Magpies enter the ring for Watts

JACK Watts famously suffered a baptism of fire at the Magpies' hands on his AFL debut, but Collingwood is the latest club to show interest in the out-of-favour Melbourne forward.

It's understood the Magpies have enquired about Watts, who is set to depart the Demons after being put up for trade by the club. 

Magpies players are believed to have contacted Watts as the 26-year-old considers his next move, having already been linked to Sydney and having met with Port Adelaide last week.

Will it happen?

  • Watts on Tuesday said he was yet to get his head around being traded by the Demons, who chose him at pick No.1 in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft.
  • But ... it seems almost untenable that Watts will remain at Melbourne after being so publicly placed up for grabs by the Dees, despite having two years left to run on his contract
  • His manager Paul Connors stated on Tuesday that Watts would need to consider whether he would like to "uplift" his life in Melbourne to head interstate. Would Collingwood appeal for that reason?

Who's in the box seat for Stringer?

Essendon and Geelong will wait on Jake Stringer to nominate his preferred club, with a decision expected before the NAB AFL Free Agency Period opens on Friday.

While Stringer and his management have met with multiple clubs, it was confirmed on Wednesday that the Bombers and Cats were the last two standing. 

Stringer met with Essendon on Wednesday and it is understood he has finished his meetings with Geelong. 

What Stringer wants: "A strong coach," his manager Robbie D'Orazio told NAB AFL Trade Radio. Leadership on and off the field and mentors are important to the 23-year-old after a troubled period off-field.

Who he's met

  • In the process of whittling his choice of clubs down to two he has met with Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield from Geelong, and Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell
  • It is understood both clubs have offered similar financial deals, meaning his decision will come down to which club can offer him the leadership he needs

Who is in the box seat? understands the Bombers are best positioned to snare the 23-year-old, who has kicked 160 goals in his 89 games for the Western Bulldogs.

D'Orazio says: "We'd hope to sit down in the next 24-48 hours and come up with a club. I think I know which way he's leaning."

Lynch's line in the sand

Tom Lynch is due to become a free agent at the end of 2018 and if the Suns want to keep the in-demand power forward, his message is: they'd better start performing. 

"Tom is a competitive beast and wants to win games of football, and obviously win premierships," Lynch's manager Robbie D’Orazio told Trade Radio on Wednesday. 

"By midway through next year, if they're 0-11 but they're competing, that might be OK.

"But if they're 0-11 and getting smashed then we'll wait and see."

What it means

  • The Suns are about to appoint their third coach in three years, so the immediate future at Metricon Stadium is uncertain. Lynch will wait and see how the club progresses next year under their new mentor.
  • With a decision unlikely before the second half of next season, get ready for a frenzy of speculation as rival clubs throw Dusty-like offers at the Victorian.
  • However, D'Orazio guaranteed Lynch would be at the Suns next season, short-circuiting talk the spearhead could move in this year's trade period.       

The Power are set to poach one free agent ...

Free agent Tom Rockliff has turned down the Blues to join Port Adelaide, informing the Power of his decision late on Monday.

The Lions were philosophical: "It's not the end of the world," coach Chris Fagan said.

Port are delighted, and bullish about completing more business in the 2017 trade period.

The Power say they still have plenty of wiggle room after finishing 2017 "significantly under the salary cap".

"We have capacity and it's been amusing to sit back and listen to people suggest that we don't," football boss Chris Davies told Trade Radio.

Remember: the Lions can expect either a second-round or end-of-first round compensation pick for Rockliff. Either way, they'll be left with both No.18 and No.19 overall

... and are leading the race for another 

Another free agent the Power have confirmed they are considering is Cat Steven Motlop, who toured Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium on Tuesday.

Motlop's brother Daniel played for Port, and cousin Marlon was also on the Power's list.

"We're comfortable with where we've been at with Steven," Davies said.

"He's looking at his free agency options at the moment and I have no doubt we'll remain in that conversation."

Who's best placed to land Motlop?

The clubs pursuing Motlop are not expecting an answer by the start of the free agency period on Friday, with an offer expected to be tabled next week.

The Darwin product is a restricted free agent but the Cats are unlikely to match an offer for him.

Trade Period's domino effect

The wheeling and dealing of trade period often sees one prospective deal joined with another, and possibly others, in a bid to approach a deal that keeps all parties happy. 

In these situations, one deal falling over can have far-reaching consequences for the trade ecosystem.

Already this year we could have two such instances:

What do the Blues do with Gibbs?

Trading Gibbs, who the Blues maintain is a required player who has given no indication he plans to renew his 2016 trade request, could give the Blues the draft pick or picks they'll likely need to secure Giant midfielder Matthew Kennedy and, possibly, his teammate Smith.

However the Gibbs trade is less likely now Rockliff won't be at Ikon Park in 2018. Rockliff's presence would have helped fill the considerable hole a Gibbs trade would leave in Carlton's midfield.

The Blues are hell-bent on adding to their midfield depth this month.

So unless they can bring in an experienced midfielder to replace Gibbs and then add Kennedy, and hopefully Smith and others, they're highly unlikely to entertain a deal for their 2014 best and fairest winner. 

Where does the Smith race sit?

Carlton and Essendon appear the front-runners for the Giant, with the Blues looming as slight favourites.

However, Smith's manager – and Collingwood list manager elect – Ned Guy told NAB AFL Trade Radio the Magpies and St Kilda were also in the mix.

Could the Cats re-enter the race if they ramp up their pursuit of the forward who wants to spend more time in the midfield?

We wouldn't count them out. Smith is a former Geelong Falcon and the Cats appeared best placed to win his signature earlier this year.

What you also need to know

• Port Adelaide utility Aaron Young won't be at Alberton Oval next year and is a "perfect fit" for Gold Coast, Young's manager Robbie D'Orazio told NAB AFL Radio on Wednesday.

• D'Orazio also said Richmond forward Sam Lloyd had attracted some interest from rival clubs. Lloyd is contracted for 2018 but D'Orazio said: 'I'd hate to see Sam play another full year in the VFL and go to waste."

• Tiger Reece Conca won't be pursuing a move home to Perth contrary to reports earlier this week. The contracted defender missed Richmond's glorious finals campaign after being restricted to six senior games by a foot injury this season, but is understood to be very happy at Punt Rd.

• Out-of-favour Port Adelaide ruckman Matthew Lobbe is contracted for the next two seasons, but appears set to make a fresh start in 2018. His manager, Michael Doughty, told NAB AFL Trade Radio the ruckman had attracted interest from "a couple of northern clubs", which are reported to include the Brisbane Lions.

Want more?

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Hogan not on the trade table, say Demons

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Who's hanging up the boots? Keep track of 2017's retirements and delistings