The more teams drop out of the finals race, the more the trade landscape seems to heat up.
It shapes as another busy silly season with ample movement expected.
So who will stay and who will go? Below, foxfooty.com.au breaks down the trade state of play in a club-by-club guide.
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After being among the most active clubs over the last two off-seasons – adding Jordan Dawson and Izak Rankine – expect a more quiet trade period for the Crows despite being linked to Suns forward Mabior Chol. The big watch is on Tom Doedee’s looming call, with the injured free agent, who’s expected to miss the first half of next season due to an ACL injury, weighing up a long-term offer from Brisbane. You sense having longer-term security with the Lions is really tempting the 26-year old defender, particularly given his current injury situation. Shane McAdam has meanwhile officially handed in his trade request to Melbourne. The Crows are reportedly keen on getting back a mature player such as South Australians Harrison Petty and Tom Sparrow, which seems ambitious, while they’ve shown interest in Mabior Chol. Other reports have stated GWS is looking at Elliott Himmelberg to pair him with brother Harry, who was eligible for free agency before striking a six-year extension with the Giants.
Swans leading cadidate for Brodie Grundy | 02:16
As mentioned above, the Lions are hoping to lure Crows free agent Tom Doedee on a long-term deal, with Brisbane to conduct medical tests on his ruptured ACL. It seems if Doedee does decide to depart West Lakes, Brisbane is his likely destination. Doedee would help beef-up Brisbane’s backline and be an invaluable replacement for Marcus Adams, who was forced into retirement due to a battle with concussion. The Lions are also believed to have interest in Gold Coast talls Mabior Chol and Chris Burgess, indicating the club is looking to shore itself up at either end of the ground. In terms of Lions who could be on the way out, West Australian Deven Robertson is reportedly weighing up a four-year offer from West Coast, while Kai Lohmann has been linked to a host of Victorian clubs.
Player retention has been a bigger focus for Carlton in 2023 after its recruiting spree in recent years, and frankly, this list doesn’t want for much at all. Arguably the most important signature has already been locked away in Tom De Koning, who signed a two-year extension amid rival interest. Beyond that, Jack Silvagni remains unsigned despite a reported two-year offer, and the likes of Zac Fisher and Paddy Dow are expected to move clubs over a lack of senior opportunities this season. De Koning’s new deal limits what the Blues can do in terms of bringing in more talent, with the club’s interest in Saints free agent Jade Gresham having cooled. They are however reportedly among sides interested in luring Gold Coast’s former Pick 7 Elijah Hollands and reuniting him with younger brother Ollie. However, because Hollands is contracted at the Suns for 2024, he’d need to be acquired via trade.
After an active role in last year’s trade period, the Pies likely won’t be as active this off-season from a player movement point of view. They’ve reportedly shown preliminary interest in Western Bulldogs utility Buku Khamis, but they’re well stocked elsewhere. There have been links to out-of-contract Crows defender Tom Doedee, though the club doesn’t feel like a genuine suitor at this stage, as well as Bulldog Bailey Smith and Cat Max Holmes, though both players are contracted. It does suggest the club is looking to add more speed into its ageing midfield tough as one to watch. Youngster Finlay Macrae has struggled to break into the senior side and is being monitored by rival clubs.
Daicos deemed available for prelim final | 01:09
The Bombers are in the frame for Ben McKay, who continues to weigh up a host of options, with the Hawks and Bombers key among them. St Kilda free agent Jade Gresham is also a player of interest. They will part ways with Brandon Zerk-Thatcher after the defender requested a trade to Port Adelaide. With the Power’s season now over, it’s worth keeping a watch on Orazio Fantasia, who has no contract for next season and has said he is open to options to continue his senior football career. It’s worth noting that new CEO Craig Vozzo holds a strong view on players not having a clause in their contract that would entitle them to an uptick in salary once the new CBA is agreed upon. If that is followed through on, it would give the Bombers a marked advantage over many other clubs when it comes to cap space down the track.
Chatter about Sean Darcy’s future continued for much of the side’s season, but the Dockers are confident he will put pen to paper on an extension that takes him well beyond 2024, which is the final year of his current deal. They will lose Liam Henry to Victoria following his trade request. They’ve been urged to part ways with Will Brodie despite the midfielder holding a contract until the end of 2026, with the 26-year-old holding trade value and left to toil away in the WAFL despite impressive form. Their first pick in this year’s draft currently sits at No. 21 given their moves in the trade space last off-season to land Luke Jackson, so they are hamstrung unless they target the free agency space.
The Cats were linked to Darcy Parish before the Essendon midfielder re-signed and, despite holding a contract for next season, they’d be open to working through a trade for Bailey Smith if he was to request a trade, either this season or next, as they look to bolster a thin-looking midfield. Sean Darcy is another contracted name that’s been linked to them in dispatches, but both the Cats and his management have categorically denied there is anything to see on that front, with Darcy expected to re-sign at the Dockers. There are rumblings about Max Holmes as well, who has been linked with Collingwood despite holding a contract until the end of next season. Brandan Parfitt looks set to play out the final year of his current deal next season despite failing to break into the senior side, with a lack of genuine interest elsewhere. At this stage, don’t expect a deal for Esava Ratugolea to be done early in the piece, with the Cats intent on playing hardball at the trade table with Port Adelaide.
Scott ‘uncomfortable’ on possible trade | 02:17
GOLD COAST SUNS
Despite a catch-up with former coach Damien Hardwick on the Gold Coast, Dustin Martin is staying put at Richmond for the final year of his current deal. What happens at the close of next year when he’s a free agent is a different story entirely, when salary and draft picks won’t come into it. A potential move for another of Damien Hardwick’s former charges — Dion Prestia — was also quashed by caretaker Tigers coach Andrew McQualter. From a departure perspective, there is interest in both Elijah Hollands and Mabior Chol, despite holding contracts until 2024 and 2025 respectively. The real fascination in the trade space for the Suns is what they do with their top pick, which is currently No. 4. There are several clubs interested in trying to pounce, with the Western Bulldogs among them.
The Giants aren’t expected to be major players in this year’s trade period, although they could lose fringe ruck Matt Flynn, who’s been heavily linked to West Coast. Nick Haynes is contracted for one more season but is on a heavily-back-ended deal. The Giants’ cap position is such that they don’t need him to leave, but they’d be open to offers for the foundation player. Earlier this year, Lachie Whitfield was reportedly a trade target, with clubs asking about potentially absorbing some of his salary in order to avoid giving up an early pick for the 29-year-old, but he has rediscovered his best form along with the Giants in the back-half of the season and looks vital to the side’s on-field output. The Giants’ first pick (currently No. 6) is an interesting one given this year’s draft pool has about eight standouts before the pack becomes a bit more even.
Exactly what the Hawks do this off-season is a little unclear. They’ve been linked to a host of names including Geelong’s Esava Ratugolea, North Melbourne’s Ben McKay, Western Bulldogs’ Kai Lohmann and Fremantle’s Liam Henry. But in the midst of a rebuild — and the club very open with those plans and insisting its priority is the draft — you sense Hawthorn won’t jeopardise its draft hand to any great extent. But could the club’s uptick in form as the season progressed have shifted the goalposts? Hawthorn has also reportedly been among the suitors for Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith. Though it seems Smith is likely staying put at Whitten Oval, the Hawks should be willing to hand over near whatever it takes to get a player of his quality, still aged only 22, through the door, even Pick 3.
‘Brayshaw furore derailed finals’ | 00:51
Set to be one of the busiest clubs this off-season with plenty of movement afoot after a consecutive straight-sets finals exit. The failed experiment that’s been Brodie Grundy is set to result in a second move in as many years, with Sydney the frontrunner to land the ruckman. It’s expected to cost the Swans a second-round pick — the same price Melbourne paid 12 months ago — with Sydney holding selections 22 and 30. Other Demons facing the exit door include James Harmes, James Jordon and Adam Tomlinson, with Harmes’ potential departure to provide salary cap relief. Melbourne will also look to facilitate a move for Adelaide’s Shane McAdam. The Crows reportedly want a mature-age player in return and are believed to have interest in South Australians Harrison Petty and Tom Sparrow, though it’s unlikely Melbourne would part with either. The Demons are one of the clubs that could make a play for Gold Coast’s Pick 4, armed with a strong draft hand including selections 5 and 13 after the Luke Jackson trade, while a move for Pick 1 wouldn’t be out of the realms of the possibility either.
It all centres around Ben McKay’s impending call on his future, with the free agent expected to depart the club for either Essendon, Sydney or Hawthorn. The implications of McKay’s looming decision goes well beyond his own future though, with the potential compensation North receives set to have a major impact on the off-season at large. There’s a view that if rival offers trigger band one compensation — and net North Pick 3 on top of its Pick 2 — the club would be happy to let him walk, given it’d in turn make the Roos best placed to table a juicy offer for West Coast’s No. 1 selection and land Harley Reid. Elsewhere, the Roos are seen as the frontrunners for Sydney’s Dylan Stephens and could also land Carlton’s Zac Fisher on a deal as long as five seasons. Veteran ruckman Todd Goldstein, who’s long rebuffed rival offers to stay loyal to Arden Street, might also be on the move amid links to Essendon.
It‘s set to be a busy trade period at Alberton. Bulldog Jordon Sweet has officially requested a trade to the Power and will likely be their No. 1 ruck in 2024, while in likely defensive boosts, Geelong’s Esava Ratugolea and Essendon’s Brandon Zerk-Thatcher are also reportedly keen to get to Port. And on Monday night, Jon Ralph reported the Power were eyeing another ruckman on top of Sweet, with Richmond’s Ivan Soldo in their sights. The question is, how do the Power accommodate for all their targets with a lean draft hand — only holding selections 37 and 43 after trading their first-rounder last year. It means they’ll have to get creative and likely move future picks. It appears the club is keen to disperse its funds instead of going chips in on a bigger name, having pulled out of the race for Brodie Grundy and an unlikely suitor for Ben McKay. Travis Boak’s future is clouded as he weighs up retirement and amid talk the 35-year old could move to another club, while it wouldn’t come as a shock if Orazio Fantasia or Tom Clurey were elsewhere next year.
‘We were handed a valuable lesson’ | 10:23
There’s a clear changing of the guard at Tigerland, but a year after the club’s Tim Taranto-Jacob Hopper double-coup, don’t expect such a big splash. They’re among the sides that have been linked to making a play for Gold Coast’s No. 4 pick, though Richmond only has picks 25 and 44 to play with after trading its first-rounder in the Hopper deal. Rumours of Dustin Martin’s move to Gold Coast to reunite with Damien Hardwick won’t go away, but the logistics of a trade given he’s contracted on a big-money deal make it feel more unlikely than likely. There was also a report that suggested Dion Prestia could look to return to Queensland to finish his career, but he too is under contract at Richmond. Ivan Soldo has rebuffed rival interest in the past — and the Power are the club reportedly making a play for him this year. With regards to who they could bring in, Demon James Harmes has been floated. For now though, the club’s main priority is clearly choosing its next senior coach.
It’s a massive off-season for the Saints, who haven’t re-signed several players in order to give them maximum list flexibility. Fremantle winger Liam Henry was the first player to request a trade after the home and away season – and he chose the Saints over the Hawks. They’ve also been linked to Carlton on-baller Paddy Dow — there’s some chance he remains at the Blues — while Demons free agent James Jordon is a player of interest. It seems more likely forward Jade Gresham will exercise his free agency rights and join a rival club, with Richmond, Essendon and Hawthorn all linked to him, while rival clubs wouldn’t be surprised if Dougal Howard requests a move to a rival club. Top-10 pick Jack Billings remains contracted, yet also hasn’t received significant rival club interest despite being out of favour this year, while Nick Coffield is uncontracted and has interest from Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs. Hunter Clark, though, is expected to re-sign at St Kilda.
Looming as one of the big players of this year’s trade period. They’ve emerged in recent days as the leading – and now probably sole – contender for Brodie Grundy after Port Adelaide pulled out of the race for the Demons ruck. Sydney’s lifestyle-focused pitch reportedly won the dual All-Australian over. They’re one of three clubs in the mix for free agent Ben McKay – although Hawthorn and Essendon will be stiff competition – while they’re also one of three clubs circling contracted Melbourne midfielders James Harmes and James Jordon. If the Swans miss out on McKay, they could reportedly make a play for Crows free agent Tom Doedee, who also has interest from Brisbane, while Saint Dougal Howard could be another option. The Swans were linked to Matt Crouch before he re-signed, suggesting they could be in the market for an experienced inside mid. In terms of players on the way out, winger Dylan Stephens has told the club he wants to be traded, with a deal likely to be struck with North Melbourne. The Swans will no doubt want a first-round pick, but you sense a second-rounder will likely get the deal done.
Stephens requests trade away from Swans | 00:24
WEST COAST EAGLES
All eyes are on whether the Eagles do indeed part with Pick 1. The expectation is powerful 185cm Bendigo Pioneers product Harley Reid will be taken with this year’s first draft pick – it’s just a matter of which team will hold the selection. Rival clubs believe the Eagles would be prepared to part with Pick 1 if they could still guarantee they could get star 195cm local product Daniel Curtin, who’s expected to be selected very early. While many teams have tried – and will try – to make a play for the pick, North Melbourne (Picks 2 and 17 – and possibly Pick 3, pending compensation for losing free agent Ben McKay) is regarded as the only genuine suitor. An Eagles-Roos deal for Pick 1 would give West Coast more draft selections to help accelerate its rebuild, which is really starting from ground zero this year. From a ready-made player perspective, the Eagles have reportedly offered Lions midfielder Devon Robertson a four-year contract. Fringe Hawk Tyler Brockman seems WA-bound – it just depends on whether he joints the Dockers or Eagles, although it’s widely expected he’ll be at the latter in 2024 — while they’re also eyeing Giants ruck Matt Flynn.
The Dogs are reportedly in the mix for off-contract Saint Nick Coffield, with the Brisbane Lions the other club linked to the former top-10 pick. They’ll have to strike a deal with Port Adelaide for fringe ruck Jordon Sweet, who’s already request a trade there. Considering he’s played 11 games in five seasons. Fellow fringe player Buku Khamis has also attracted rival interest, reportedly from Collingwood and North Melbourne. The whispers around a possibly Geelong trade involving Bailey Smith – despite having one year left on his contract – have cooled. Perhaps the biggest Bulldogs trade watch though will be a pick swap, with rival club recruiters suggesting the Dogs were in Position A to secure Gold Coast’s Pick 4, with Tasmanian midfielder Colby McKercher and Eastern Ranges small forward Nick Watson linked to that selection. The Dogs’ Picks 10 and 17 will almost certainly be part of the deal, while there’s a possibility their future first-rounder could be involved should the Suns send something else back to the Dogs.
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