Coast free agent Ben Ainsworth are also reportedly eyeing down Collingwood small forward Joe Richards, who is out of contract at the end of the year.

The 24-year-old made his AFL debut in round nine this year against West Coast after an impressive season in the VFL last year. Due to Collingwood's extensive injury list, Richards came into the squad to help fill their forward-line gap.

The youngster played three games in a row before being sidelined with a foot injury but his performances drew attention to him with 22 disposals against Fremantle and kicking a goal in all three games.

When Collingwood has a fully healthy, injury-free list there is no guarantee that Richards will be in the Pies' best 23, with the likes of small forward Jamie Elliott and key forwards Brody Mihocek and Mason Cox all to return.

Also, the Pies already have a strong list of small forwards with Bobby Hill, Lachie Schultz and Beau McCreery, making it difficult for Richards to be part of the Pies' best 23.

The small forward is expected to be available after the Pies' mid-season bye and has not been offered a contract extension with Collingwood for 2025. Richard is beginning to generate interest as a prospective small-forward option for rival clubs.

According to AFL Media's Josh Gabelich the clubs interested in the Wangaratta graduate are Essendon, Fremantle and Port Adelaide. Geelong is also a part of the mix if they lose forward star Stengle.

Though the 24-year-old is only a three-game player and has significantly less experience than Stengle and Ainsworth, he still has a lot to offer only playing three games but already generating interest in the market.

Richards is an alternative option for rival clubs that miss out on Stengle and Ainsworth to help tackle their small-forward needs.