Trade jolt revitalises conspiracy

Live: AFL Trade Period

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AFL 1st Preliminary Final - Adelaide v Geelong

Live: AFL Trade Period

Day four of the AFL Trade Period is here as speculation continues to mount over the future of Melbourne star Jack Watts.

IT was a cold start to the trade period with the only real news to come out of the first three days confirmation former Brisbane skipper Tom Rockliff will be at Port Adelaide in 2018 and Jackson Trengove had moved from the Power to the Western Bulldogs.

But today we have action.

The futures of out-of-favour Melbourne and Bulldogs stars Jack Watts and Jake Stringer remain unclear despite Geelong and Essendon being in the hunt for their signatures.

But two other big chips fell in place in a Thursday morning flurry.

3.25pm

What does Watts cost?

Melbourne is after a second round draft pick for the unwanted Jack Watts.

The Demons stunned the 26-year-old when they put him on the trade table and he has since been linked to Sydney, Geelong and Port Adelaide.

Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney said the Dees have become frustrated with Watts’ inconsistency.

“We met with Paul Connors (Watts’ manager) yesterday and he said there were several clubs interested,” Mahoney told AFL Trade Radio.

“(Early second-round pick) that would be around the mark that we’re looking for.

“It’s got nothing to do with financial (reasons).

“I think we all acknowledge his talent and the fact he’s been able to have some good games over the years but our frustration — if you want to use that word — is consistency.

“It hasn’t got the stage were we’re dealing directly with clubs, it’s still a matter of Jack exploring his options.”

3pm

Why Roos cut Gibson

North Melbourne list manager Michael McMahon says the club cut Sam Gibson because it’s looking to the future.

The 31-year-old played 130 consecutive games before being delisted earlier this week.

“In regards to Sam, it is probably as much as anything a reflection on where our list is at at the moment and a little bit about what our philosophy is,” McMahon told the Kangaroos’ podcast NMFC On Air.

“We’ve been pretty aggressive throughout the course of the year in targeting some of the players that we have talked about (Dustin Martin, Josh Kelly).

“Our approach to the management of our existing list has extended to that.

“Some people might look at it as being reasonably aggressive in delisting a player like Sam. He has been a terrific player, he has played 130 games in a row and been a model of consistency. At the same time we have to be mindful about building a bit for the future.”

12.35pm

Flame still burns in Crows conspiracy

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Bryce Gibbs may not be out of the Adelaide picture just yet. Source: AAP

Talk of Adelaide’s interest in Carlton star Bryce Gibbs refuses to die, even after the Crows said they were no longer interested in pursuing the Blues midfielder.

Gibbs requested a trade to Adelaide this time last year and while cold water has been poured on a move eventuating in 2017, the stockpile of draft picks the Crows are accumulating could see them swoop again for Carlton’s 2014 best and fairest winner.

Adelaide received pick 10 after trading Jake Lever to Melbourne today and also has pick 16. It may secure pick 18 if speedster Charlie Cameron ends up at the Lions, giving it plenty of leverage should it want to launch another tilt at Gibbs.

“If you’ve got picks 10, 16 and 18, and you’ve just missed out on the premiership, you’re not going to the draft,” Herald Sun journalist Jon Ralph told SEN’s Hungry for Sport.

“You’re going back to Bryce (Gibbs) and saying, ‘We know you want to come here.’

“Those who have spoken to Bryce in the past week say he is still keen to get home.

“If Carlton can get picks 10 and 16, or even 10 and 18, I’d take that deal and go to the draft with three top 20 picks and keep building for there.”

Those comments come after Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes and Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd floated the notion the Crows’ quest for Gibbs wasn’t over just yet.

“The talk on Bryce Gibbs still won’t go away. I’m not hearing anything concrete but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Crows try again,” Cornes told AFL Trade Radio.

Lloyd agreed, saying: “Some believe they’ll come again for Bryce Gibbs.

“You’d love to know what he’d like to do. Adelaide have said what they’ve said but Bryce hasn’t said anything.”

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11.25am

Life gets complicated for Bombers

Mitch Cleary reports on AFL Trade radio Essendon is offering Gold Coast pick 29 for Adam Saad but the Suns are holding out for something more enticing.

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After recruiting Devon Smith from GWS earlier on Thursday, former Bomber and Western Bulldog Adam Cooney says Essendon will likely have to sacrifice one of their other targets — Saad and Jake Stringer.

“It now looks like one of either Stringer or Saad could now struggle to get to the Bombers. They’ll have to be inventive,” he said on Trade Radio.

The Bulldogs wanted pick 11 for Stringer, but the Dons gave that up for Smith. However, Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro is confident the club can still accommodate “The Package”.

“There is a long time to play out in the trade period and we will try fairly hard to get it done,” Dodoro said.

“It is trade period and these things take time. Pick 11 is not on the table, pick 11 is now gone. It’ll have to be a combination of other things.

“We have given a strong indication to Jake that we will do our best to get the deal done. There is a fair way to go and we hope we can land him.”

10.15am

Lever, Smith on the move

Officials from Adelaide and Melbourne have ironed out a deal that will see Crows defender Jake Lever fulfil his wish to be traded to the Demons.

Lever has been the hottest topic of this trade period after he requested a move to Melbourne for family reasons. Adelaide captain Taylor Walker has slammed the 21-year-old for jumping ship, accusing him of being motivated purely by money.

Lever has been signed on a four-year deal reportedly worth nearly $4 million.

The Crows insisted on receiving two first round draft picks in return — and have achieved that goal.

Adelaide has obtained pick 10 in this year’s draft, a future first round selection and a future fourth round selection for Lever. It’s a steep price for Melbourne to pay, given next year’s first rounder would be pick 10 if it finished ninth again like it did this year.

In return the Demons get a young anchor for their backline, plus pick No. 35 in this year’s draft and a future third round selection.

Herald Sun AFL writer Jon Ralph said the Dees paid overs for Lever.

“It’s a heck of a lot for Lever,” Ralph told SEN’s Hungry for Sport.

“You might believe he’s (gun Richmond defender) Alex Rance but they have effectively given up two first-rounders which is pick 10 this year and it could be a similar pick next year depending on how they are going.

“To only get back what will effectively be a really late second round pick (is a small reward).

“I think it’s too much or they are obviously thinking they’ve got their man so now we’re in premiership mode.”

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The Lever deal was revealed just minutes after Fox Sports broke news of Essendon’s plan to secure Devon Smith.

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The Giants will receive pick 11 in the 2017 draft and a future third rounder, while Essendon earns GWS’s pick 24 and a second round selection next year.

The Dons still have second round picks up their sleeve to try and snare Aam Saad from the Suns and Jake Stringer from the Western Bulldogs.

9.55am

‘That’s not a trade, d***head’

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes has copped plenty of heat for saying yesterday Jaeger O’Meara being traded from the Suns to Hawthorn last year could prove to be “one of the worst trades of all time”.

The 2013 Rising Star played just six games this year as he struggled with chronic knee injuries that have kept him off the park for much of the past few seasons, and Cornes said it would be a “disaster” for the Hawks if the 23-year-old can’t get his body right soon.

The Power icon took to Twitter welcoming other suggestions for the worst trade in AFL history after being abused by punters. But he needed to correct someone when they offered up what they thought was the worst draft pick in footy.

No prizes for guessing who Port Adelaide chose with pick 20 in the 2000 draft.

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9.45am

‘Distasteful’ smear in footy cop-out

Former St Kilda and North Melbourne star Nick Dal Santo says he doesn’t like players using homesickness as an excuse to move clubs.

He believes players nominating for the draft should realise getting picked for any team is a privilege rather than putting caveats on how long they’re willing to play in a foreign environment for.

“You put your hand up to be drafted, you’ve got to go anywhere that you’re picked and that’s a privilege,” he told SEN Breakfast.

“This whole concept of players threatening to go home in two years, or wanting a longer contract or money to stay, I don’t like it.

“I can understand people wanting to go home but I wonder if we just throw out the term ‘homesickness’ without actually getting to the crux of the issue.

“I just don’t know if homesickness is the reason players want to leave clubs.”

Dal Santo told Fox Sports’ AFL Tonight “I hate this word (homesickness)” earlier this week.

“You’ve got to leave the nest at some stage. You can’t continually say, ‘I just want to go back home,’” he said.

“I think it works really well in regards to leverage. It’s a threat that you want to go home and therefore you get more money, some more years on your contract.

“I don’t like this idea that I’m homesick, that I need to go home and see mum and dad again.”

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Josh Schache wants to go home. Source: Supplied

Brisbane’s Josh Schache wants to return to Victoria because of homesickness but Lions general manager of football David Noble says the chatter surrounding the 2015 No. 2 draft pick’s future is “distasteful”.

Noble says the club isn’t trying to get rid of Schache and would love to keep him if it can’t find an equal trade.

“It’s a bit distasteful to be honest, in the fact that we are almost trying to push him out the door,” he told SEN Breakfast.

“I’m not really sure where that discussion has ever come from. We have tried to handle Josh’s situation in a more mature fashion, to say look, we think there is a point in time where he might consider going home.

“We have had those discussions openly and honestly. The reality is if he is not traded, then we will do everything we can to make Josh an elite player being a pick two in the competition.

“We are very keen if Josh and us can’t find an equal trade, that he is a required player.”

Dal Santo says he’s no fan of clubs being reluctant to draft players from other states because they’re worried they might not be long-term prospects.

“I just don’t like this concept of clubs like Brisbane, Gold Coast, West Coast etc saying it’s risky to take the best kid because he’s from Melbourne,” he said.

“I understand it but I don’t like the concept of it as a whole.”

9am

Crows conspiracy won’t die

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With Lever going, will Gibbs reappear on Adelaide’s radar? Source: AAP

Adelaide said it had “moved on” from trying to pursue Carlton star Bryce Gibbs earlier this week but rumours the Crows remain in the hunt for the Blues midfielder won’t go away.

Gibbs requested a trade to Adelaide this time last year and while the 2017 minor premiers say they are no longer looking to lure him to South Australia, a couple of AFL greats think otherwise.

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said a renewed push to recruit Gibbs might be on the cards.

“The talk on Bryce Gibbs still won’t go away. I’m not hearing anything concrete but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Crows try again,” Cornes told AFL Trade Radio.

Bombers great Matthew Lloyd agreed, saying: “Some believe they’ll come again for Bryce Gibbs.

“You’d love to know what he’d like to do. Adelaide have said what they’ve said but Bryce hasn’t said anything.”

The Herald Sun reports Carlton believes the Crows will look to recruit Gibbs if they are left with draft picks 10 and 16, plus two first-round picks next year should Jake Lever end up in Melbourne and Jeremy Cameron goes to Brisbane.

8.15am

Stringer scenario ‘constipated’

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Jake Stringer is yet to confirm what his new home will be. Source: AAP

Unwanted Western Bulldogs star Jake Stringer was reported to have nominated Essendon as his club of choice earlier in the week, but movement on that trade has been slow and neither party has confirmed those reports.

Essendon legend Tim Watson said the Stringer saga was “constipated” and asked Geelong list manager Stephen Wells what the “laxette” was to get a deal done.

“Maybe it’s those final compensation picks through free agency, maybe it’s Essendon — because they’re dealing with three clubs — if they can get one of those deals done maybe the others will fall into place,” Wells told SEN Breakfast.

“I don’t think it’s untypical of this time of the trade period is it? Normally most things get done closer to the end.”

Essendon is pursuing GWS star Devon Smith and Gold Coast’s Adam Saad as well as Stringer.

Wells said he expects the Bulldogs and Bombers to come to terms but wouldn’t rule out making a play for the small forward should the opportunity arise.

“I guess you never say never,” Wells said.

“We are expecting that he (Stringer) will get a deal done with the Bombers but if that doesn’t happen … we’ve got to be ready for any opportunity that might arise. I expect the Bulldogs and Essendon will be working really hard to get a deal done to satisfy Jake.”

Stringer was put on the trade table after Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said he no longer fit in at the club. His ex-partner then publicly outed him for cheating and he didn’t attend the club’s best and fairest awards night.

8am

Ablett decision not so clear cut

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Gary Ablett is no certainty to be a Cat in 2018. Source: Getty Images

Gary Ablett’s move home to Geelong from the Gold Coast isn’t the fait accompli many footy fans might think it is.

The dual Brownlow Medallist has put in a request to be traded to the Cats after the same wish was denied last year, but Geelong list manager Stephen Wells isn’t sure a deal to bring Ablett to the Cattery is so straightforward.

“There’s a general thought around the industry that it’ll get done but I’m not quite so confident,” Wells told SEN Breakfast.

“There’s still a chance that the Gold Coast will ask for more than we can give.

“We know exactly what we’re willing to give up and the Gold Coast and I are having great talks … but it’s not a fait accompli that it’s going to happen.”

Pushed on whether he was being genuine or just playing games with his less-than-optimistic outlook, Wells maintained he could see a situation where Ablett wouldn’t wear the navy and white hoops next year.

“Yes I do (think the Ablett trade may not happen),” he said. “Gold Coast made it really clear he’s a contracted player up there.

“This time last year they didn’t even consider Gary getting traded after he put in his request.

“At least this year they’re open to it and are considering it so that gives me a bit of confidence that it could happen but we’re not taking it for granted in any way that it will happen.”

Wells was then coy when asked by Essendon great Tim Watson asked if the Suns will let Ablett “wither on the vine” should no trade eventuate.

7.30am

Watts going on with Jack?

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Jack Watts is no longer wanted at Melbourne. Source: Getty Images

Geelong AFL list boss Stephen Wells says it’s unlikely the Cats will be able to trade for enigmatic duo Jack Watts and Jake Stringer.

The talented Watts has often struggled to deal with the huge expectations that inevitably had come his way after being selected by Melbourne with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft.

He has been linked with a move to one of three clubs — Port Adelaide, Sydney or Geelong.

Wells told AFL Trade Radio the Cats had not offered Watts a contract, nor had they committed to trying to trade for him.

“We’ve had a good conversation with Melbourne and they’ve made it clear what they’d be expecting from us,” Wells said on Wednesday.

“At this stage, we don’t think we’d be able to do that deal so we’re not going to give Jack any false hope or waste anybody’s time.”

Watts, 26, is still contracted to the Demons, but coach Simon Goodwin has made it clear it is time for the gifted utility to look for a new footballing home. Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said the news Watts is unlikely to head to the Cattery is a good sign for the Power, while he also tweeted a screen grab of Watts choosing to follow Port forward Charlie Dixon

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Wells also said the Cats were unlikely to be in a position to chase Stringer, who was on the outer at the Western Bulldogs.

The Cats want to hold onto draft pick 20 — and the Bulldogs have made it clear that will not be enough for them to part ways with the 2015 All-Australian forward.

“We investigated Jake and thought we’d be a good club for him,” said Wells. “The problem we were always going to have was trying to do that deal with the Bulldogs.”

Essendon remains in the box seat to get Stringer, although it is also chasing Devon Smith from GWS and Gold Coast speedster Adam Saad.

While the chances of Watts or Stringer moving to Geelong are fading, the Cats remain confident of satisfying the demands of Gold Coast to allow Gary Ablett to return to his hometown club.

But Wells reiterated that none of Mitch Duncan, Nakia Cockatoo or Jake Kolodjashnij would be offered up as a part of any trade for the two-time Brownlow medallist.

Port Adelaide shapes as another major player in the trade period. It has considerable interest in Watts and is also well-placed to secure enigmatic Cats forward Steven Motlop, who has close family ties with the SA club.

Motlop has also toured the Suns’ facilities on the Gold Coast.

— AAP

7am

Port gets its man

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Tom Rockliff needed a change. Source: AAP

Port Adelaide can turn its attention to other prospective deals, with Brisbane clearing the way on Wednesday for former skipper Tom Rockliff to join the Power as a free agent.

The Lions will receive selection 18 in next month’s AFL national draft as compensation for losing the 27-year-old Rockliff, who has agreed to a lucrative four-year deal with Port.

The Lions chose not to match the offer.

“Tom had several options and we’re pleased he chose us,” said Port Adelaide list manager Jason Cripps.

“We’re confident Tom and the club will work together and, in time, prove he made the right decision.”

The Power have been linked with mercurial Geelong forward Steven Motlop and former No. 1 draft pick Jack Watts, who appears to have run his race with Melbourne.

Watts had also attracted the interest of Geelong, although Cats list manager Stephen Wells said on Wednesday it was unlikely the club would be able to come up with a trade offer that would satisfy the Demons.

We’ve had a good conversation with Melbourne and they’ve made it clear what they’d be expecting from us,” Wells told Trade Radio on Wednesday. “At this stage, we don’t think we’d be able to do that deal so we’re not going to give Jack any false hope or waste anybody’s time.” The 26-year-old Motlop has close family ties to the Power.

— AAP

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