Andrew Phillips, Alex Condon and Daniel Lloyd. Pictures: AFL Photos/Instagram

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


SYDNEY defender Lewis Melican will be locked in at the Swans for another year after reaching a trigger to extend into 2025.

Melican signed a one-year contract with the Swans last year through to the end of this season, when he would again be a free agent. 

But it is understood interested rivals enquiring about his availability due to his strong form have been told he has met a trigger to remain at the Swans for another campaign.

The 27-year-old defender endured a difficult run with injury between 2020-22 but returned to the Swans' senior line-up in the second half of last year and so far has played every game this season for the club. 

He has been tasked with some crucial defensive jobs in Sydney's red-hot start to the season. – Callum Twomey



ESSENDON'S new list boss Matt Rosa says talks are "progressing well" on an extension for game-breaker Jake Stringer, who is coming to the end of his deal with the club.

Stringer last signed a three-year contract in 2021 through to the end of 2024, which is his seventh season at the club since crossing from the Western Bulldogs as a premiership player.

The 2015 All-Australian is in strong form, playing every game this season and kicking 17 goals so far, second to only Kyle Langford at the club. 

Jake Stringer celebrates a goal for Essendon against GWS in R9, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Rosa, who has been in his first few months as the Bombers' AFL talent and operations manager, said dialogue had opened on a Stringer contract. 

"It's another one where we're in conversations with Jake's management team. We're just really pleased with the way Jake's playing but also the headspace he's in and the work he's putting in off-field. He's a much-loved player at Essendon and Jake loves the club also so those talks are progressing well," Rosa told's trade and draft show Gettable.

The Bombers have several other contract priorities as the club enjoys a strong start to this season, with emerging midfield pair Archie Perkins and Jye Caldwell also out of contract and in discussions. 

Gettable reported last month the pair are looking more likely to pen two-year extensions, with Rosa saying discussions were headed in the right way.

"We're constantly speaking with their managers and all indications are they're really happy at the club and they're important members of our squad. It's good that they're playing really good footy, they're important players, and we're comfortable with how they're progressing," Rosa said. – Callum Twomey


THE WESTERN Bulldogs have put a contract offer to first-round pick Jedd Busslinger as the developing tall defender reaches the midway point of his second season at the club.

Busslinger was the Dogs' No.13 pick at the 2022 AFL draft but is yet to break through for his debut at the top level in the club's well-stocked talls department.

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The West Australian is one of only two first-round picks from that season yet to re-sign beyond his standard two-year deal, with Swan Jacob Konstanty, the No.20 pick that season, also remaining out of contract beyond this year.

Jedd Busslinger in action during the VFL match between Casey and Footscray at Casey Fields in round two, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Konstanty is gathering rival interest as a small forward and also is yet to get in a shot at AFL level with the Swans.

The Dogs have made a contract offer to extend Busslinger beyond the end of this season. – Callum Twomey


CLUBS interested in former Essendon, Carlton and Greater Western Sydney ruck Andrew Phillips have become aware he would not be eligible for an exemption to be drafted in this month's Mid-Season Rookie Draft. revealed on Wednesday night that the 32-year-old had attracted interest, but would require an AFL exemption given he retired from the Bombers last year and has been playing in the Tasmanian State League (which doesn't count as State League comparable games).

Collingwood had been among the clubs searching for added ruck depth in the second half of the season due to the long-term injuries suffered by Aiden Begg and Oscar Steene, along with North Melbourne, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Andrew Phillips and his children ahead of Essendon's clash with North Melbourne in round 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

However, clubs interested in Phillips – who played 82 games across nine seasons at the Bombers, Blues and Giants – have become aware he wouldn't be granted an AFL exemption to nominate for the draft, similar to Daniel Lloyd (see below).

Phillips had been one of multiple former AFL players being considered by clubs as a surprise candidate to be selected in the mid-season draft, with ex-Richmond midfielder and former top-20 pick Riley Collier-Dawkins also in contention.

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Collier-Dawkins was delisted by the Tigers after 11 games across four years back in 2022 and then struggled last season when he shifted into the SANFL at Woodville West-Torrens.

However, the 24-year-old moved to Williamstown this year and has put his name back on the radar of AFL clubs having averaged 24.1 disposals, 6.3 clearances and five tackles per game at the Seagulls.

Riley Collier-Dawkins in action during the VFL match between Williamstown and Werribee at DSV Stadium on April 25, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Clubs believe a solid group of mature-aged players have started to separate themselves heading into the May 29 draft, with Essendon VFL player Oskar Smartt among those under consideration.

Smartt, a powerful 180cm half-forward who won't turn 19 until later this year, kicked four goals against Footscray earlier this season and is considered alongside Collingwood VFL forward Jack Hutchinson as a likely top choice.

Illiro Smit is also attracting interest after the teenager kicked the winning goal for Eastern Ranges over the weekend. The 200cm prospect is part of Hawthorn's Next Generation Academy system, though the Hawks can only match a bid on him if he slips through until November's national draft.

Iliro Smit in action during the Coates Talent League match between Western Jets and Eastern Ranges at Avalon Airport Oval on May 12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Geelong VFL ruck Ajang Kuol Mun is another to have been watched closely by recruiters in recent weeks, while lockdown defender Maxwell Benier has intrigued clubs since joining St Kilda's VFL affiliate side at Sandringham.

St Kilda is considering VAFA player Benier and along with Essendon, the Saints are understood to have enquired about him, while Port Adelaide has also taken a look. Benier joined several Zebras players to train with Ross Lyon's AFL squad last Thursday morning. – Riley Beveridge, Josh Gabelich


LIKELY future Category B rookie Alex Condon has this week spent time with Collingwood while the 212cm basketball talent is in Melbourne.

Condon last year nominated the Magpies as his preferred club as a Category B rookie when he becomes eligible after a number of clubs chased his signature. 

The West Australian last year accepted a scholarship with the University of Florida for his basketball talents but made an agreement with the Magpies to join them as a Category B rookie if he leaves behind his basketball hopes.

His three-year period without playing any football, which is the category B requirements, ends in August this year, meaning he could sign with Collingwood from that point onwards and potentially still head back to the US to continue his college basketball career. 

Condon projected as a likely early pick at the 2022 AFL draft after featuring for Western Australia's under-18 side in 2021 at the under-18 championships. – Callum Twomey 


GREATER Western Sydney Academy prospect Logan Smith is shaping as one of the first northern Academy players picked in this year's draft after a dominant start to the season.

The 204cm ruckman is a member of the Giants Academy and this week was selected in the Allies squad for the mid-year under-18 championships. 

Will Green and Logan Smith compete in the ruck during the Northern Knights' Coates Talent League clash against the GWS Giants Academy on March 25, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

His form for the Giants in their Coates Talent League performances stood out to rival recruiters, with Smith playing three games and averaging 18 disposals and 27 hitouts.

His best performance came in round six against the Murray Bushrangers, when he had 24 disposals, eight clearances and 22 hitouts.

The Giants will get first access to him through their Academy but his progress is seeing clubs view him as one of the best ruckmen in the draft pool.

Greater Western Sydney has had success from its Academy with a run of ruckmen, including current No.1 big man Kieren Briggs and developing talent Nick Madden, who recently re-signed for two more years but has strung together a run of impressive VFL form. – Callum Twomey


CLUBS are hopeful their push for more freedom trading future draft picks will be introduced this year.

The AFL has sought feedback on clubs' views on trading further into the future beyond one year, with most clubs understood to be in favour of opening up more selections to be swapped.

Currently clubs can only trade their picks for the season they are in and one year in advance, although there are caveats on that, including having to hold future second and third-round picks to be allowed to trade a future first-round pick.

But as part of the League's competitive balance review and in meetings with all 18 clubs, the AFL has been open to considering options for more future picks being able to be swapped, with clubs keen to have more chips in their hand to make deals happen.


Different proposals have been put to the AFL on future trading, including a staggered approach that would allow clubs to trade all picks for two future years and then all picks bar a first-round selection being able to be traded in the third future year. 

The ability to 'pick protect' for the second and third years of future trading – meaning there can be get-out clauses if a team finishes in a certain part of the ladder – has also been discussed. – Callum Twomey


BRISBANE'S hopes to pick assistant coach Daniel Lloyd in the upcoming mid-season rookie draft have been dashed after the AFL knocked back an exemption application.

The Lions had interest in selecting Lloyd as a mid-season rookie after their spate of season-ending knee injuries.

However, under AFL rules, players who left the competition as 'retired' within a year are not eligible for the mid-season draft unless they have played at least three state league games in the current season. 

Daniel Lloyd in action during GWS' semi-final clash with Port Adelaide in 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Lloyd was unable to hit the three-game state league mark before the May 29 mid-season intake and the club's hopes for an exemption have been ruled out. 

The 32-year-old joined Brisbane as a development coach at the end of last year after playing 101 games with the Giants after being a mature-age pick up. 

The forward could have been a readymade replacement in the Lions' forward line after their run of injuries. - Callum Twomey