Sam Sofronidis in action for Collegians. Picture: VAFA

ESSENDON has invited VAFA star Sam Sofronidis to audition for a spot on the rookie list ahead of the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP) deadline on Monday.

The 23-year-old has spent the summer training with Collingwood but wasn’t offered a contract on Thursday following the club’s intra-club on Wednesday night.

The Magpies opted to sign injured tall defender Josh Eyre instead, with inside midfielders Lachie Sullivan and Jack Bytel also securing deals.

It is understood that Essendon has made a late pivot to assess the 194cm intercept defender up close in Saturday’s training session at The Hangar.

Sam Sofronidis (second from left) celebrates with his Collegians teammates. Picture: @collegianslions Twitter

Sofronidis met with the Bombers on Thursday after being one of the unlucky ones to miss out on a contract with the reigning premiers, following an impressive trial across December, January and February. 

After stepping out of local football, the Collegians defender looked comfortable playing alongside Collingwood captain Darcy Moore on Wednesday night and left an impression on the Magpies.

Sofronidis played for the Sandringham Zebras in 2019 and signed with Frankston for the 2020 VFL season before the pandemic hit.  

Since then, the Sandringham Dragons product has played for Collegians in Melbourne’s premier grade amateurs competition, where he was widely regarded as one of the best players in the VAFA.

Clubs haven’t been afraid to pluck players out of suburban leagues in recent times. Geelong produced the biggest surprised of last year’s AFL and Rookie drafts by selecting 21-year-old Oli Wiltshire out of Barwon Heads.

Collingwood drafted Joe Richards out of the Ovens and Murray League at the end of 2022. While Melbourne added Kye Turner to its rookie list last SSP after recruiting him from Old Haileybury.

Essendon has a list spot after Mid-Season Draft selection Jaiden Hunter ruptured his ACL at training last month.