Some of the Bendigo Pioneers most influential players have garnered interest from AFL clubs ahead of Wednesday night's AFL mid-season draft.
Eight of this year's Pioneers' squad - Sam Conforti, Finn Ellis Castle, Caleb Ernst, Jack Evans, Jack Hickman, Nathan Kay, Riley O'Keefe and Cooper Smith - have nominated for the mid-season draft.
"There's been a lot of different conversations and there's been some genuine interest in a number of our players,'' Pioneers' coach Danny O'Bree said.
"Clubs ask all sorts of things from where the players work or study to where they're based.
"It's too hard to say if a player will definitely be picked up because the AFL clubs do keep their cards close to their chest.
"It looks like there might be a few clubs that don't use their picks, which means there won't be as many players selected which is a bit disappointing.
"We'd love to see a couple of the players picked up."
On top of displaying excellent form for the Pioneers at NAB League level, Conforti and Ernst played well for Victoria Country and Victoria Metro in the Young Guns game.
Conforti has also performed strongly for Essendon at VFL level.
Cooper Smith was an emergency for the Young Guns game and was in North Melbourne's best players in his VFL debut.
Evans has always been highly-regarded, while Hickman impressed Essendon during pre-season training.
Key forward O'Keefe and Ellis Castle have the raw ability that attracts the attention of AFL talent scouts and Kay was picked up by North Melbourne's VFL squad earlier in the season.
"We've had conversations with the players about controlling what they can control,'' O'Bree said.
"What happens at the draft is not in their control, all they can do is prepare themselves for every game they play and keep working hard.
"If they don't get picked up in the mid-season draft it's not the end of the road.
"The national draft at the end of the year has a lot more picks and a lot more emphasis on it."
The Pioneers-listed players are not the only players with Bendigo links being looked at by AFL clubs.
Former Sandhurst and Pioneers forward Fergus Greene, ex-Pioneers and Wentworth midfielder Kobe Mutch and former Rochester and Pioneers midfielder Joe Atley are in the mix to gain a second chance in the AFL.
Greene is in his first season with Box Hill Hawks in the VFL after previously playing five AFL games with the Western Bulldogs.
Mutch played five AFL games for the Bombers before being delisted and moving to Adelaide to play in the SANFL with Woodville.
Atley is in his first VFL season with Essendon after playing four AFL matches with Port Adelaide.
Ex-Pioneers' speedster Brady Rowles is also looking for another AFL home after originally being picked up by the Sydney Swans.
Rowles is playing for Essendon in the VFL this year.
Former Pioneers' ruckman Aaron Gundry, who is playing VFL for Carlton, has nominated for the mid-season draft.
AFL clubs have up until 5pm on Tuesday to decide if they will use selections in the mid-season draft, which starts at 6pm on Wednesday night.
At 1pm on Tuesday the list stood as:
Adelaide: 1 selection
Brisbane: 1 selection
Carlton: 2 selections
Collingwood: 2 selections
Essendon: 2 selections
Fremantle: 0 selections
Geelong: 0 selections
Gold Coast: 2 selections
GWS: 1 selection
Hawthorn: 2 selections
Melbourne: 2 selections
North Melbourne: 2 selections
Port Adelaide: 1 selection
Richmond: 1 selection
St Kilda: 1 selection
Sydney: 1 selection
West Coast: 0 selections
Western Bulldogs: 0 selections
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