MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Jack Bytel of the Saints handballs during the round seven AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Hawthorn Hawks at Marvel Stadium on May 01, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

St Kilda youngster Jack Bytel has reportedly fielded interest from Essendon after a difficult year at Moorabbin.

Bytel, who was touted as a potential top-10 pick before a serious back injury derailed his draft year, slid down the draft order and was eventually selected at pick 41 of the 2018 AFL draft by the Saints.

The sturdy inside midfielder endured a difficult 2022 season and failed to play a senior game as he was overtaken by a strong cohort of first-year St Kilda players that includes Mitchito Owens, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera and Marcus Windhager.

Windhager, in particular, plays a similar midfield role to Bytel and has shown no trace of the back injury that, ironically, caused him to fall down the pecking order in his draft year.

However, whilst a St Kilda contract may not be forthcoming, Essendon is interested acquiring the 22-year-old to bolster their list, according to Sam Edmund.

"[Bytel] has played 16 games in three seasons... 13 of them came last year where he got a foothold in that side," he told SEN Radio.

"[Whether it be] injury, form... he hasn't been able to cement a spot in Brett Ratten's side.

"The Bombers have reached out, they're looking to attract players while still searching for a senior coach.

"I'm told the 22-year-old Jack Bytel [is] not considered a main priority at Tullamarine but they've registered an interest."

Jack Bytel is in a group of uncontracted Saints that includes Ryan ByrnesTom Campbell, Thomas HighmoreDarragh JoyceJarrod LienertBen LongJack Peris and Mason Wood.