James Harmes, Paddy Dow and Nick Haynes. Pictures: AFL Photos

AFL.com.au presents Inside Trading, with breaking news and the best analysis of the AFL trade landscape covering contracts, re-signings, free agents, the AFL Draft and industry insights.


THE WESTERN Bulldogs have emerged as a suitor for Melbourne premiership player James Harmes, who is looking at a new start with a year to go on his contract.

Clubs have viewed Harmes as being a trade option throughout this year despite being signed through to the end of 2024 with the Demons. 

TRADE HUB All the latest player movement news

The Bulldogs have been looking at the midfield market through the year, with Harmes shaping as a possibility as he explores his trade opportunities. 

Harmes had also been linked to Richmond, where his former Dees midfield coach Adem Yze is now senior coach, although the Tigers appear more unlikely as a destination. 

The 28-year-old played nine games this season after attracting some interest from Essendon last Trade Period, having featured in the Demons’ 2021 flag win. 

The strong-bodied midfielder has played 152 games for the club but finished the season in the VFL as the Demons were bundled out of the finals series. – Callum Twomey



CARLTON midfielder Paddy Dow appears set to request a trade to St Kilda, after Sydney's interest in the uncontracted Blue did not progress.

Dow is set to make his final call this weekend ahead of the Trade Period kicking off on Monday, though the Saints have long been in the box seat for the clearance-winner despite interest from the Swans.

With Sydney focusing its attentions on securing a move for Melbourne free agent James Jordon, Demons ruckman Brodie Grundy, Collingwood midfielder Taylor Adams and Fremantle defender Joel Hamling, its interest in Dow did not evolve.

The Blues will not delist Dow, meaning any trade with the Saints will need to be negotiated throughout the player movement window.

Paddy Dow celebrates a goal in Carlton's match against St Kilda in R21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Dow has been searching for more senior opportunities, having featured just 14 times across the last two seasons at Ikon Park.

But the former No.3 draft pick still had a late impact in Carlton's season, averaging 21.8 disposals and 6.5 clearances across the final month of the home and away campaign. – Riley Beveridge


THE GIANTS appear likely to retain experienced defender Nick Haynes, despite lingering interest from clubs in taking on the final year of his contract.

Haynes is coming towards the end of a heavily back-ended deal that runs through until 2024, while the Giants have been open to parting with the 31-year-old under the right circumstances.

But interested teams appear resigned to the fact Haynes is more than likely to remain at the club next season, despite a difficult campaign where he dropped in and out of Adam Kingsley's best side.

Haynes, a best and fairest and All-Australian at the Giants in 2020, played just 20 of a possible 26 games this season while he was either the substitute or substituted out of seven of those fixtures.

Nick Haynes before the round 19 match between Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast at Manuka Oval, July 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Elsewhere, the Giants are still hopeful of resuming negotiations with the Crows around a deal for contracted forward Elliott Himmelberg, but as reported on AFL.com.au on Friday talks have stalled after Suns forward Mabior Chol nominated the Hawks as his preferred trade destination.

The club has also met with Port Adelaide small forward Orazio Fantasia and could look to sign the 28-year-old to its rookie list over the off-season. – Riley Beveridge 


HAWTHORN will meet with father-son prospect Will McCabe this week to discuss the next steps with the tall defender, who shapes as a potential top-25 pick in November. 

The athletic tall defender is the son of former Hawk Luke McCabe, who played 138 games for the club and is now the Hawthorn football director.

He enjoyed a strong season with Central District’s under-18s side, where he showed his intercept marking skills, and also featured for South Australia at the mid-year carnival. 

McCabe trained with Hawthorn in the pre-season and also spent a week at the Hawks after the mid-year championships, when he had a foot injury detected that kept him out of action for a block of the second half of the year.

Will McCabe kicks the ball during South Australia's clash against Vic Country in the national championships on June 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

McCabe, who also barracks for the Hawks, told AFL.com.au he will catch up with the club this week for more clarity on his father-son position. 

"I've met with (Hawks list manager) Mark McKenzie on a few occasions but I've got a formal meeting with them next week where I'll probably get a bit more clarification on what they're thinking is going to go down on draft night and they said they'll be honest about it," he said. 

"But nothing's been confirmed yet. I absolutely [want it to happen] but it could still play out either way."

DRAFT HUB Click here for the latest draft news

McCabe said his father's new role as the Hawks' football director, which was announced in March, had come as a surprise.  

"He kept it under the radar a bit when he said he was going over to interview for that job. I'm happy for him, I think he missed it a lot and loves being in the AFL culture. He tries to get over to Melbourne as much as possible," he said. 

"I'm definitely happy for him. It doesn't have any impact on me. He'll be happy wherever I end up."


McCabe isn't testing at the Draft Combine in Melbourne this weekend as he manages an ongoing adductor issue.

"In my comeback game [from the foot injury] I flared up my adductor and there was a bit of stress activity on the pelvis there and was out for another couple of weeks. I got an MRI and it was set back even further because of the stress activity that came up," McCabe said.

"I'll be back to change of direction running in three weeks. At the moment I can do straight line running and in the gym but it's all modified. It's just about managing it and seeing how far I can push it and trying to progress without losing any muscle around the pelvis." – Callum Twomey


THE EARLY compensation packages delivered for unrestricted free agents James Jordon and Matt Flynn have been met with some surprise around the League, as clubs wait on the returns for some of this year's bigger free agency deals.

Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney each received end-of-second round selections for Jordon and Flynn, which ultimately fell at picks No.39 and 40 respectively.

The paperwork for both deals was lodged with the AFL on the first day of free agency on Friday, with Jordon signing a four-year deal at Sydney and Flynn taking up a three-year offer from West Coast.

James Jordon in action during the R4 match between Melbourne and West Coast at Optus Stadium on April 9, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Clubs had initially been expecting the compensation packages for both deals to be far later in the draft order, leading to an added sense of intrigue around what this year's more significant free agency moves could deliver.

Essendon is expected to land restricted free agents Ben McKay from North Melbourne and Jade Gresham from St Kilda, while Brisbane will secure fellow restricted free agent Tom Doedee from Adelaide.

The AFL currently has a detailed points-based formula that decides free agency compensation, which considers a range of factors including the financial terms of the deal and the age of the player moving clubs among others.

To trigger end-of-second round compensation banding, the player must have received an offer within the top 50 per cent of paid players for that season.

Clubs are notified of the potential compensation for restricted free agents within 24 hours of the paperwork being lodged, while they then have three days to match any rival bids. – Riley Beveridge

Matt Flynn and Oscar McInerney contest for the ball during Greater Western Sydney's clash against Brisbane in round six, 2023. Picture: Getty Images


A HANDFUL of coaches grilled this year's best AFL Draft prospects on Saturday, as this season's national combine continued at the MCG.

There was no physical testing on Saturday, with the bulk of this year's combine events taking place at Margaret Court Arena later in the weekend, but the country's best junior prospects still spent the day being prodded and probed by clubs.

All 18 clubs were represented by recruiters and talent scouts in a 'round-robin' style interview process, rotating through more than 60 of the nation's best junior prospects, with a series of senior coaches also in attendance for the day of chats.

New Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick and new Richmond boss Adem Yze were among the coaches taking part in the interviews, while Giants coach Adam Kingsley and North Melbourne's Alastair Clarkson were also in attendance.

Damien Hardwick on August 21, 2023 after his unveiling as Gold Coast's new coach. Picture: Getty Images

Carlton's Michael Voss, St Kilda's Ross Lyon and Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell were also present for both interviews and the gruelling 2km time trial when the national combine began on Friday.

Essendon's new AFL talent and operations manager Matt Rosa also stepped out for his first duties with the club, while Geelong's interviews featured playing duo Gryan Miers and Mitch Duncan. – Riley Beveridge