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Lions confident Martin will stay, resigned to losing Aish

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 25: Stefan Martin of the Lions in action during the 2015 AFL round 17 match between the Brisbane Lions and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at The Gabba, Brisbane, Australia on July 25, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Stefan Martin likely to stay at the Lions
The story was that he wanted to go home but he's contracted and we are actually talking about extending that at the moment so I don't think he'll be going anywhere
Greg Swann on Stefan Martin

• Who's on the move? Check out the status of 2015's free agents

STEFAN Martin is likely to remain at the Brisbane Lions, but the club seems increasingly resigned to the fact it will lose talented youngster James Aish.

Lions CEO Greg Swann said Martin was close to signing a long-term deal to remain at the club.

"He'll stay," Swann told Crocmedia on Wednesday night.

"The story was that he wanted to go home but he's contracted and we are actually talking about extending that at the moment so I don't think he'll be going anywhere."

However the club seems less confident it'll hang on to young midfielder Aish, who has been linked to a move elsewhere for several months.

"We've spoken to Pickers (manager Liam Pickering) and we've spoken to James and he still says he is making up his mind but obviously the longer it goes the more likely he is to leave," Swann said.

Despite the likelihood of Aish departing, Swann suggested the Lions would play hard ball on a possible trade for the 19-year-old, who was taken with pick seven in the 2013 draft.

"It's just this really interesting trend in the game where you get a kid at pick 6-7 (in the draft), put two years in to them and they actually go backwards in value," he said.

"They really should be going forward in value because we have put the time and development into them.

"I'd like to think that if and when the time comes for him to choose a club that we'd get appropriate compensation and if not you'll have a bit of a haggle.

"The ability to trade future draft picks hopefully helps to get a deal done because if you can't do it this year, maybe you can give us something for next year.

"We certainly won't sit there and accept a pick in the 20s because that's not fair and we won't do that.

"He's a good kid, he did finish fourth in the Rising Star last year so he's a good player, he's just been a bit unlucky this year.

"We'd certainly like to keep him but it doesn't look promising at this stage."

Another uncontracted Lion is ruckman Matthew Leuenberger and Swann feels his situation is harder for the club to control.

"Matthew's a free agent so he's in a different category," Swann said.

"He's married to a local but he's probably got some pursuers so that one will take care of itself."

The Lions have lost a host of young players in recent years including Elliot Yeo, Jared Polec, Sam Docherty and Jack Crisp, who have all gone on to play well at other clubs and Swann said the club was addressing the issues that have seen players leave the club in recent years.

"We've spoken about it at length actually and there are two key things here," he said.

"One is what we do when we bring them here and also more work into making sure you don't have a kid that's chained to his mum and chained to the kitchen table and his 15 brothers and you know that as soon as you sign him within five minutes he'll be going home.

"We've got to do a lot more work on whether they'd be suitable to come and then when they get here our welfare, development and everything else and the environment has to be so positive that they want to stay.

"The good thing from our point of view is we've got some opportunities with other players, not public yet, who want to come to Brisbane.

"We think we broke the back of the go-home factor last year with Beamsy (Dayne Beams) and Allen Christensen who have been fantastic for us.

"I'm going to sound like an ad for tourism Queensland here but the last month it's been 24 degrees every day, it’s a beautiful place to come and play footy and I think a few people are cottoning on to that."