JACK Watts and Jake Stringer are unlikely to be at Geelong next year, with the Cats declaring that trading for either is beyond their current measures.
Watts has met with the Cats, as well as Port Adelaide and Sydney, and has indicated he would prefer to continue his AFL career in Victoria after 153 games with Melbourne.
But, it doesn't look like that will be in blue and white hoops, with list manager Stephen Wells all but ruling out a potential trade for the former No.1 draft pick in the coming week.
"We don't like to commit to a player unless we think we can get the deal done with the other club that's involved," Wells told NAB AFL Trade Radio on Wednesday.
"We've had a good conversation with Melbourne and they've made it clear what they'd be expecting from us, and 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.
"It's good that Jack's had some interest in Geelong as one of his potential suitors, and we certainly are interested in Jack.
"We certainly haven't committed to Jack at this stage, we haven't offered him a contract or committed to trying to do a trade for him.
"That doesn't mean we won't see something change in the next week or so."
Wells said they were in a similar position when it came to out-of-favour Western Bulldog Jake Stringer, who has been put up for trade by his club.
"We investigated Jake and thought we'd be a good club for him," he said.
"The problem we were always going to have was trying to do that deal with the Bulldogs.
"We have pick 20 in the draft and were really keen to keep that pick, we're not saying it's totally off the table but it would have to be a really good deal for us to part with that.
"Jake might have been a good player to part with pick 20, but the Bulldogs made it clear that wasn't going to get the deal done."
The Bulldogs have asked about players being included in the trade, but the Cats are adamant the likes of Mitch Duncan, Jake Kolodjashnij and Nakia Cockatoo are off the table.
That trio also won't figure in any deal to secure Gary Ablett's return to the Cattery.
Holding up all proceedings for the Cats is the Steven Motlop situation, with the enigmatic forward looking around as a free agent.
Motlop has gone home to Darwin to consider his options after meeting with both South Australian clubs and Gold Coast.
Wells said the Cats would expect an end of first round or second-round compensation pick if he left, which could open up more trading avenues.
"If we got, for example, pick 19 or alternatively pick 35 or so, it does give us all sorts of things we can consider from then on," Wells said.
Wells said there would need to be "co-operation from Gold Coast, Motlop and his management" for him to factor in a trade for Ablett.
The Cats' key objective this trade period is Ablett, but Wells said the two clubs were still "a bit apart" when it came to negotiations.
"We've got our limits as to how far we can go as well," Wells said.
"We've expressed those to Gold Coast … hopefully what we're willing to give up and what Gold Coast are willing to take will cross paths at some time in the next week or so.
"I'm encouraged by what Scott Clayton said on Monday … but right now, we're a bit apart.
"Some aspects of their requests we can meet, and are happy to do so.
"We're headed in the right direction."
Daniel Menzel – an unrestricted free agent – and Darcy Lang are also considering their options, but Wells said both players have "got a home at Geelong" next season if they don't find another.
Wells denied strong interest in Bulldog Stewart Crameri, and said the Cats would most likely focus their energies on the November 24 NAB AFL Draft outside of Ablett.
"We're hopeful Gary Ablett will come, but other than that, we might not do much else this year, depending on what opportunities arise over the next week or so."
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