THE WESTERN Bulldogs are eyeing a play to lure Darcy Moore out of Collingwood.
AFL.com.au understands the Dogs have expressed interest in the contracted Pie in what would shape as the ultimate key position pairing with prodigious youngster Aaron Naughton.
Moore joins Jordan De Goey, Brodie Grundy, Scott Pendlebury and Mason Cox as big-name Pies to fall out of contract next season as the Pies face a juggling act to keep their list together.
While there is no suggestion Moore is unhappy at the Holden Centre, the Dogs will enter this year's NAB AFL Trade Period with significant salary cap room.
As a player under contract, any move for Moore would need to weigh heavily in the Pies' favour at the trade table.
The sudden retirement of Tom Boyd, departure of Liam Picken and leftover money from the failed pursuit of Chad Wingard last season will see the Dogs armed with up to $1.5million of space.
While they have had to fork out for healthy extensions for Naughton, Tim English, Lachie Hunter, Caleb Daniel and Josh Dunkley this season, the Dogs are expected to be active come October.
Essendon small forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Adelaide key defender Alex Keath have also received interest from the Dogs.
A move for Moore would give Luke Beveridge two star swingmen given the elevation of Naughton's move from defence to attack this season.
Beveridge, who this month recommitted until the end of 2023, has long shown a tendency to switch players in different positions on the ground.
The Dogs have long held interest in the son of dual Brownlow medallist Peter and bid pick five for his services in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft.
Moore was then taken with the Pies' first pick at No.9 under old father-son rules and has since played 68 matches across five seasons.
The 23-year-old spent much of last season weighing up interest from elsewhere before re-signing with the Pies until the end of 2020.
He remains out of the Collingwood side with another hamstring injury and is in a race to return before the home and away season.
Meanwhile, the Dogs are also closing in on a fresh deal for Bailey Dale after an impressive fortnight of form in which he has kicked nine goals.
Dale had initially backed himself to return to the senior side after an injury early in the season before ramping up talks.
South Australian Bailey Williams' future at the club is less certain amid interest from rival clubs despite the Dogs' intentions to retain him.