A SERIES of the AFLW Trade Period's biggest deals look set to go down to the wire on Thursday's deadline day, with clubs still locked in talks over trades for Gabby Newton, Maddi Gay and Montana McKinnon among others.
But there had been a slight breakthrough on Wednesday afternoon, with the Western Bulldogs progressing in discussions over a significant three-club trade with Gold Coast and Port Adelaide that could help unlock other deals.
The proposal – which remains up in the air – would see Dogs defender Katie Lynch move to the Suns in exchange for pick No.14, as well as veteran defender Lauren Ahrens and youngster Jasmyn Smith.
The Bulldogs would then on-trade pick No.14 and All-Australian midfielder Kirsty Lamb to Port Adelaide and receive pick No.4 in return, adding to the No.1 pick they already hold due to their last-placed finish in season 2023.
That proposal could also help the Bulldogs begin next Monday night's AFLW draft with three top-six selections, given Fremantle has put forward pick No.6 as a starting point in negotiations for star forward Newton.
But the trade appears incumbent on other deals happening elsewhere, with Gay's move to Essendon and McKinnon's defection to Richmond also needing to go through before Thursday's 2pm AEDT trade deadline.
Talks on Wednesday between Essendon and Melbourne did advance over a deal for the premiership-winning midfielder Gay, though a resolution still remains some way off between the two clubs.
The Demons have been adamant throughout that pick No.13 must be included in any trade talks, but it's understood the Bombers had initially put forward their pick No.53 in an attempt to secure the deal.
After days of intense negotiating, it's understood pick No.13 is now on the table and is likely to be the centrepiece of the deal but the two clubs are still haggling over a swap of later picks.
One of those later picks could then be sent from Essendon to Gold Coast in a deal for the club's vice-captain Bess Keaney, who has requested a trade to Victoria and specifically to the Bombers for family reasons.
Richmond's move for Adelaide's star ruck McKinnon is also a standstill, with the two teams unable to find middle ground between the Tigers' first pick at No.11 and their second at No.29.
It's understood Richmond spent Wednesday reaching out to rival clubs over a pick-swap that could land a selection in between picks No.11 and 29 to satisfy Adelaide, but have so far been unable to make any progress.
A series of other trades do appear to be on the cusp of completion with West Coast, Brisbane and Geelong progressing on deals that will take Shanae Davison and Eleanor Hartill to the Lions, Annabel Johnson to the Eagles and Bella Smith to the Cats.
Richmond is also likely to part with pick No.30 to land Greater Western Sydney duo Jodie Hicks and Ally Dallaway, with the Tigers also set to secure pick No.42 as part of the transaction.
The Giants, who are set to grab pick No.30 from the Tigers, could then trade that to the Swans as part of a pick slide that could also see Cam Bernasconi's side secure small forward Aliesha Newman. They will also nab Courtney Murphy from the Lions.
Those clubs – Brisbane, Greater Western Sydney, Richmond, Sydney, West Coast and Adelaide – had briefly considered a six-club, seven-player mega trade featuring all of the aforementioned details, but that fell over on Wednesday afternoon.
Other deals still to be concluded on Thursday include veteran Ash Brazill's move from Collingwood to Fremantle, defender Charlotte Wilson's shift from Melbourne to Gold Coast, and youngster Lily Johnson's move from Port Adelaide to Melbourne.