Luke McDonald. Photo: Pat Scala
Luke McDonald will become a North Melbourne player at Monday's father-son bidding meeting, for the cost of the club's first-round draft choice.
Brisbane looms as the club most likely to force North into using its No.9 selection on McDonald - a midfielder the club has been grooming for more than 12 months - by bidding for him with pick No.7.
West Coast and the Western Bulldogs have also done their homework on McDonald, the son of former North football manager Donald, and like the Lions hold a first-round pick ahead of the Roos.
The 18-year-old is considered one of the better midfield prospects in this year's draft, a player who can crash into the centre square off half-back and whose gregarious personality makes him a natural leader. North will nominate him as a father-son selection by Friday's deadline.
McDonald has not been able to participate in this week's draft combine due to knee tendonitis, but played some excellent football for Werribee throughout this year's VFL season. He was particularly impressive during the recent finals series.
The teenager has been unofficially tied to North Melbourne for more than 12 months, travelling to Utah with the team for its pre-season camp last October and spending time at Arden Street this year while starting a university course.
While McDonald will be this year's only father-son draftee, Collingwood has told Jake Kelly, the son of premiership defender Craig, that it may select him as a rookie if he is overlooked in the national draft.
The club has submitted paperwork indicating its willingness to consider him as a rookie, meaning that if he doesn't get drafted the club will be able to place him directly onto its rookie list if it wishes to do so.
Meanwhile, Brisbane will nominate tall forward Jonathan Freeman as the club's first Lions Academy player, under rules similar to those that apply for father-son players, by Friday's deadline.
Any other club will be able to bid for the 198-centimetre forward, who missed the second half of the season with osteitis pubis, and if so the Lions must match that bid with their next selection in the draft order to secure Freeman. If no other club bids, they can select him with their final draft pick.