MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 27: Mitch Owens of Vic Metro marks the ball during the U19 trial match between Vic Metro and Vic Country on June 27, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Martin Keep/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

AFL clubs are understood to be keeping a close eye on St Kilda Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Mitchito Owens ahead of next month's National Draft.

Owens firms as a top 30 selection that could move into the latter end of the first-round come the opening draft night on November 24, meaning the Saints would not be able to match a bid for the promising midfielder.

The AFL's reformed bidding system sees Academy prospects unable to have their respective clubs match bids should they be selected in the top 20, with St Kilda hoping the Sandringham Dragons onballer is still on the board come Hawthorn's second selection at Pick 21.

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According to The Herald Sun's Jon Ralph, rival clubs that hold picks in the top 20 are considering Owens' services, which would be a major blow for Brett Ratten's draft planning should they be unable to match a bid for the Japanese talent.

The Saints will be weighing up their draft points tally ahead of the 2021 AFL Draft, holding picks 9, 62, 66, 67 and 85 - tallying 1741 points for their package.

An ideal draft scenario will see St Kilda land a top talent with their first selection of the night at Pick 9, while holding enough points to land Owens and fellow Saints NGA talent, Marcus Windhager, on the second night of the National Draft.

Windhager, a teammate of Owens' at Sandringham, is also touted as a likely second-round selection despite a recent back injury that has plagued the teenager's prospects close to the Draft.

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A previous knee injury has also hindered Windhager's sample size for the Saints and other draft scouts, limiting his time with the Dragons, however, an impressive 25-disposal outing for Vic Metro earlier this year did give list managers good insight into Windhager's upside.

Owens' tenure with the Dragons in 2021 saw the explosive onballer gain greater attention, recording strong numbers before the NAB League was brought to an abrupt close.

The 18-year-old managed a ninth-place finish in Sandringham's best and fairest for this season, one place behind Saints' mid-season recruit, Max Heath, and ahead of likely first-round prospects Campbell Chesser and Josh Sinn.