Melbourne players after their loss to Geelong in the 2023 semi-final. Picture: AFL Photos

MELBOURNE is set to hit the draft hard in an attempt to lock away its next generation of talent as the club prepares for what is set to be a tumultuous trade period. has exclusively reported up to five Melbourne players could move to a new home in the trade period, which starts on Thursday.

Midfielder Eliza West and half-forward Casey Sherriff look likely to head to Hawthorn, the versatile Maddi Gay has requested a trade to Essendon and Charlotte Wilson is likely to end up at Gold Coast.

Key back Libby Birch is also exploring her options, and has attracted significant attention from the Hawks, who lost 29-year-old Catherine Brown to retirement last month.

Wilson was rarely in the best 21 this year, West was dropped - and then re-selected - late in the season, while Gay has battled a variety of injuries over the past few seasons.

The Demons have also delisted Jordi Ivey and Sammie Johnson while Georgie Fowler, 19, has opted to step away from football.

Melbourne was the reigning premier this year, but crashed out of the finals series in straight sets.

Mick Stinear and Melbourne players ahead of the 2023 semi-final against Geelong. Picture: AFL Photos

"It was a really disappointing end to the season, not just the last game but a series of games leading up to that. We've been thoroughly reviewing the program and the playing list, not just as that occurred, but for a period of time before that," long-term list manager Todd Patterson told the club website.

"We can certainly expect to see some movement this year. Clearly, there's already been some delistings announced, then there'll be a number of other players we're collaborating with, them and their managers, to get good outcomes, not only for us but for them as well.

"Libby Birch is currently exploring her options. We'll keep working through with Libby what that looks like moving forward."

Libby Birch in action during round nine, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Demons last attacked the draft in earnest in 2020, when they brought in Alyssa Bannan, Eliza McNamara, Maggie Caris (who now playing netball) and Megan Fitzsimon in the top 35 picks.

"The overwhelming feeling amongst our club and program is we've still got a lot of confidence in the list," Patterson said.

"Whilst we don't want to replicate what others have done, we've seen from Brisbane ... that losing players is not necessarily the end of the world. Once we actually put the remaining players on the whiteboard and have a look at the nucleus, we're really comfortable with where we're at.

"What has been missing through the expansion periods, our retention, our success having us at the back of the draft, and concessions, is we've really missed out on getting some young talent through the door.

"That'll be a key focus for us, getting up the draft order as high as we can and really targeting that next wave coming through with our already established 22-25 year olds, who are some of the best players in the competition."