FORMER Essendon tall Josh Eyre is one of the leading contenders in a six-man race for a vacant spot on Collingwood's list ahead of the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP) deadline later this month.
The stunning success last year of Oleg Markov, who was snapped up by the Magpies during the SSP before playing a key role in the club's premiership win, means the summer signing period is in sharp focus this year as clubs look to unearth another diamond in the rough.
>>>LISTEN TO JOSH GABELICH’S FULL SSP UPDATE IN TUESDAY’S EDITION OF AFL DAILY BELOW
St Kilda pair Anthony Caminiti and Liam Stocker also played in the Finals last year after being picked up during the SSP, as did Brisbane's Conor McKenna and Carlton's Alex Cincotta.
Eyre, who didn't play a senior game in two seasons at the Bombers before being delisted at the end of 2022, played for the Magpies' VFL side last year and is now fighting for a spot on the senior list.
The premiers have invited six players to train with them over the pre-season, with Eyre joining fellow VFL Magpie Campbell Hustwaite, former St Kilda midfielder Jack Bytel, ex Port Adelaide ruckman Brynn Teakle, Footscray's VFL skipper Lachie Sullivan and VAFA star Sam Sofronidis.
AFL.com.au's Josh Gabelich expects the Magpies to fill two vacant list spots ahead of the SSP deadline on February 19, with Eyre and Sullivan among the standout contenders so far.
"I think Josh Eyre is in the box seat to get the spot," Gabelich said on the AFL Daily podcast on Tuesday. "He was part of the program last year in the VFL. Lachie Sullivan dominated in match practice last Friday.
"It's a really healthy competition and I think it's going to go down to the wire.
"I don't think they're going to use all three spots. I think they'll keep a spot open for the Mid-Season Draft."
Marty Hore (Melbourne), Lachie Bramble (Western Bulldogs) and Jeremy Sharp (Fremantle) were signed as SSP rookies late last year, with the Dockers and Richmond the only other clubs remaining to have invited players to train with them over summer with a view to possibly signing them before the February 19 deadline.
Former Saint Dan McKenzie is one of four players to have been training at Fremantle, but his chances of an AFL lifeline copped a blow on the weekend when he suffered another soft tissue injury.
Former Bomber Patrick Voss, Claremont key forward Sam van Rooyen (the brother of Demons forward Jacob) and Woodville-West Torrens small forward Max Beattie have also been training at Fremantle.
East Perth forward Mitch Schofield and New Zealander Mykelti Lefau have trained with the Tigers over the summer.
A total of 16 players were snapped up by 10 clubs during the SSP last year.
Listen to Josh Gabelich’s full wrap of the SSP period on Tuesday’s episode of AFL Daily with Damian Barrett