TRADING up to Adelaide's pick No.4 looks the most likely way for Greater Western Sydney to move ahead of the bid for Academy gun Tom Green, which is the wildcard that will shape the top-10 of this month's NAB AFL Draft.
Rivals believe the Giants' best hope of pushing up the order from pick No.6 will be with Adelaide, with the lure of a future first-round pick likely to be central to the Crows pushing back two places.
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But Melbourne, at pick No.3, also threatens to spoil the plans, with the Demons weighing up a bid on midfielder Green. The Giants are no certainty to match a bid if it comes that early.
Despite offering three picks to the Demons during the Telstra AFL Trade Period, the Giants were unable to get a deal across the line, with clubs thinking it is unlikely Melbourne now shifts its top pick. The Dees' pick No.3 is viewed as the first 'live' pick of the draft given Gold Coast has long been tipped to select Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson with the first two choices.
The maneuverings around Green – whether the Giants will push up, stay where they are or even trade back down the order once a bid has been made and match with later selections – has a huge impact on how clubs see the opening part of the draft playing out.
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Demons recruiting manager Jason Taylor recently told the Road to the Draft podcast, brought to you by Hostplus, that ruckman Luke Jackson and half-back Hayden Young were among its options for pick No.3.
Young, as well as powerful midfielder Sam Flanders and speedy half-back Lachie Ash are considered likely to be in the Crows' mix at No.4, should they hold onto the pick, while the Swans, at pick No.5, are also expected to weigh up the trio.
Should the Giants get ahead of the bid for Green, or opt not to match a rival's early call, they have been linked to Jackson or rebounding defenders Young and Ash. Flanders, too, with his explosive streak and ability to play in attack, will be looked at.
Fremantle's draft is delicately poised. At pick seven they could land local midfielder Deven Robertson or South Australian runner Dylan Stephens, while Flanders, who has family in Western Australia, has also been linked to the Dockers.
But they will be nervously waiting for when a bid comes for Next Generation Academy prospect Liam Henry, with Melbourne (pick No.8) and Carlton (pick No.9) considering the move.
The Dockers may look to upgrade their pick No.10 to No.8 in a pick swap deal with Melbourne to ensure they can get two picks in before having to match a Henry bid.
Gippsland Power midfielder Caleb Serong is likely to come into the mix at this point of the draft. After a consistent season at all levels, including co-captaining Vic Country, Serong looms as a possible slider within the top group this year.
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Serong and Brodie Kemp, who both trained at Carlton earlier this year, will be strongly considered by the Blues if they are available at pick No.9.
Kysaiah Pickett's recent call-up to attend the opening night of the NAB AFL Draft on November 27, when only the first round will be selected, surprised some clubs. But he has been linked to the Demons and also the Western Bulldogs at pick 13.
The Dogs are understood to have put plenty of time into the crafty small forward across the year.
The Dees may be more likely to look at Pickett if they take on a pick swap, with Gold Coast gunning for their pick No.8. The Suns are keen to package up their picks 15 and 20 to secure a third top-10 choice.
Key defender Fischer McAsey and wingman Miles Bergman are others who are in the Bulldogs' sights, however Hawthorn (pick 11) and Port Adelaide (pick 12) have also been linked to McAsey.
Bergman could be available for the Cats, who have two first-round picks (No.14 and 17), with key defender Josh Worrell, small forward Cody Weightman, half-back Will Day and classy midfielder Trent Bianco among the contenders.
Weightman is among the group of fewer than 20 prospects who have been invited to the opening night of the draft at Marvel Stadium in two weeks.
Geelong is also closely monitoring how it could jump up the board, with the Cats seeing what it would take to secure Carlton's pick No.9.