THIS year's NAB AFL Draft will be held in Homebush, returning to the Sydney Showgrounds precinct for the first time since 2011.

The AFL had earmarked this year's draft to be staged at the newly established Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour, having held the event at the Hordern Pavilion in inner Sydney last year.

But the League has settled on the Sydney Showgrounds as the location, having previously held the draft there six years ago before Greater Western Sydney officially entered the competition in 2012.

The draft will again be a Friday night event, with November 24 locked in as this year's date.

This year will be the fourth venue change for the draft in the past four years, having been staged on the Gold Coast in 2014, in Adelaide in 2015 and last year across town in Sydney.

The AFL has worked hard to build the draft into more of a spectacle in recent years, particularly with the introduction of the live bidding system for father-son and academy selections.

With the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships starting this weekend, there is an open field of No.1 pick contenders, with midfielder Luke Davies-Uniacke and half-forward Darcy Fogarty among the standout candidates.