The 'ruck merry-go-round' is a term trade-loving AFL fans have become familiar with in recent years as the demand for big men continues to keep the player movement space turning.

Last year's change window saw four ruckmen traded, as did 2021, following a Mid-Season Draft in which seven of the 22 players selected were ruckmen.

This year's trade period could see close to a dozen ruckmen swap colours, with as many as 11 clubs potentially jumping on the merry-go-round for 2023.

For the second year in a row, two-time All-Australian Brodie Grundy looks set to take a ride and find his way to Sydney 12 months on from his departure from Collingwood.

The Melbourne ruckman is anticipated to make the venture north with four years left on his contract at the Demons as the Swans look to fill the ruck void left by the retiring Tom Hickey.

Grundy's looming exit opens up Melbourne's own ruck stocks significantly, with rookie pair Will Verrall and Kyah Farris-White left as the only supporting options to captain Max Gawn, who will be 32 at the start of next season.

A ruckman who could come at little cost who has experience and who is happy to bide his time at VFL level could be an astute pickup for the Demons, with Gawn prone to injury with his ageing frame.

Brodie Grundy and Will Verrall during Melbourne's open training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne in 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes/Zero Digital Sports)

While not linked to any notable names as of yet, the likes of Port Adelaide pair Scott Lycett and Sam Hayes could fill the mould. The duo are both without deals for next year but are yet to be re-signed or delisted, with the Power themselves working through moves for other potential ruck options.

The Alberton Club are set to acquire wantaway Western Bulldog Jordon Sweet following the fringe tall's trade request, while Richmond premiership player Ivan Soldo has also been tied to Port Adelaide.

Those two moves could pull both the Dogs and Tigers into the ruck market, with the former likely wanting reinforcement and support for All-Australian Tim English.

Richmond would also be without a leading ruck option behind co-captain Toby Nankervis if Soldo was to depart Punt Road.

GWS pair Matthew Flynn and Braydon Preuss could be seen as viable options for clubs like Richmond and the Western Bulldogs, however, Flynn has been closely linked with a move to West Coast.

The Giants duo is still unsigned for 2024, with neither name likely to be favoured for a starting role next year given the breakout campaign of Kieren Briggs. GWS would be hoping to hold onto one of them though as they too will still need selection support behind Briggs.

Delisted Port Adelaide utility Brynn Teakle is another name that could garner interest through delisted free agency, with the Giants and Bulldogs said to have joined North Melbourne in showing some level of interest in the Western Australian.

The Roos are another club looking at the ruck market to potentially add depth to their spine, with veteran Todd Goldstein to exercise his rights as a free agent and land at a second club after 15 years at Arden Street.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 25: Marc Pittonet of Carlton and Todd Goldstein of North Melbourne challenge for the ball during the round 8 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Carlton Blues at The Gabba on July 25, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

North Melbourne has settled on Tristan Xerri as their No.1 ruckman, with Callum Coleman-Jones and Charlie Comben both yet to set the world on fire as ruck-forward hybrids. Rookie recruit Hamish Free showed signs at VFL level this year and could place some selection pressure on his trio of teammates next year after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury midway through 2023.

As for Goldstein, Collingwood has been tipped as the club leading the race for the 315-game veteran, with the Magpies' interest a peculiar one given their current list of ruck options.

The Magpies found a premiership-winning partnership in Darcy Cameron and Mason Cox, with Aiden Begg - who is currently off-contract - joining Oscar Steene as the developing options.

Goldstein, who will turn 36 midway through next season, would add experience and selection pressure but is unlikely to find himself at the front of the selection queue.

He could earn more guaranteed minutes at clubs like St Kilda and Essendon, who have also been linked to the departing Kangaroo. The Saints would be keen on finding someone to partner or support Rowan Marshall who can also offer tutelage to the likes of Max Heath and Isaac Keeler.

Journeyman Tom Campbell spent his 2023 campaign in the VFL with Sandringham and might only earn a new deal for next season if the Saints can't bring in a replacement over the coming weeks.

Essendon bid farewell to Andrew Phillips this off-season, with the veteran big man heading back to Tasmania after a 20-game season in the red and black. Senior coach Brad Scott will be hoping Nick Bryan can fill Phillips' void and work in tandem with Sam Draper, however, a move for Goldstein could be ideal to not only put a squeeze on selection but also mentor Bryan.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 25: Ned Moyle of the Suns and Sam Hayes of the Power compete in a ruck contest during an AFL practice match between the Gold Coast Suns and Port Adelaide Power at Metricon Stadium on February 25, 2022 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Russell Freeman/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Should the Bombers and Saints both miss out on Goldstein, then the aforementioned Hayes, Lycett or Preuss could be gettable.

Essendon will need to open negotiations with the Power after Brandon Zerk-Thatcher's request back to SA, with Hayes potentially a sweetener for Port Adelaide to consider placing on the trade table. The out-of-favour ruckman's brother, Lewis, was drafted to Essendon last year as the 25th selection of the National Draft.

Lycett is a free agent in 2023 and could land at the Bombers for no cost.