With the AFL understood to be considering a pool of top-up players for the 2022 season, players across state leagues will be on high alert in the hope of gaining a chance to prove their worth in the national competition.

Across the VFL, SANFL and WAFL, there are a bevy of players worthy of a chance in the AFL, and a part-time chance this year could be their best chance of securing an AFL list spot in the future.

Clubs could see the reliance on the pool of designated players as a dress rehearsal ahead of the Mid-Season Rookie Draft in June, an opportunity that could spark a new path for a worthy state league player.

Casting our eye across Australia's top leagues, we identify those who could be selected for a top-up pool, keeping in mind ex-AFL talent will likely be preferred by the league.

Within the new-look eastern seaboard VFL competition, a number of familiar faces have made strong cases for returns to the AFL since departing the top flight.

Former Bulldogs forward Fergus Greene had a stunning season with Box Hill in 2021, booting 30 goals from his nine appearances for the season.

Carlton reserves pair James Parsons and Ben Crocker were named in the VFL Team of the Year following strong stints at Ikon Park last year, with the former having since ventured to Box Hill and begun training with Hawthorn.

Carlton Blues Training Session
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 12: Ben Crocker of the Blues marks the ball during a Carlton Blues AFL Training Session at Princes Park on February 12, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Martin Keep/Getty Images)

Another standout from the VFL across the past 12 months comes in the form of Aspley forward and former Brisbane Lions Academy player Matt Hammelmann, who averaged 4.2 goals per game from 10 appearances last year to claim the league's goalkicking award.

The VFL has also welcomed a plethora of recently delisted players from the AFL, with former Hawks duo Oliver Hanrahan (Werribee) and James Cousins (Williamstown), premiership Tiger Jacob Townsend (Southport) and ex-Dockers defender Taylin Duman (Frankston) all joining the league for 2022.

Further lists of ex-AFL players from the off-season have scattered across other state leagues, with the SANFL having one of the strongest recruiting windows for discarded top talent.

Former Port Adelaide duo Hamish Hartlett and Jarrod Lienert have joined West Adelaide and Sturt for 2022, while South Adelaide have added former Tiger Ryan Garthwaite, ex-Saint Oscar Clavarino, delisted Cat Oscar Browless, ex-Blue Sam Ramsay and former Hawk Keegan Brooksby to their squad.

The SANFL has also called home to some of the country's best talent that are yet to break the AFL barrier, with Woodville-West Torrens premiership heroes Jack Hayes and James Tsitas having both claimed silverware last year.

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North Adelaide's Campbell Combe was another standout for the South Australian league, while former AFL players Liam McBean (Glenelg) and Bryce Gibbs (South Adelaide) enjoyed strong campaigns.

Like their South Australian counterparts, the WAFL also boasts a number of players worthy of a call up to the AFL, with Claremont duo Jye Bolton and Bailey Rogers both showing plenty of prowess with the Tigers across the course of the past few seasons.

A number of AFL hopefuls are already in line for potential list spots for 2022 via the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period, with as many as eight clubs currently utilising train-on players this summer.

Former Demons defender Marty Hore is plying his trade at Arden Street in hope of securing a career lifeline with the Kangaroos, while Paddy McCartin (Sydney), Nathan Freeman (Gold Coast), Tom Joyce (West Coast) and Luke Strnadica (West Coast) are also training for a second chance in the AFL.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 20: Marty Hore of the Demons kicks the ball during the round 5 AFL match between Melbourne and St Kilda at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 20, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The aforementioned Tsitas and Hayes are currently training with Gold Coast and St Kilda respectively, with the Woodville-West Torrens among the crop of Eagles - including Daniel Menzel and Riley Knight - AFL clubs could consider.

Box Hill's Vincent Adduci is another player in consideration for an AFL list spot, having joined Hawthorn as a train-on player.

Should clubs be able to look more in-house for top-up players, those that have moved into coaching could also be handed opportunities should the concept be given the green light by the AFL.

Former Demon Neville Jetta has joined Collingwood's coaching ranks for 2022 and will be a feature within the Magpies' VFL system.

AFL Rd 3 - Geelong v Carlton
GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: Eddie Betts of the Blues (L) in action during the round 3 AFL match between the Geelong Cats and the Carlton Blues at GMHBA Stadium on June 20, 2020 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Photos via Getty Images )

Recently retired goalsneak Eddie Betts has also moved into a development coaching gig, joining Geelong's new-look football department.

Ex-AFL journeyman Michael Hartley is also set to share his workload next year between local football in regional Victoria as well as being a part of the club's AFLW coaching panel.