Hawthorn have emerged as a potential suitor for contracted Western Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith if the young star is to seek a move elsewhere in 2023.

Smith, while contracted until the end of next season, has reportedly garnered interest from rival clubs this year amid a frustrating campaign for the Bulldogs, who missed out on a finals spot after conceding losses late in the year to the Hawks and Eagles.

For Smith, the 22-year-old has been utilised away from his best position in midfield, instead required to play at half-forward and on the wing instead of being able to have an impact at the coalface.

The Sandringham Dragons product averaged 29.1 disposals last year in what was a career-best season, while Smith managed a mean of 23.5 touches per game from his 19 appearances in 2023.

The situation that surrounds Smith has led to some external interest despite his contract status, with Geelong flagged as a club keen on the emerging midfielder as a potential trade target.

Now, according to 7 News' Mitch Cleary, Hawthorn are also expressing some interest in the Bulldogs star as clubs await a decision from Smith as to whether he requests a trade from Whitten Oval this off-season.

AFL Rd 4 - Western Bulldogs v Brisbane
BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Bailey Smith of the Bulldogs in action during the 2021 AFL Round 04 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions at Mars Stadium on April 10, 2021 in Ballarat, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Smith is set to have his exit interview as early as Tuesday when the club is likely to be informed of his intentions for 2024.

The Bulldogs have a host of star players coming off-contract next year, with ruckman Tim English eligible for free agency as key forward duo Aaron Naughton and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan also enter the last year of their respective deals.

Hawthorn's reported interest in Smith comes as the club continues to build for the future under senior coach Sam Mitchell, who already has a bevy of promising onballers at his disposal.

Jai Newcombe, Will Day, James Worpel, Cameron Mackenzie and Josh Ward are all battling for midfield minutes at Waverley, with each ball-winner flourishing at some stage this season under Mitchell's tutelage.

The Dogs are likely to demand a high draft selection if Smith is to seek a move elsewhere, with Hawthorn carrying Pick 3 into the off-season.

Mitchell has previously flagged a desire to go to the draft this year before a more aggressive approach next season via trade and free agency, however the likes of North Melbourne's Ben McKay and Geelong's Esava Ratugolea have also been linked to the Hawks in 2023.

The brown and gold club is also said to be showing some level of interest in off-contract Fremantle wingman Liam Henry, who is yet to make a call on his future.

The Dockers are keen to retain Henry to a new deal, however several Victorian clubs are said to be hopeful of luring the former top 10 pick east.

Liam Henry during the 2022 AFL Round 19 match between Richmond and Fremantle (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

According to AFL.com.au, Hawthorn are prepared to make a play for the 21-year-old, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign under Justin Longmuir after initially battling with form through the early periods of the season.

Hawthorn's interest in Henry comes as their own young forward, Tyler Brockman, reportedly weighs up a move back to his home state of Western Australia. St Kilda is another club understood to be interested in Henry.