L-R: Levi Casboult, Jack Petruccelle, Matt Coulthard. Pictures: AFL Photos

AFL.com.au presents Inside Trading, with breaking news and the best analysis of the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period covering contracts, re-signings, free agents, the NAB AFL Draft and industry insights.


CARLTON has opened discussions on a new deal for defender Mitch McGovern, with the former Crow keen to remain at the Blues.

McGovern is out of contract at the end of this year but negotiations have begun on an extension to lock him into the Blues beyond 2023. 

His manager Andrew McDougall from Corporate Sports Australia confirmed talks had kicked off for a new contract.

Mitch McGovern in action during the R20 match between Carlton and Collingwood at the MCG on July 28, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

McGovern missed last week's win over St Kilda with a hamstring strain but had been a regular member of the Blues' defence this season, playing 18 games. He is due to return before the end of the home and away season.

The 28-year-old was a high-profile addition to the Blues at the end of the 2018 season after crossing from Adelaide, where he played 48 games.

Brisbane held some interest in McGovern during last year's trade period but he looks set to continue at Carlton under coach Michael Voss as the Blues eye a return to the finals for the first time since 2013. – Callum Twomey 



TOM BARRASS' decision to remain at West Coast has added intrigue to Sydney's search for a ready-made key defender, with North Melbourne firming to match an offer for wanted restricted free agent Ben McKay if it doesn't receive top-end compensation.

Barrass, a West Coast premiership player and its reigning best and fairest, told club officials earlier this week that he intends to see out his long-term contract with the Eagles amid significant rival interest from Sydney.

It means the Swans' ongoing hunt for key defensive depth is set to continue into the latter parts of the season, with the club monitoring McKay as he comes to the end of his North Melbourne contract. Sydney has also had interest in re-signed GWS free agent Harry Himmelberg and re-signed Carlton tall Tom De Koning as they look to bolster that area of the ground. 

Ben McKay tackles Patrick Dangerfield during the R17 match between North Melbourne and Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on July 9, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

As revealed on AFL.com.au's Gettable last month, Essendon has already met with McKay though North Melbourne holds the right to match any rival contract offers given his standing as a restricted free agent.

And, speaking on Gettable earlier this week, North Melbourne list manager Brady Rawlings revealed the Kangaroos will strongly consider matching a rival bid if they don't receive compensation immediately after their first pick at the draft.

"The rules are obviously around the amount and their age comes into it. I don't know the secret herbs and spices and we can't know what another club is going to offer in that situation as well," Rawlings said.

TRADE HUB All the latest player movement news

"If Ben decides to leave and the compensation comes through, then we've got a decision to make. If it's end-of-first-round or a second-round pick, then that's probably not what we're after for a player of Ben's ability."

North Melbourne has held ongoing discussions with McKay and his manager Adam Ramanauskas, with Rawling reiterating the defender is "well aware of what we've got on our list", with the club remaining hopeful of retaining his signature.

"We're not scared to have one-on-one chats with our players we're grown up enough to be able to do that. We've done that with 'Buckets'. He's got a big decision to make and we're still hopeful he chooses us and continues his career at North," Rawlings said.

"He's an eight-year player, obviously. He's a 25-year-old and a 200cm key defender who intercepts as well as anyone. We're working on that 25 and under group, we want to put as much time and effort into that group as we can, and 'Buckets' is in our leadership group.

"He's an integral part of this group moving forward and we want to keep him. We'll see what happens. He's a restricted free agent, so we all know the rules there. If he does decide to look at free agency, we've got that right to match." – Riley Beveridge


FREMANTLE has taken care of most of its list management decisions already in 2023, including former first-round pick Sam Sturt

The 23-year-old signed a one-year deal for this season last September that included a trigger for 2024. 

Sturt is understood to have now hit that clause and will remain at the Dockers next year. 

Sam Sturt celebrates a goal during the R21 clash between Fremantle and Brisbane at Optus Stadium on August 6, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

After being taken at pick No.17 in the 2018 AFL Draft, Sturt has been forced to deal with plenty of injury setbacks across his journey, managing only four appearances across his first four seasons in Perth. 

But things have changed this year. Sturt has played 11 games so far in 2023, including the past eight straight. 

The Mt Eliza product produced the best showing of his career on the weekend, kicking three goals in the narrow loss to Brisbane at Optus Stadium. – Josh Gabelich


LEVI Casboult will go round again at Gold Coast in 2024, two years after his AFL career looked over. 

The 33-year-old is working on a new deal to remain at the Suns for a third year after backing up a strong first season in Queensland.

Casboult has enjoyed a late career renaissance since being selected by Gold Coast with pick No.3 in the 2021 Rookie Draft, months after being delisted by Carlton. 

After kicking a personal-best 35 goals in 2022 to help cover the loss of Ben King, Casboult has partnered the young gun and Jack Lukosius in attack across 2023, in favour of Mabior Chol, who has been restricted to just six appearances this season despite kicking 44 goals last year.


Casboult has kicked 20 goals across 17 appearances this year and spent more time as the second ruckman to provide Jarrod Witts with support. 

Casboult played 153 games across 12 seasons at Carlton but is now on the cusp of reaching 200 AFL games after adding 38 more appearances since heading to Carrara. – Josh Gabelich


ANTHONY Scott will be rewarded for a career-best season with a new two-year deal at the Western Bulldogs. 

The 28-year-old has proven to be a hit since being signed on the eve of the 2021 season via the pre-season supplemental selection period. 

Scott has played 55 games since being added to the AFL list at the Whitten Oval as a 25-year-old, after proving himself in the VFL program following dominant form for Old Trinity in the VAFA. 

Anthony Scott celebrates a goal during the R19 match between Western Bulldogs and Essendon at Marvel Stadium on July 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Luke Beveridge has used him across a range of different roles in 2023, although Scott will be sidelined this weekend after sustaining a concussion against Richmond last Friday.

After spending his first couple of years in red, white and blue with Footscray, Scott is now set to remain with the Western Bulldogs until at least the end of 2025. – Josh Gabelich


RICHMOND has rewarded mid-year recruit Matt Coulthard for a bright start to his AFL career, locking away the former Glenelg small forward to a one-year rookie extension for next season.

The Tigers claimed Coulthard with the fourth pick in this year's mid-season rookie draft, having made an impressive start to the SANFL season with Glenelg where he booted eight goals from six games at both senior and reserves level.

He has since played three AFL games, impressing as the tactical substitute on debut to pick up seven disposals and three score involvements in just one quarter of action against Hawthorn.


As revealed in AFL.com.au's Inside Trading in June, only three of the 13 players to have been recruited in the mid-season draft – Ryan Maric, Robert Hansen jnr and Clay Tucker – nominated for 18-month deals.

The remaining 10 players nominated on six-month contracts through for the rest of this season, with Coulthard's one-year extension making him the first player from that batch to extend beyond 2023. – Riley Beveridge


WEST Coast will use the final three weeks of the season to decide upon the futures of a host of players, with its lengthy injury list adding an extra layer of difficulty to this season's contract calls.

The Eagles still have multiple players coming towards the end of their existing contracts in 2023, a group led by former Brisbane defender Alex Witherden and speedster Jack Petruccelle.

However, speaking on AFL.com.au's trade and draft show Gettable last week, West Coast list manager Rohan O'Brien said the club's extensive injury list had made evaluating their positions difficult throughout the year.

Alex Witherden handballs during the R18 match between West Coast and Richmond at Optus Stadium on July 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Eagles have endured a stacked injury list for much of the campaign, compounding a disappointing 2-18 record, but the return to fitness of several key players is expected to aid the club's decision-making throughout the season's final month.

"There's a number of boys still out of contract," O'Brien said.

"Up until recently, when we've had some slightly better availability, it's been really difficult to assess where everyone's at. You need to assess the whole group. Obviously, you're assessing individuals, but you need to have a bigger picture on the whole group.

"We've got some calls to make over the next month or so and we'll take as much time as we need to do that." – Riley Beveridge


FORMER Gold Coast rookie Luke Towey is keen to reignite his AFL career after heading back to Ireland. 

Towey was a category B rookie for the Suns before he was delisted at the end of 2021 after two COVID-interrupted seasons and list cuts across the competition.

The speedy 24-year-old went back to Ireland to play Gaelic football, but is working with leading player agent Colin Young to explore his options back in Australia on an AFL list.

With the AFL looking to expand its footprint again with Irish recruits, Towey said he was keen to explore another chance at the level. 

Luke Towey at Gold Coast training in May, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

"The timing was off completely with going to the AFL initially. About three months in, COVID hit and unfortunately that meant my first year was a complete write off," Towey told AFL.com.au.

"In my second year I made some really good strides quite quickly once I got the opportunity to play games. 

"Unfortunately it just did not work out. Since returning to Ireland football has been going really well with Sligo GAA and my club Molaise Gaels and winning silverware with both but I still have that desire to go and play AFL, to give it a proper crack in normal circumstances. If the opportunity arose it's something I'd grab with both hands." 

The AFL will this year bring multiple untried Irish athletes to its Draft Combine in October as clubs scour the Irish market. – Callum Twomey


CLUBS are on the lookout for late bloomers in this year's draft crop and Gippsland Power teenager Tew Jiath has caught the eye of scouts.

Jiath is the younger brother of Hawthorn defender Changkuoth Jiath, who joined the club via the Next Generation Academy. However, at this stage, his younger brother is not in the Hawks' NGA, with his application pending with the AFL.

The 18-year-old is a 187cm defender in a similar fashion to his older brother. He had a breakout game against Geelong Falcons in round 13, gathering 26 disposals, before solid games against the Northern Knights (15 disposals) and Bendigo Pioneers (16 disposals) in the past two weeks. 

Tew Jiath in action during the Coates Talent League boys testing day at Maribyrnong College on March 11, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"He's developing really nicely. He can run, he can jump. Whatever he measures at, you can add 20cm to it because of his spring," said Scott McDougall, the Power's talent manager.

"His intercept marking has been a real feature of the last few weeks which clubs have been excited by." 

Jiath has been invited to test and trial at the State Draft Combine in October but has building interest among clubs. – Callum Twomey


CLUBS are bracing for a low number of picks to be used at this year's national draft with a pressure for list spots across the competition.

West Coast list manager Rohan O'Brien last week told Gettable that the Eagles were anticipating using "four to five" picks at this year's draft as they continue their rebuild, but that level of investment is likely to be the outlier as a number of clubs expecting to potentially only use two live selections.

Last week the AFL announced its list of invitees to the Draft Combine in October, with 61 players to test and meet clubs across the three days. The lower number of players nominated for the Combine has seen clubs believe there could be another low total of selections used in November. 

DRAFT HUB Click here for the latest draft news

Last year's tally of 59 live picks equalled that of the 2020 intake, which was a record-low number of picks but came after the COVID-hit season. 

There were 65 picks used in the 2021 draft, meaning the average of 61 picks has become the new normal. 

The addition of the pre-season supplemental period as well as the mid-season draft has made for other avenues to get onto AFL lists, but the national draft numbers are remaining low. – Callum Twomey