MULTIPLE clubs are considering throwing suspended Magpie and ex-Swan Sam Murray an AFL lifeline.
Melbourne, Richmond, Greater Western Sydney and North Melbourne are among the teams to register their interest in Murray, with the Demons considered as keen as any of them.
It remains to be seen whether the opposition interest in the defender will result in Collingwood looking to broker a trade, or if Murray could find a third club as a delisted free agent.
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The 22-year-old has sat out of AFL football since August 17 last season, after traces of cocaine were detected in his system in a game-day test shortly beforehand.
Murray faced a four-year ban but will instead be eligible to play again on February 17, and can train at an AFL club from December 17.
He played all 13 of his senior matches in 2018 after two previous seasons at Sydney, averaging 21 disposals, five marks and four rebound 50s while earning a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.
Murray's speed and knack for taking the game on are the traits that most appeal to his suitors.
His teenage brother, Nick, a key backman, hopes to be drafted this year after splitting his time between Ovens and Murray league club Wangaratta Rovers and the Giants' NEAFL side this season. – Marc McGowan
Midfielder set to leave the Den
Brisbane midfielder Tom Cutler is poised to depart the Lions as he assesses his options in his home state of Victoria.
Cutler, 24, has resisted several opportunities to re-sign with the Lions this year during a season where he was stuck in the NEAFL.
Essendon and Carlton are monitoring Cutler's movement as they look to add more midfield depth.
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Cutler played 18 matches in 2018 on a wing but was restricted to just three matches in 2019 as the Lions surged towards a second-place finish.
He was part of the Lions' NEAFL premiership team this year. – Mitch Cleary
Pies hunting for a first-round pick
Collingwood met with a host of rival clubs on Thursday morning, aiming to find a way back into the first round of this year's NAB AFL Draft.
The Pies currently don't have a first-round selection, having parted with their top pick last year in order to secure star midfielder Dayne Beams from the Lions.
It means the club isn't due to start its draft next month until pick No.35, but list manager Ned Guy revealed it is aiming to reclaim a first-round selection during the Telstra AFL Trade Period.
"We're looking at a few options to get into the first round," Guy told AFL.com.au.
"We're having a few discussions with some clubs – as late as this morning – so if we can get our way back into the first round, we'll certainly aim to do so." – Riley Beveridge
Ruling on The Recruit
Brisbane has had some success with its application to retain defender Matt Eagles as a Category B rookie for a fourth year in 2020.
The Lions will risk losing the 29-year-old by delisting him then re-drafting him as a rookie, but the AFL will allow them to again classify him as a Category B player if no other club picks him.
AFL rules typically allow players to maintain that status for a maximum of three years, but AFL.com.au reported in August the Lions felt Eagles was an exceptional case because of his circumstances.
The 2016 winner of Fox Footy's The Recruit defied expectations to make four senior appearances last year and is a consistently strong NEAFL performer.
Eagles received the Andrew Ireland Medal as the best player afield in this year's NEAFL Grand Final, two seasons after a similarly excellent display in the decider.
Brisbane football boss David Noble told AFL.com.au: "We're a little bit disappointed we can't just retain him, but we understand the process." – Marc McGowan
In other news:
- The Pies are holding out hope forward Jamie Elliott will recommit, despite weighing up his future on the eve of the Free Agency period officially opening.
FINGERS AND TOES CROSSED Pies hopeful star will stay
- Bomber Orazio Fantasia arrived in Adelaide on Thursday ahead of a decision on his new management and where he will play next year
- Gold Coast's Nick Holman has signed on for a further two seasons after being removed from the AFL's updated free agency list released on Thursday. Teammate Mitch Riordan also earned a new deal after he was picked up in the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft
- Veterans Gary Ablett and Harry Taylor recommitted for one more season each at Geelong before the club's best and fairest count on Thursday night
- Versatile Power tall Justin Westhoff will play on next year after satisfying a trigger in his contract
- Fremantle ruckman Lloyd Meek, who attracted some rival interest during the season, will remain a Docker for two more years