For 25 years, Josh Clayton's father has drafted teenagers to AFL clubs. This year he hopes it's his turn.

When Josh Clayton was 15, he went to watch South Australia play in the under-18 championships. He sat with his father, who wanted to know which player he liked best, and chose a kid called Sam Mayes. ‘‘I liked the way he took big marks, kicked goals and kept leading up for the footy,’’ he said. ‘‘He played the way I wished I could play.’’

Clayton is 18 now, old enough to be drafted and one of four, five or more teenagers who could become father-son selections at the end of the season. His dad played 160 games for Fitzroy, which means he’d have to move a long way from home for it to happen, but there’s a bigger twist. His father, Scott, has spent 25 years piecing teams together at Brisbane, the Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast, calling hundreds of names out at the draft and moving many teenage boys to new states.

Josh spent two weeks with the Lions during his summer holidays and barracks for them, but has things to do before he even starts to think about being there next year.

He wants to work on winning more contested possessions, and learnt from playing alongside Josh Kelly and Christian Salem at Brighton Grammar last year how meticulous he needs to be before, after and during matches.

Still, he has someone who can answer many of his questions. ‘‘It’s a bit of a strange situation. I think my dad finds it more strange than me. He’s said it was a bit hard watching other players in the last few weeks, and also trying to watch me. But it’s good to have him there,’’ Clayton said.

‘‘He understands what this year is like and that it could be overbearing if he was talking to me all the time. But I like getting feedback off as many people as I can, and what he says is good because he’s been in the business so long. He knows how hard it is to make it and what it takes to play.’’

Josh isn’t the only one with such a useful insight. One of his teammates at the Sandringham Dragons is Tyler Roos, who moved to Melbourne when his father Paul began his new coaching job, has made a good start to the season as a slight but smart midfielder and will also be watched by the Lions.

Another, Harry Dear, is an athletic forward whose father Paul won a Norm Smith Medal for Hawthorn. Brayden Maynard’s father Peter is in the Glenelg Hall of Fame but he is only just ineligible to play for the Crows.

Darcy Moore, available to Collingwood, could be the best player in this year’s draft. Melbourne will follow Billy Stretch closely, West Coast has first call on Alec Waterman, Collingwood will keep an eye on Will Stewart and the Western Bulldogs can consider Zaine Cordy, Josh Wallis and Darcy McPherson as well as Jayden Foster and Luke Kennedy, playing for the Calder Cannons as 19-year-olds.

Plenty of other players have connections too: Tom Lamb, a top 10 prospect, is the grandson of StKilda premiership hero Ian Cooper, while Sam Weidemann’s father and grandfather, Murray, played for Collingwood. Angus Brayshaw’s father Mark was a North Melbourne player and Richmond’s chief executive. Teia Miles’ father Geoff played for Geelong, Harry Kol’s father Michael did too, and Reece McKenzie is the son of former Carlton player Warren. The Blues’ chief executive Greg Swann has a son, Dylan, at the Western Jets and Wesley College.

Next year there could be even more, with Josh Dunkley (Sydney), Jake Lovett (Melbourne), Tom Wallis (Essendon), Daniel Rendell (Brisbane), Jake Bradley (Carlton) and James Coghlan (St Kilda) eligible for the 2015 draft as father-son selections. So is Bailey Rice, who may have to choose between the Blues and St Kilda if he’s good enough.

For Clayton, the most important thing is to simply get drafted. ‘‘I’ve grown up in Melbourne and love it here, but I also love the Lions, so as long as I get picked by someone I’ll be happy,’’ he said.

‘‘The first thing is to get a kick, and the rest will take care of itself. Only one club needs to like you for you to get a chance, so I’ll just keep trying my best.’’

This story For 25 years, Josh Clayton's father has drafted teenagers to AFL clubs. This year he hopes it's his turn. first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.