Tasmania enters the league soon, what does it mean for Tassie-based draftees?

The best Tasmanian draft crop in a generation emerging just a few short years before their home state finally gets its own AFL team ... it's easy to put two and two together and assume these prospects will jump at the first chance to return home to play in the Apple Isle.

It's also easy to assume AFL clubs are nervous about investing early draft picks -- and spending time, money and effort to develop the youngsters -- on Tasmanians shortly before Tassie's likely introduction into the competition in 2028.

But in trying to get a gauge of the 'Tasmanian situation' ahead of November's AFL Draft, the landscape doesn't appear to have shifted greatly ... yet.

This year's Tasmanian draft crop is the strongest in many seasons, perhaps ever. Top--three fancy Colby McKercher and likely top--eight pick Ryley Sanders are the starring acts, but there are also two more Tassie tyros in the first--round mix: James Leake and Arie Schoenmaker. Jack Callinan, Geordie Payne and Heath Ollington are also possible later selections in what shapes as a bumper crop for Tasmania, which could only manage two, one, zero and zero players picked at the national draft in the past four years.

In the background, the Tasmanian team continues its early build towards entry into the AFL, sparking curiosity an early form of the dreaded 'go-home factor' may be concerning for clubs boasting cherished early draft picks.

However, there's been no panic amongst AFL recruiters, at least according to GWS national recruiting manager Adrian Caruso.

"For us, nothing has really changed. We're always drafting interstate talent, so there's always a lure for a player going back to their home state down the track," he tells ESPN.

"Tassie is still five years away ... we just consider them [potential Tassie draftees] like any kid getting drafted from another state. By then [when the Tasmanian team comes in], they're hopefully playing good footy, part of the group, connected and enjoying Sydney.

"Every decision we make at the draft is heavily focused on 'is this player going to buy into the club and stay long-term?'. We need to weigh it up and work out whether they may one day want to return, but that's the same as any player we draft.

"Every year there's some guys we don't have that same confidence in and who might be more of a risk, and we have to try to identify who they are. But it's not like we flat-out don't draft guys who have some risk because then you're ruling out a lot of the draft pool.

"It might be that there's players who are no risk who we rate just as highly on talent and that might be a determining factor. But with those Tassie guys, it really hasn't come into our thinking."

Caruso said the Giants had asked McKercher, Sanders and Leake twice in recent interviews whether they'd want to play for their home state once the team was up and running. They all indicated they wanted to commit to the club that drafts them.

"I don't think they're looking five years down the track -- they are 17, 18-year-old kids, they're happy to head anywhere, they just want to get drafted and take it as it comes," he says. "Things can change in five years; they might not be getting a game or the club they're at might not be having success, or Tasmania comes in and offers them big money, but you can't plan for that now.

"In five years, it might be a different discussion -- the 13 or 14-year-olds in Tassie might think 'ok, if I'm good enough [to be drafted] then I might be able to stay in Tassie' but that's still a long way off becoming a reality."

One senior Victorian club official -- who didn't want to be named because he didn't have authority to speak about club list management strategy -- echoed Caruso's comments, saying internal draft discussions indicated his club wasn't concerned about the looming Tasmanian team; they would simply select the player they wanted with each pick no matter where they're from.

Jeromey Webberley -- head coach and talent manager for the Tasmania Devils at AFL Tasmania -- is uniquely positioned to assess the impact the Tasmanian team announcement has had with those within the state, and outside.

He shared the excitement of the announcement with his players, some of whom will be on AFL lists when Tasmania enters the competition, and he has subsequently chatted with club recruiting staff to discuss possible flight risks.

Webberley, who played 16 games with Richmond during a three-year AFL stint, says if the Tasmanian team was already up and running, he'd be sure most of his under-18 players would want to stay and play at home.

"Tasmanians would love to play for Tasmania," he tells ESPN.

"No doubt a Tasmanian being drafted by a Tasmanian team would be a highlight in their career. I'm sure if you asked the majority of our group 'would you want to play for the Tasmanian team?' they would answer 'absolutely'.

"The players who are lucky enough to reach out for their aspirations but do it in their home state, I think everyone is going to be drawn to that."

However, Webberley says AFL recruiters shouldn't panic -- that situation was unlikely to impact this year's standout group.

"It's been the norm for [Tasmanian] players to think 'if I get drafted, I'll have to move interstate' -- that's been the reality forever, and players are content to do that because they have aspirations to play at the highest level," he says.

"I've had discussions [with clubs about the 'go-home factor'] but the reality is, clubs will back themselves in to create an environment to encourage players to want to stay. Some individuals might want to go and live in Melbourne or WA or wherever they go, so each individual is different, but I think as a whole, recruiters understand Tasmanians are loyal and they'll back in their own club to create that environment to get players to stay."

Vivid Sport player manager Tim Hazell is also well placed to assess the current landscape.

Hazell was drafted out of Tasmania by Hawthorn in 1999, playing five games before turning his hand to player management. He has managed many of the state's draft products, including Callinan, Orrington and Payne from this year's crop of potentials.

He believes the Tasmanian team is still too distant to be at the forefront of young players' minds, although that would likely eventually change.

"[The Tasmanian list build] is definitely in the conversation [with AFL clubs and potential draftees] -- but kids are just keen to get a chance and they'll go anywhere," he tells ESPN.

"For the older players, it might be in the back of their minds, but their clubs will back their environment to retain them.

"For example, [Tasmanian wingman] Chayce Jones was just extended until 2027 by the Crows; he will face a decision whether to stay at Adelaide or go home [when the Tasmanian team comes in]. The Crows will back themselves in and they're confident they'll be in a period of success by then, which makes it more attractive to stay."

Another element Hazell says should be considered is which part of the island each Tasmanian player hails from.

While the league's 19th club will play games in Hobart and Launceston, its main stadium will be built in Hobart, as well as the club's high performance centre. Presumably, players and staff will live nearby.

However, somewhat quirkily, most of the Tasmanians in the AFL system, and those about to enter it, aren't from the southern part of the state -- current players Jones, Jake Kolodjashnij, Tarryn Thomas, Toby Nankervis, Alex Pearce, Robbie Fox and Lachie Cowan are all from the top half of the state, as are McKercher and Sanders.

"The other factor is, a lot of the Tassie players such as Colby, Chayce and Riley for example, are all from Launceston," says Hazell.

"Do they necessarily want to move 'home' but live in Hobart at the other end of the state from where their families and friends are?

"There's still a lot of water to go under the bridge."