IN-DEMAND Bomber Orazio Fantasia is meeting with prospective player agents this week ahead of a trip home to South Australia this weekend.
Fantasia, who is contracted at Essendon until the 2021 season after signing a two-year contract extension last year, split from his manager Anthony McConville last week.
AFL.com.au reported in July that the richly talented 24-year-old was keen to finish his AFL career in his home state and that Port Adelaide was the frontrunner in that scenario.
Adelaide is also waiting to see what decision Fantasia makes but isn't a serious player at this stage.
The situation has developed to the point where industry sources now believe Bombers officials are bracing for Fantasia to request a trade.
Power football boss Chris Davies put his club's interest in Fantasia on the public record when he spoke on Telstra AFL Trade Radio on Wednesday morning.
AFL TRADE HUB All the latest news
Fantasia has a strong relationship with several Port Adelaide people that pre-dates him entering AFL ranks.
The small forward played in SANFL club Norwood's 2013 senior premiership, which was coached by current Power assistant Nathan Bassett, who also worked with him at Essendon.
Port Adelaide co-captain Tom Jonas didn't play in that Grand Final but was aligned to Norwood that season and is also close with Fantasia.
The dynamics of any potential Fantasia deal won't be thrashed out until a trade request is made, but the Bombers have long coveted Power swingman Dougal Howard.
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Howard, who is contracted until 2022, is exploring his options and met with Essendon, North Melbourne and St Kilda last week, while Collingwood also made an inquiry.
Tough midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper is another player of interest to the Bombers.
Next ruckman looming at Tullamarine
Essendon's search for a back-up ruckman has seen the Bombers meet with out-of-contract Carlton big man Andrew Phillips.
After missing out to St Kilda for Paddy Ryder, the Bombers are looking for added ruck depth behind Tom Bellchambers and Sam Draper, who will return from an ACL reconstruction in 2020.
The Bombers have explored the potential of recruiting the 201cm Blue who played five matches this season.
Phillips has been offered a one-year deal to remain at Ikon Park but at 28, is seeking two years for added career security.
The former Giant, who was in the Harbour City from 2012-2015, sits second in the Blues' pecking order behind Matthew Kreuzer. Former Power big man Matthew Lobbe was delisted from the Blues last month.
Essendon has also shown interest in Geelong big man Zac Smith who is yet to be offered a deal at the Cats and is also being monitoring by his former club Gold Coast.
Zac Clarke, who was picked up by the Bombers via the pre-season supplemental period (SSP) in December, is yet to be offered a contract for 2020.
Andrew Phillips does battle with Todd Goldstein in round nine. Picture: AFL Photos
Who's next after Papley?
SYDNEY has started to make contingencies for the potential loss of Tom Papley to Carlton, zeroing in on two rival out-of-contract forwards.
AFL.com.au understands the Swans are set to meet with Crow Riley Knight with his future at the Crows still undecided.
The 24-year-old, who played 15 matches this year and was also a member of the Crows' 2017 Grand Final side, was told he would have to wait until the end of Trade Period to learn his fate at the Crows.
Brisbane small forward Lewis Taylor, who also remains without a deal at the Lions, has also received preliminary inquiries from the Swans.
The 2014 NAB AFL Rising Star played just five matches this season, overlooked for regular senior opportunities as the Lions surged into second place in the 2019 home and away season.
It is understood he is open to moving to his second AFL club.
Papley last week informed the Swans of his desire to move to the Blues over North Melbourne before jetting off to Europe on holidays.
Should Knight opt to leave, he would become the sixth Crow to request a trade this off-season.
Alex Keath (Western Bulldogs), Hugh Greenwood (Gold Coast), Cam Ellis-Yolmen (Brisbane), Sam Jacobs (GWS) and Josh Jenkins have all asked for moves.
Eddie Betts also looks increasingly likely to request a move back to Carlton, while Brad Crouch is exploring outside interest.
The Mummy lives on
Greater Western Sydney veteran Shane Mumford looks destined to play on after meeting a trigger to activate a second-year of his re-birth following retirement.
Mumford, 33, played 20 matches this season after coming out of a short-lived one-year retirement.
The former Cat and Swan's deal for 2020 is expected to be formalised following his exit meeting with the Giants in the next 24 hours.
After returning to the list via the SSP, Mumford could remain a rookie for next season, with all rookies now eligible to play from round one.
Fringe Tiger on the move?
Fremantle is eyeing a move for Richmond wingman Connor Menadue as it braces to lose outside dashers Bradley Hill and Ed Langdon.
The Dockers have been monitoring Menadue's situation and will look to speak to him following his exit meeting at the Tigers this week.
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The 23-year-old played six AFL matches this season on a one-year deal and has not yet been offered a contract for 2020.
Menadue was part of Richmond's VFL premiership this season and has played 39 games in his five seasons at Punt Road.
Hill (St Kilda) and Langdon (Melbourne) have both requested trades in recent weeks and the Dockers are looking to replace their outside run.
Green frenzy looming
Greater Western Sydney could be forced to jump into the top five of the NAB AFL Draft in order to avoid using its early picks to match a bid for academy prospect Tom Green.
Sydney, who currently holds pick No.5, is one of a number of clubs eyeing Green, who is a big-bodied midfielder that has drawn comparisons to Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps.
Melbourne and Adelaide appear the most likely suitors to 'split' their picks and slide down the order with GWS, who could need to relinquish picks No.12 and No.18 to move up.
"We just met with Tom and to say that our coaches were impressed would be an understatement," Swans recruiting manager Simon Dalrymple told AFL.com.au.
"He's a fantastic young fella. We've been to his home, he's got a great family, so he's certainly right in our mix in terms of our talent order at that pick."
In other news:
- Tim Kelly officially lodged his trade request to West Coast, 24 hours before Geelong's best and fairest.
- Dual premiership Tiger Brandon Ellis made public his desire to pursue his free agency rights with a move to Gold Coast