Ben McKay handballs during North Melbourne's clash against Sydney in round 10, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

NORTH Melbourne is well placed to launch a raid on West Coast's No.1 draft pick after getting the No.3 pick as compensation for departing free agent Ben McKay.

McKay's move to Essendon was confirmed on Tuesday, with the 25-year-old signing a six-year deal after eight years at North Melbourne.

The Kangaroos will receive pick 3 as compensation which means, as it stands, the Kangaroos hold picks two, three, 15 and 21 in this year's draft plus a host of selections in next year's draft, boosted by its assistance package from the AFL.

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INDICATIVE DRAFT ORDER Your club's picks as they stand reported on Monday the Roos are now expected to put forward an offer for Gold Coast's first-round pick, pick 11, while they are also expected to target West Coast's No.1 pick.

New AFL boss Andrew Dillon is on board with the compensation pick and has defended the system that has been in place since free agency was introduced in 2012.

"The compensation formula is based on Ben's age and also what his guaranteed payments are underneath that," Dillon said at the National Inclusion Carnival in Brisbane.

"It's a clear formula and whatever the formula decides is what the answer is, and we'll be comfortable with that.

"At the moment, the compensation will stay and that's part of the agreement that we've got with the Players Association."

Andrew Dillon after being appointed AFL CEO on May 1, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

North footy boss Todd Viney said the high compensation pick meant it was in the club's interests to let McKay go as the Roos look towards the draft.

"We understand that free agency is part of football and, after consideration, ultimately decided it was in the best interests of the club not to match the offer presented to Ben," he said.

"Right now, that gives us two picks at the top end of the draft. That's similar to last year when we were able to take Harry Sheezel and George Wardlaw with two really early picks."

The Eagles are open to trading the top selection, most likely in a deal that would land them multiple high-end picks to kick-start their rebuild.

North Melbourne footy boss Todd Viney speaks to the media on May 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

They have fielded some initial interest from potential suitors who have their sights set on Harley Reid.

West Coast has been willing to trade high-end picks in the past and split its top selection last year, handing over pick No.2 in return for No.8 and No.12.

It used those picks to land West Australian youngsters Reuben Ginbey and Elijah Hewett, and has local top-five prospect Daniel Curtin on its radar this year.

"This time last year we didn't think we were going to do that, but things evolved and we thought it was the best option," Eagles list boss Rohan O'Brien said on Monday.

"That's why we're keeping an open mind at the moment.

"It depends on where those picks are and who we feel we can get with those picks."

McKay had taken his time to decide on his future before revealed in September he had chosen Essendon ahead of Hawthorn.

He will add much-needed strength to Essendon's key defensive group and play under coach Brad Scott, who was at North Melbourne when he was drafted.

Ben McKay after North Melbourne's win over Gold Coast in round 24, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

McKay will join another ex-Roo, Todd Goldstein, at the Bombers next year while St Kilda's Jade Gresham is also expected to land at Essendon as a free agent.

"The opportunity that has presented itself at Essendon is something I'm very grateful for," McKay said.

"With Brad working hard to create a world-class football program, it's something that I really want to be a part of and contribute strongly to, in the pursuit of taking this proud and powerful club back to where it belongs.

"I'm eager to play alongside and work with guys like Jordan Ridley, Andy McGrath, Mason Redman and Jayden Laverde in the backline, as well as working under coaches such as Daniel Giansiracusa, Blake Caracella and Dale Tapping."