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Trade wrap: Free agent Rockliff ready to roll

Tom Rockliff is heading for the door as free agency period looms - AFL,Trade,Free Agency,Contracts,Jack Watts,Shane Mumford,Braydon Preuss,Gary Ablett,Tom Rockliff,column
Tom Rockliff is heading for the door as free agency period looms

Rockliff starts to roll

THE BRISBANE Lions expect former captain Tom Rockliff to head for the exit when the NAB AFL Free Agency Period opens on Friday.

"I think that's the intent at this point in time," Lions football manager David Noble told NAB AFL Trade Radio on Monday.

"We had an offer on the table, he wanted to explore (other options) and we haven't really heard different from then."

Barring an eleventh-hour bid by another club, Rockliff will be at Port Adelaide or Carlton next season.

Some rival list managers believe the midfielder would prefer to move home to Melbourne, which would put the Blues in the box seat. However, others believe Port remains firmly in the mix

What happens next?

  • The free agency offer Rockliff eventually tables is likely to be worth up to $700,000 a season
  • That should net the Lions an end-of-first round pick compensation pick, at No.18 overall

  • Even if the Lions received a second-round compensation, their wooden-spoon finish means this pick would almost certainly fall at No.19. Either way, they'll be left with both No.18 and No.19.

Want Ablett? Give up a star

The Suns say a fringe player won't cut it as they deal with the Cats to send superstar Gary Ablett back to Geelong.

List manager Scott Clayton told Trade Radio Gold Coast is willing to get 'creative'.

But Clayton said the Cats will need to give up a player who will walk into the Suns' best 22:

Three early bargaining chips for the Cats:

  • Mitch Duncan's name has also been discussed

What happens next?

The Ablett deal won't be as simple as a straight player swap. The Suns appear prepared to add a sweetener to get a quality player.

Would Ablett and one of the Suns' second-round picks – No.19, No.22 or No.24 – convince the Cats to part with Duncan or a player of his ilk?

Two teams in the early running for Watts

Jack Watts looks as good as gone from Melbourne despite being contracted until the end of 2019, with Demons coach Simon Goodwin saying the former No.1 draft pick is 'stuck in a rut'

"A lot of pressure has been placed on both the Melbourne footy club and Jack over a long period of time," Goodwin said on Monday. 

"That's cycle's continued, it hasn't changed."

  • Port Adelaide is one club interested in offering Watts a new home
  • Sydney is also in the mix, according to Trade Radio

Why it's come to this: Relations between 2008's No.1 draft pick and the Demons became strained when he was overlooked for the opening two rounds of this year's JLT Community Series. After he was dropped late in 2017, they soured to the point of no return.

How's the Demons' bargaining position? 

Weakened, after Goodwin's pointed comments.

However, Watts could attract suitors beyond Port and the Swans. Still just 26, the 196cm forward can be highly effective in a link-up role with his pace and clean foot skills.

He'll nominate a preferred new home after assessing all his options. In exchange, Melbourne could not realistically expect anything earlier than a second-round pick, and that selection is more likely to be around No.30 or later.

Remember: The Power hold pick No.29, the Swans No.31.

Giants start their hunt for a ruckman ... 

The Giants are preparing for life after Shane Mumford, whose career hangs in the balance pending medical advice on his injured foot and degenerative knee.

After Tom Downie's retirement in May, the Giants' ruck division is looking thin and needs bolstering. This is likely to be a priority during the trade period. 

Two options they can consider, and one they won't:

  • Contracted Gold Coast ruckman Tom Nicholls is on the trade table after a disappointing 2017, while St Kilda's Tom Hickey, also contracted for 2018, could become available after falling behind Billy Longer in the Saints' pecking order this season.
  • North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein is not prepared to consider moving to a club outside Victoria.

... and the Roos move to lock in theirs

As demand for ruckmen heats up across the competition, North Melbourne is moving to extend Braydon Preuss' contract beyond its 2018 expiry date.

The Kangaroos are believed to be preparing a new offer for the 22-year-old, who is happy at Arden St despite struggling for senior opportunities behind Todd Goldstein last season.

Preuss has attracted interest from rival clubs.

What it means: 

  • By making a longer commitment to Preuss, North wants to convince him his future lies at Arden St even if Goldstein stays at the club next season. Goldstein is contracted until the end of 2019 and, despite speculation he is on the trade table, a genuine suitor is yet to emerge
  • Clubs in the market for a ruckman such as GWS, Fremantle, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs will have to look elsewhere.

What you also need to know

 Bryce Gibbs has yet to tell Carlton he wants to pursue a trade to Adelaide after last year's unsuccessful bid, according to Blues football manager Andrew McKay

McKay also rubbished speculation the Blues are interested in veteran Giants midfielder Ryan Griffen, but confirmed the club's interest in fellow Giants Devon Smith and Matthew Kennedy

Contracted Bulldogs midfielder Luke Dahlhaus has received no indication he won't be at the Kennel next season, his manager Peter Lenton says

The Brisbane Lions are likely to offer Hawks great Luke Hodge a two-year deal, Lions football boss David Noble says

Brendon Ah Chee has asked Port Adelaide for a trade, with three rival clubs believed to be circling the midfielder

Unrestricted free agent Josh Thomas has re-signed with Collingwood for 2018

Out-of-contract Fremantle key forward Matt Taberner is weighing up his future amid rival interest, according to his manager Anthony McConville

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