Former Port Adelaide forward Nick Salter believes there's plenty of talent up to AFL standard in the NEAFL competition Essendon should consider as potential top-up players.
But Queanbeyan coach Kade Klemke and NEAFL representative ruckman Ben Dowdell feel the Bombers' sights will on recently de-listed AFL players like Ryan Crowley and VFL players.
Salter played 21 AFL game for the Power before joining Ainslie for the Tricolours' last two seasons in the NEAFL.
He'll play for Ainslie in AFL Canberra first grade this year.
Salter said NEAFL teams Sydney University and the NT Thunder both had players who could slot straight in at AFL level.
"There's a lot of player in the NEAFL that could go, not so much from Eastlake. Sydney Uni, they've got a lot of good players," he said.
"Not just [Tom] Young, [Matthew] Rawlinson, even [Tim] Barton ... NT, they don't really like moving out of the Territory, but there's heaps of talent.
"It's surprising how much talent there is ... they've just got to get a go."
Klemke spent a season on Essendon's list in 2009 and is one of the best footballers in Canberra, but he felt the jump from AFL Canberra was too great for a return to his old club to be a possibility.
He felt the Bombers wouldn't look much further than the VFL to supplement their list, which has been devastated following the World Anti-Doping Agency's 12-month ban of 12 of their current players.
"I would imagine they'd look at de-listed players. It wouldn't surprise me if they were after Ryan Crowley or these guys who have just left the system ... or they'd be looking at VFL players or SANFL," Klemke said.
Dowdell was the standout ruckman in the NEAFL last year and was previously on the Adelaide Crows list.
But he wasn't expecting a call from the beleaguered Bombers and felt the inconvenience of relocating to Melbourne for what could be just a one-year contract would rule a lot of NEAFL players out.
"As a one year thing, these guys will probably lose their job at the end of the year ... so I don't think they're going to bring in players from a lower level interstate and send them back," Dowdell said.