WEST Coast's interest in Western Bulldogs ruckman Tim English shapes as a headline act in this year's free agency market, with nearly 120 players qualifying as free agents in 2024.
The All-Australian ruckman hits his free agency season after a career-best campaign last year, with the Eagles already understood to have signalled their interest in him whilst he was in Perth during the off-season.
The Eagles have long held a watch on the West Australian big man, having met with English the last time he was out of contract before he re-signed with the Bulldogs midway through 2022.
He spent time on the sidelines recently with migraine symptoms that saw him engage with medical specialists who ruled they were not related to his concussion issues in the past, with rivals expected to monitor it as they weigh high-priced plays for him, however he has returned to full training with the Dogs and is expected to be all clear for a round one start to the season.
The Dogs will be keen to lock in English as they navigate a year with young guns Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Bailey Smith also coming out of contract.
English, 26, is a big name in the free agency pool, with AFL.com.au compiling the full club-by-club list of 115 free agents ahead of the season.
Brisbane pair Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry, Gold Coast's Ben Ainsworth, Hawthorn's Blake Hardwick, Port Adelaide forward Todd Marshall, Sydney duo Ollie Florent and Will Hayward, Bomber Andrew McGrath and North Melbourne goalkicker Cam Zurhaar are among the first-time free agents in the group this year.
Geelong has the most free agents ahead of the season, with 13 Cats qualifying, including captain Patrick Dangerfield, defenders Jack Henry and Jake Kolodjashnij and veterans Mitch Duncan and Tom Hawkins.
Gold Coast also has a big group of free agents, with No.4 pick Ainsworth the top of the group as well as Darcy Macpherson, co-captain Jarrod Witts and Richmond dual premiership player Brandon Ellis, who qualifies under the 'free agent for life' rule given he crossed to the Suns as a free agent in 2019.
Melbourne's Adam Tomlinson and Essendon's Jake Kelly are in the same bracket, while the likes of Geelong's Tyson Stengle, Hawthorn's Chad Wingard and Carlton's Jack Martin are all among the free agents who are eligible due to having been delisted at a stage of their careers.
Dustin Martin is one of eight free agents at Richmond, alongside premiership teammates Jack Graham, Dion Prestia, Dylan Grimes, Kamdyn McIntosh and Toby Nankervis, while St Kilda tall Josh Battle is one of eight free agents at the Saints.
Current or former skippers Dangerfield, Witts, Nankervis, Liam Duggan, Rory Sloane, Taylor Walker, Dayne Zorko, Scott Pendlebury, Dyson Heppell, Callan Ward and Travis Boak all qualify as free agents.
With the 2016 draft crop hitting free agency status, the likes of English, McCluggage, Ainsworth and McGrath will all be among the group of restricted free agents who qualify as players entering their eighth or ninth seasons who are in the top 25 per cent of their club's earners.
The AFL will release the official bandings early in the season, with bids for restricted free agents able to be matched by a player's club, which can then force a trade deal to be made. Any players outside the top 25 per cent of earners or who have served 10 or more years at their current club will be classified as unrestricted free agents.
Last year 11 players switched clubs as free agents, including restricted trio Ben McKay, Jade Gresham and Tom Doedee.
2024 FREE AGENTS
*qualifies as previously delisted player
^qualifies as previously having changed clubs as a free agent
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY