Jack Hutchinson, Jack Graham and Sam Mitchell. Picture: AFL Photos

Get all the latest news in the trade, free agency and draft landscape every week in Inside Trading, AFL.com.au's dedicated column for player movement. Find out the latest on contracts, deals, trades, draftees, rules, agents and who is going where from the AFL.com.au team. 


MARK O'Connor's time down under will continue for at least another two seasons after the Irishman secured a contract extension this week. 

The County Kerry product arrived in Geelong in 2016 and will now remain at GMHBA Stadium until at least the end of 2026.

O'Connor and Irish games record holder Zach Tuohy joined Tadhg Kennelly as the only players from the Emerald Isle to win a premiership when the Cats went all the way in 2022. 


The 27-year-old has become a permanent fixture under Chris Scott in the past five seasons, playing at least 20 games in four of those campaigns to sit on 111 games. 

Only six other Irishmen have reached the century, with Tuohy (272) surpassing Jim Stynes' long-standing record of 264 appearances last year. Kennelly (197), Pearce Hanley (169), Sean Wight (150) and Conor McKenna (106) are the others to hit triple figures. 

With two-time GAA young player of the year Oisin Mullin also playing against Adelaide last Friday night, Geelong currently has three Irishmen in its best 23. – Josh Gabelich

Mark O'Connor, Oisin Mullin and Zach Tuohy ahead of Mullin's debut during the R11 match between Geelong and Greater Western Sydney at GMHBA Stadium, on May 27, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


SYDNEY is heading towards re-signing one of its gun out-of-contract players, with midfielder James Rowbottom in discussions for a multi-year extension.

Rowbottom is one of five big names whose contracts at the forefront for the Swans this season, alongside midfield superstar Errol Gulden, young forward Logan McDonald and free agent pair Will Hayward and Ollie Florent

Talks are progressing on a new deal, likely for four years, which would take him through to the end of 2028 when he would be an unrestricted free agent. This is Rowbottom's sixth season at the club, seeing him be two years from free agency.

James Rowbottom celebrates a goal with Chad Warner during the R1 match between Sydney and Collingwood at the MCG on March 15, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The 23-year-old has been a midfield regular for the Swans in recent seasons and in the past two years has finished in the top three of the club's best and fairest, including in its Grand Final season in 2022.

The Oakleigh Chargers product and tackling machine is four games away from reaching his 100th appearance for the Swans since being drafted as a second-round pick in 2018. – Callum Twomey


GREATER Western Sydney free agent Isaac Cumming is expected to generate interest from rivals this year despite his injury-hit absence in the first half of the season.

Cumming is an unrestricted free agent for the Giants, meaning he could depart without the Giants having the option to match a bid for him, and is not rushing into a contract decision as he recovers from soft-tissue setbacks to start his 2024 campaign.

The 25-year-old had an ongoing quad problem that was due to set back his start of the season before then suffering a calf injury during his recovery recently, likely ruling him out for the first two months of the year.

Isaac Cumming celebrates a goal during the preliminary final between GWS and Collingwood at the MCG on September 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

But clubs are still set to monitor Cumming as a potential free agent recruit given the Giants' wealth of attacking half-backs seeing him likely play on a wing when he returns from injury.

The Giants Academy product, who was a top-20 pick in the 2016 draft, played 65 of a possible 72 games in the past three seasons. – Callum Twomey


COLLINGWOOD VFL forward Jack Hutchinson has emerged as an early candidate for the mid-season rookie draft.

Hutchinson, a powerful medium forward who attacks the ball and launches at marks, made his debut for the Magpies' VFL side last week. He had previously caught the eye for scouts in the practice matches and kicked a goal from nine disposals against Sandringham in round one.

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The 22-year-old will need to play three state league games to be eligible for the mid-season rookie draft under the AFL rule introduced last year, having played for Wonthaggi last season in the Gippsland League. 

His coach at Wonthaggi was former Magpie Jarryd Blair, who was in attendance at RSEA Park last week for the VFL clash.

Clubs are watching Hutchinson closely given his exciting traits in the air and presence inside-50 and he is shaping as a clear option for the mid-season draft, which has spawned mature-age success stories such as Jai Newcombe, John Noble and Sam Durham in recent seasons. – Callum Twomey


PORT Adelaide would need AFL clearance to trade its future first-round pick in this year's exchange period under the League's two-in-four-years draft rule. 

Under the League's future trading rules, clubs must make two first-round picks at the draft over a rolling four-year period. The AFL put on the handbrake so that clubs can't trade away all of their future selections and land themselves in long-term list strife. 

However, a clause in the rule allows clubs to apply for permission to trade out their picks if they haven't hit the two-in-four requirement. 

Port Adelaide has used two first-round picks since 2020 (Lachie Jones that season and Josh Sinn in 2021) but has not used any the past two seasons as it has gone on a targeted run of trades, having also traded out a future first-rounder for this season, making it three years in a row they don't hold a first-round pick.

Josh Sinn in action during the R14 match between Port Adelaide and Geelong at Adelaide Oval on June 15, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

However, given the League's provision within the rule, the Power's marquee addition of No.1 pick Jason Horne-Francis as a 19-year-old trade recruit in the 2022 period, which cost the Power two first-rounders across 2022 and 2023, would likely see them able to trade their future first-round selection as Horne-Francis could count among their other top draft choices in the rolling period.

Another option for the Power that would allow them to trade the future first-round pick would be to attain a first-round pick in this year's draft intake through a trade. 

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Richmond and Carlton are the other clubs to have used an equal competition-low two first-round picks over the past four years, although both of those clubs are able to trade their picks this year. The Tigers used two first-round picks in 2021 and would only need AFL clearance to trade their future pick if they had already traded their 2024 first-rounder. 

Carlton is free to trade its current first-rounder and future first-rounder given it has used first-round picks in the past two seasons so has already hit its four-year quota. – Callum Twomey


RICHMOND midfielder Jack Graham is prepared to wait through the season before kickstarting talks on his next contract, as the club's dual premiership player weighs up his free agency decision.

The South Australian, who won flags at the Tigers in 2017 and 2020, has missed the start of the season with a quad injury but remains one of the League's most high-profile free agents this year.

Graham toured Port Adelaide's facilities when he was still under contract with Richmond back in October 2022, but opted to remain at Punt Road and then hit a trigger in his deal early last season that took him through to free agency.

But with the Tigers expected to undergo a transition in their list profile under new coach Adem Yze, both the player and the club have agreed to hold off talks over his next contract until later in the campaign.


"He's a quality player and at the moment, we're just going to see how it all unfolds," Graham's manager Marty Pask from Kapital Sports Group told AFL.com.au's trade and draft show Gettable last week.

"Richmond's in an interesting position, with the list and where they're at. They've got a couple of older guys and they're starting to play some youth as well.

"We've obviously met and agreed just to take a breath and look at how the season starts for everybody, then we'll kick the tyres a little bit more on that in the next little while."

Despite the decision to delay talks around Graham's future into the season, Pask said there remained an understanding from both parties regarding his situation. 

Jack Graham and Kamdyn McIntosh celebrate after the AFL Grand Final between Richmond and Geelong at the Gabba on October 24, 2020. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

"It's the preparedness now for club and player to actually not panic and just say, 'Hey it is your free agency year so how do we attack this and what does it look like?'" Pask said.

"I've done deals with [Richmond list manager] Blair Hartley for a very long time, so there's certainly nothing there that's untoward or anything that should surprise anyone, other than we're looking at this as his free agency year.

"Where is Richmond at? What do they want to do? And what does Jack Graham want to do and where is he at? Both parties talk through that." – Riley Beveridge


HAWTHORN'S investment in the draft over the past six years will see it more open to offloading its top draft choice this year as it hunts more stars.

The Hawks have one of the biggest salary cap war chests in the AFL and have been active in the search for high-priced additions in recent years, having pursued Ben McKay, Esava Ratugolea and Lachie Schultz, among others last season.

They are among the clubs to have shown significant interest in Western Bulldogs forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who is set to spurn rival offers to remain with the Dogs, while also remaining in the mix for Dogs midfielder Bailey Smith. The Dogs have offered Smith a two-year deal but he is expected to take time for his contract call.

The Hawks have used seven first-round picks since 2019 – Will Day, Denver Grainger-Barras, Josh Ward, Cam Mackenzie, Josh Weddle, Nick Watson and Will McCabe – giving them a bedding of talent to develop during their rebuild. 

Cam Mackenzie and Josh Weddle after the R10 match between Hawthorn and West Coast at UTAS Stadium on May 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Sam Mitchell told AFL.com.au in the pre-season that the first half of the year would guide the Hawks' needs but that they would be more likely to part with an early pick than during the first stage of the rebuild. 

"We knew the first two years would be about building a foundation, then it would be about what's missing. By halfway through this season we'll have a much better idea about what are the bits and pieces we need for our list," the Hawks coach said. 

"Whether the best way to fill those needs is through the draft, through trade period or free agency is to be discussed but I think we are at a more likely situation to trade a first-round pick than we have been the last two years. It would have been near on impossible to trade early picks the last two years and I think as we go forward it's more likely than it has been. Not to say it’s likely, but it’s more likely than it has been." – Callum Twomey