WANTAWAY North Melbourne ruckman Braydon Preuss looks almost certain to be a Demon next year as Melbourne tries to secure much-needed support for All Australian Max Gawn.
AFL.com.au first reported the Demons' interest in Preuss in August and it is understood he and his management are telling other suitors not to pursue him.
The 23-year-old, originally from Queensland, re-signed for three seasons in October last year, saying at the time "it never crossed my mind" to leave the Kangaroos.
The news comes as out-of-contract Melbourne big men Mitch King and Lochie Filipovic both look unlikely to be at the club in 2019. They are yet to play a senior game.
WHEN DOES TRADE PERIOD START? All the key dates
Neither King nor Filipovic played in the VFL Grand Final for the Demons' VFL affiliate Casey on Sunday, with young Hawk Marc Pittonet dominating against a makeshift ruck corps.
King, 21, has had concussion and knee-related issues in recent times and hasn't played in the VFL since round 21, while Filipovic, 20, is sidelined by a hand injury.
Melbourne previously showed interest in Geelong's Ryan Abbott, who has since earned a new two-year deal at the Cattery, and Port Melbourne's developing VFL ruckman Kieran Strachan.
WHO'S LEAVING YOUR CLUB? All the latest retirements and delistings
Preuss didn't add to his eight AFL matches this year, with 2015 All Australian Todd Goldstein enjoying a resurgence after a difficult 2017 season.
North's other ruck options behind Goldstein include Tristan Xerri, who impressed in his first season out of the TAC Cup, and swingman Majak Daw.