FREMANTLE has made it clear to St Kilda that its pick five will need to be involved in a deal for star midfielder Bradley Hill.
Hill is expected to take up a lucrative long-term offer with the Saints, worth as much as $900,000 a season, despite having two years to run on his Dockers contract.
The Saints are understood to have looked at ways they could 'split' their first selection at the NAB AFL Draft – currently No.5 overall – into two first-round picks to help them get a number of deals done in the Trade Period.
Hill is set to become a Saint. Picture: AFL Photos
Or they could hope to trade one pick for Hill and then use another at the draft.
But AFL.com.au believes in discussions with the Saints, the Dockers have made it known they are eyeing pick five as part of the deal for Hill and will not accept a diluted selection.
The reason for that is clear. Landing pick five for Hill would see the Dockers hold pick five and six at the draft, giving them one of the strongest hands of all clubs.
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The Saints are among a number of top clubs who have told rivals they are open to turning their early selection into multiple draft picks, with Melbourne (currently pick No.2) and Adelaide (pick three) also canvassing options.
Clubs are generally of the belief, however, that Gold Coast is most likely to win a priority pick at the top of the draft, which would push down all their selections by one spot.
St Kilda looks set for a busy off-season, with Hill at the top of its target list.
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The 26-year-old is contracted to Fremantle until the end of 2021 giving the Dockers the upper hand in dealings, but he is keen to follow his partner back to Melbourne, where he won three premierships with Hawthorn.
He would add vital class and speed to the Saints' midfield mix.
The Saints have also met with Adelaide defender Alex Keath and have been strongly linked to Sydney's Zak Jones, while they have also pitched a deal to Greater Western Sydney free agent Adam Tomlinson.
However, they could lose forward Josh Bruce, who is being courted by the Western Bulldogs.
The Dockers last week re-signed impressive young midfielder Darcy Tucker to a new two-year deal.