Lachie Sullivan, Jack Bytel, Josh Eyre. Pictures: AFL Photos

VFL STAR Lachie Sullivan, former Essendon tall Josh Eyre and delisted St Kilda midfielder Jack Bytel have secured spots on Collingwood's rookie list after impressive trials across the pre-season supplemental period (SSP).

The trio were among six players invited to audition with the reigning premier over summer and were informed on Thursday they have been added to the Magpies' squad for their premiership defence.

Sullivan, 26, had been overlooked in both the AFL Draft and Rookie Draft despite producing another standout season for Footscray, before being invited to train with the Magpies in December. Collingwood had initially been interested in him for the VFL program but after he slotted in seamlessly with Craig McRae's squad and impressed across the match simulation block in January, the inside midfielder cemented a spot on the senior list with a standout performance in an intra-club on Wednesday night.

Lachie Sullivan at Collingwood training on February 7, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Playing alongside Fin Macrae and Jordan De Goey, Sullivan was one of the best players on the ground at the AIA Centre and was informed of the club's decision in a meeting on Thursday morning.

Eyre had appeared well placed to earn a contract before suffering another hamstring injury last week, but the Pies have rewarded the tall defender after a strong audition.

The 21-year-old underwent surgery to repair his torn hamstring tendon on Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined for 12 weeks.

Eyre trained with St Kilda during the last SSP but didn't secure a contract after suffering a serious hamstring injury, months after being delisted by the Bombers without playing a senior game. 

Josh Eyre kicks the ball during a Collingwood training session at AIA Centre on February 7, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

He signed with Collingwood's VFL side in March but didn't play until round 10 due to his injury. The Calder Cannons product showed his talent across nine appearances for the Magpies' reserves, playing predominantly as a key defender under Josh Fraser's watch in the VFL.

Collingwood is understood to view him as a long-term option despite his injury history to date.

Bytel has also earned a second shot after being delisted by the Saints at the end of last season after playing 22 games across five years at RSEA Park.

Former Port Adelaide ruckman Brynn Teakle, VAFA star Sam Sofronidis and Collingwood VFL captain Campbell Hustwaite had also been trialling with the Pies across the pre-season.

Jack Bytel during Collingwood training on November 27, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The signing of 26-year-old Sullivan is just reward after he came close to tasting AFL level in recent years without being able to breakthrough. The Western Bulldogs considered him for its senior list last year but overlooked him, while Essendon expressed interest ahead of the 2022 Mid-Season Rookie Draft but he was ineligible after not submitting his nomination in time.

He produced another standout VFL campaign in 2023, winning the Coaches MVP Award and finishing equal third in the J.J. Liston Trophy after averaging 30.9 disposals, 7.6 clearances and 5.9 tackles across 20 appearances.

The St Kevin's College product was named captain in the VFL Team of the Year and won his second straight Footscray best and fairest award.

Footscray captain Lachie Sullivan poses at the VFL season launch on March 21, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

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.

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.

Former Essendon forward Patrick Voss also earned an AFL lifeline on Thursday, beating out former Saint Dan McKenzie, Claremont key forward Sam van Rooyen (the brother of Demons forward Jacob) and Woodville-West Torrens small forward Max Beattie to win a spot at Fremantle.

East Perth forward Mitch Schofield and New Zealander Mykelti Lefau have trained with Richmond over the summer and could join the Tigers' list before the deadline on Monday.