Dandenong Stingrays talent Jai Culley has skyrocketed into the headlines ahead of the 2022 AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft, and for all the right reasons.
The NAB League top-ager wasn't overly seen in the calculations for last year's National Draft after a campaign with Dandenong that pales in comparison to his numbers to start this season.
Culley amassed an average of 24.5 disposals, 3.5 tackles, 4.0 inside 50s and two goals per game across his opening two appearances for the Stingrays this year, piecing together a timely streak of form that has placed him in the sights of AFL talent scouts.
But it was his outing against Vic Metro last month in a showcase fixture for the Young Guns - a squad littered with talent eligible for the June 1 Mid-Season Draft - that placed Culley's AFL prospects up several rungs in any club's talent rankings.
The 193cm-tall midfielder booted four goals, all of which came in the first half, along with 22 possessions, seven inside 50s and five tackles in the 59-point win at Avalon Airport Oval.
The performance has seemingly caulked the 19-year-old's chances of landing on an AFL list on the first day of winter, displaying precision ball movement, explosive tendencies at the coalface and easily out-manoeuvring players who themselves are touted as the next generation of top league talent.
It wasn't just his direct impact on goal that was tantalising though, but his ability to get the best out of his forward targets when moving the ball into the last third of the field.
Culley also firms as a formidable two-way asset, having been able to constrict his direct opponent in the centre before winning his own ball.
While Culley's 2022 sample size may be small, AFL clubs have learnt from the last two years of NAB League action that even a glimpse can garner a steady selection come draft night.
As for the clubs that may show interest?
Many will be implored to sway towards Culley's name come draft night, whether a tall ball-winner is a necessity or not.
The Eagles and Roos hold the opening two selections, with the former perhaps weighing up the selection of their own top-up player in Jake Florenca with one of their two selections.
Port Adelaide have shown a need for more midfield depth, while the Cats, Tigers and Hawks are turning to youth this season.