SIX clubs have sent scouts to this week's US AFL International Combine in Los Angeles as they look to gain an edge in list management.
Recruiters from Collingwood, the Sydney Swans, Richmond, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and North Melbourne will attend the three-day testing from Friday, where 20 American athletes will test under AFL conditions.
They will go through the same agility, sprinting, jumping and endurance tests that Australian hopefuls experience at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in October, as well as be introduced to the oval-shaped ball from Friday through to Sunday.
Clubs will assess the players' ability to handle and use the ball, and whether they can transition to the AFL game like the three Americans currently listed as international rookies in the competition: Patrick Mitchell (Sydney Swans), Eric Wallace (North Melbourne) and Jason Holmes (St Kilda).
Again, the large majority of the prospects will be taller players, as the AFL identifies possible ruckmen and key defenders, and the early signs are that the players are becoming more and more accustomed to the Australian game.
"It's an evolving thing, and we've held two combines in America previously," AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan told AFL.com.au from America.
"The first time we actually introduced them to the game at the combine. The next year, most had researched it and looked it up, and followed it.
"It's gone up another level. They were competing for spots to get in and there was enormous interest from our agents over here to win places and come in and show their talent. Athletically they're right up there with some of the best we've ever tested.
"That doesn't mean they'll be able to convert and play the game, so we're still in this development phase to see whether we can convert them from basketball, NFL and soccer backgrounds."
The combine will be run by AFL Academies development manager Michael Ablett and Sydney Swans premiership player Tadhg Kennelly.
The League is confident it is not overlooking homegrown talent in favour for overseas options, citing the success of ex-Demon Jim Stynes and Swans ruckman Mike Pyke.
"Diversity of people, talent and backgrounds is so important to the game, and so is competition for spots," Sheehan said.
"You can't ignore Jim Stynes' contribution, and he represents all of that by coming from another sport, another country and another code."
The players are essentially 'free hits' for the clubs, who can sign them throughout the year as international rookies.