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Trading places: North players in contract limbo

Nick Bowen  September 13, 2017 6:52 PM

AFL 2017 Round 10 - Photographers Choice

Jarrad Waite kicked 22 goals in 10 matches this season

SCOTT Thompson, Jarrad Waite and Ben Jacobs are among seven North Melbourne players whose futures are unlikely to be decided until after this year's trade period.

Thompson (restricted free agent), Waite and Jacobs are set to come out of contract at the end of October, along with Sam Gibson, Aaron Mullett and second-year players Declan Mountford and Corey Wagner.

It's understood North has told some of these players it won't be able to inform them whether they will be offered contract extensions until after the trade period finishes on Thursday, October 19.

The Kangaroos' stance comes as they sweat on whether Greater Western Sydney midfielder Josh Kelly will accept their nine-year, $10 million offer.

However, regardless of Kelly's decision, North will almost certainly pursue other free agency and trade targets with the $10.5 million it had set aside for Dustin Martin over the next seven years before he re-signed with Richmond.

Which means the seven uncontracted Kangaroos will likely remain in limbo until the Kangaroos have exhausted all of their trade options.

Veterans Thompson, Waite, when fit, and Gibson remained regulars in North's 22 this season.

Thompson, 31, continued to shoulder the bulk of North's key defensive duties with Robbie Tarrant; Waite, 34, kicked 22 goals in 10 games and impressed later in the year in a new role on the wing, and the hard-running Gibson, 31, extended his remarkable consecutive games streak to 130.  

Defender Aaron Mullett, 25, also enjoyed one of his best seasons at Arden St, playing 18 games and leading the Kangaroos in rebound 50s (5.6 a game), while Mountford, 20, took encouraging strides in 12 games as a defender/run-with midfielder.

Jacobs has played just three VFL games since round eight last year, in which time he has had two operations on the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

But North coach Brad Scott endorsed the run-with midfielder's claims for a new contract when asked about his future in July.

"We've got enough evidence to know what his best is, we've just got to get him healthy. That's our priority at the moment," Scott said of Jacobs.

"Is he a player at his best that's going to stay on our list? Absolutely he is."

Wagner showed promise as a small forward in his debut season last year, but ankle injuries restricted him to just four senior games in 2017.

North has made three changes to its list since the end of the season, delisting Lachlan Hansen and rookies Will Fordham and Matthew Taylor.