While many AFL dreams are realised at the National Draft, many are simultaneously crushed by a slow, agonising wait that encompasses multiple drafts and false hope.
However, while the lucky few make it onto an AFL list in their own draft cohort, some players nominate multiple times before getting their chance.
Speaking to Zero Hanger TV, Rookie Me Central draft expert and analyst Michael Alvaro highlighted four mature-aged players that clubs might consider in this year's National Draft.
Alvaro named Port Melbourne's Ethan Phillips, Wangaratta prospect Joe Richards, Begnido Pioneers utility Harvey Gallagher and Norwood's Baynen Lowe as players that have put together impressive seasons across different leagues and have had subsequent interest from AFL clubs.
While evaluating Phillips' draft prospects, Alvaro mentioned a quirk in this year's draft that makes him an attractive prospect.
"He [Phillips] took out the rising star medal out of the VFL and most people who win that get drafted," he told Zero Hanger TV.
"Given there isn't a whole lot of high-end key defenders available after Jedd Busslinger and maybe Lewis Hayes, Josh Weddle... he might be one in the mid-range of the draft or even later on who clubs look at and say 'you're ready-made, you're ready to go, let's get you in'."
The rising star medal, formally known as the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal, has seen its past 15 recipients go on to play AFL football.
Alvaro was also highly complimentary of Richards, mentioning that there are numerous clubs that have shown interest in the 22-year-old school teacher.
"There's also Joe Richards out of Wangaratta who is a really exciting, speedy midfielder, another one who is ready to go," Alvaro said.
"He kicks goals from midfield, works really hard as well... I know that he's impressed a couple clubs."
Another player mentioned by Alvaro was 19-year-old Bendigo Pioneers utility Harvey Gallagher.
Gallagher gathered an average of 35 disposals throughout his final five games of the season in the NAB League playing as a running half-back.
He has impressed with his ability to flourish in multiple different positions, having played as an attacking midfielder and rebounding half-back in the last two years.
Alvaro highlighted Lowe, a tough small forward, who he slated as having a chance at winning an AFL list spot either at the back end of the National Draft or in the Rookie Draft.
"Baynen Lowe got a draft combine invite having moved from South Australia from Tasmania," he added.
"He's remodelled his game as a small forward having cut his teeth as a midfielder."
SEE MORE: AFL Draft Profile: Harvey Gallagher
Alvaro explained that these players aren't likely to be seen at the pointy end of the draft because, put simply, they weren't rated highly enough in their own draft year.
"It might sound harsh, but they're outside the top 60 or 70 in AFL club's minds in their own draft, so to put them in that kind of range the next year is really hard to do," he said.
The 2022 NAB AFL Draft begins on Monday 28 November at 6:30pm AEDT and concludes on Tuesday 29 November.
You can grab a copy of the Rookie Me Central Draft Guide for FREE here.