Tyler Sellers, Josh Eyre, Mykelti Lefau. Pictures: AFL Photos

FROM Kiwi rugby league players to VFL stalwarts, this year's group of summer signings have driven the road less travelled to the AFL.

The stunning success last year of Collingwood's Oleg Markov, who went from uncontracted to a premiership player in less than eight months, proves those picked up during the pre-season supplementary signing period (SSP) can be so much more than just list fillers.


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.

INS AND OUTS Every club’s full list changes ahead of 2024

This year, the Magpies have gone back to the well by signing three players during the SSP, with a total of 10 earning an AFL lifeline before the SSP window closed on Monday.


After trialling five players over summer, the Magpies signed former Essendon tall Josh Eyre, VFL star Lachie Sullivan and delisted St Kilda midfielder Jack Bytel.

Eyre will have a delayed start to the season after suffering a recent hamstring injury, but he did enough over summer to convince the Pies to give him a chance. The 21-year-old trained with St Kilda during the last SSP but didn't secure a contract after suffering another hamstring injury, months after being delisted by the Bombers without playing a senior game. After playing nine VFL games with the Pies last year, predominantly in defence, the 198cm prospect is viewed as a long-term option despite his injury history.

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

Sullivan, 26, had been overlooked in both the AFL and Rookie Drafts despite producing another standout season for Footscray, where he won the Coaches MVP Award and finished equal third in the J.J. Liston Trophy after averaging 30.9 disposals, 7.6 clearances and 5.9 tackles. A tough inside midfielder, he impressed across the match simulation block in January and cemented a spot on the senior list with a standout performance in an intraclub last week.

Bytel has also earned a second shot having been delisted by the Saints at the end of last season after playing 22 games across five years. Having suffered from a debilitating back injury early in his career, the inside midfielder was hampered by other injuries in his time at the Saints and played just six senior games in Ross Lyon's first season in charge.

VAFA key defender Sam Sofronidis and former Port Adelaide ruck Brynn Teakle also trained with the Pies over summer, but neither were able to earn a contract.


The Bombers organised a last-minute trial for Sam Sofronidis after he was overlooked by the Magpies, but ultimately decided to keep a list spot open ahead of the Mid-Season Draft.

Sam Sofronidis in action for Collegians. Picture: VAFA

The Bombers have a list spot available after Jaiden Hunter ruptured his ACL at training last month, while it was revealed last week that young defender Kaine Baldwin will miss an extended period after suffering a foot stress fracture.

Sofronidis, a 194cm key defender, had spent most of the summer training with Collingwood but was invited to train with the Bombers over the weekend after the Pies did not offer him a contract.

However, the Bombers have also overlooked the 23-year-old as well and will instead look to add to their list at the Mid-Season Draft.


Having signed delisted Gold Coast midfielder Jeremy Sharp when the SSP window opened in November, the Dockers invited four players to train over summer before handing former Essendon key forward Patrick Voss an AFL lifeline last week.

Jeremy Sharp in action at Fremantle training on December 1, 2023. Picture: Fremantle FC

The 20-year-old kicked four goals in a recent match simulation to help cement his spot, getting the nod ahead of former St Kilda wingman Daniel McKenzie, Claremont key forward Sam van Rooyen (brother of Demons forward, Jacob) and Woodville-West Torrens small forward Max Beattie.

McKenzie had emerged as an option to improve the club's wing depth before he suffered yet another soft-tissue injury earlier this month.

Voss was considered unlucky to not be offered another contract at Essendon after winning the VFL best and fairest during a 2023 campaign where he kicked 30.26 from 17 appearances, but didn't land a senior game.

Patrick Voss in action at Fremantle training in December 2023. Picture: Fremantle Football Club

Sharp had shown an interest in joining Fremantle during the 2022 trade period but was unable to secure a deal to leave the Suns. He couldn't crack the senior game in 2023 and instead played 19 times in the VFL, averaging 21.3 disposals and playing a role in an historic first premiership for the club.


The Hawks made a late move to sign emerging defender Ethan Phillips on SSP deadline day after key back James Blanck suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

One of the VFL's premier defenders over the past two years with Port Melbourne, Phillips had signed to play with the Hawks' VFL affiliate Box Hill this season.

Ethan Phillips marks the ball during the round six VFL match between Port Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney at ETU Stadium on April 30, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The 24-year-old, 196cm backman was named in the VFL team of the year in 2022 and claimed the prestigious Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal as the competition's best young talent.

The past 17 winners of the medal have now been drafted into the AFL system.


Defender Marty Hore returned to the Demons in November on the opening day of the SSP window after two years away from the club.

Marty Hore in action during Melbourne's clash with Gold Coast in round eight, 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

The 27-year-old played 14 games for the Demons – all in his debut season in 2019 – across a three-year stint before being delisted at the end of 2021 after he missed that campaign due to a knee reconstruction. 

The 190cm intercept defender has been a standout at VFL level for Collingwood, North Melbourne and Williamstown and having won back-to-back selections in the VFL Team of the Year in 2022-23, he is back in the big time.

Hore will add valuable support to key talls Steven May and Jake Lever, while being versatile enough to play on medium forwards.


The Roos boosted their forward depth by signing VFL tall Tyler Sellers on Monday after he starred in their intraclub last week.

The 193cm goalkicker kicked three goals in the intraclub and 30 last year in the VFL, where he finished second in the Kangaroos' best and fairest.

The 20-year-old twice kicked bags of four in VFL and also played some time in defence.

He joined North's VFL program from VAFA side Old Scotch, where he won the best and fairest award in his debut season of 2022.

Tyler Sellers flies for a mark during North Melbourne's clash with Footscray in VFL round 20, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


After inviting both Mykelti Lefau and Mitch Schofield to train with them over summer, the Tigers handed Lefau a deal to complete his remarkable journey to the AFL.

Lefau moved from Auckland to Melbourne in 2012 and spent time in Melbourne Storm's development program before deciding to focus on Australian Football rather than rugby league.

He played some games for the Casey Demons before the pandemic, returned to local football with St Kilda City in the Southern Football League – where he once kicked kicked 25 goals in a game as a junior – and then joined Richmond's VFL program in 2022.

Mykelti Lefau in action during Richmond's VFL clash against Southport in 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

After a long recovery from an ACL injury, the 195cm, 96kg utility returned to play 11 VFL games in 2023 to put his career back on track.


No stranger to the SSP, Lachie Bramble signed for the Bulldogs in November after being delisted by Hawthorn.

The 25-year-old utility played 30 games across three seasons at Waverley Park, including 11 appearances in 2023, after being signed by the Hawks via the SSP at the start of 2021.

Lachie Bramble in action during the round 23 clash between Richmond and Hawthorn at the MCG in 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

He impressed at VFL level for Box Hill last year, averaging 24.5 disposals across 13 games, but was unable to secure a new contract.

The 25-year-old attracted interest from other clubs but chose not to nominate for the national or rookie drafts, allowing him to join the Bulldogs.

2024 SSP signings

Jack Bytel (Collingwood)
Josh Eyre (Collingwood)
Lachie Sullivan (Collingwood)
Jeremy Sharp (Fremantle)
Patrick Voss (Fremantle)
Ethan Phillips (Hawthorn)
Marty Hore (Melbourne)
Tyler Sellers (North Melbourne)
Mykelti Lefau (Richmond)
Lachie Bramble (Western Bulldogs)