NORTH Melbourne can aggressively attack its list revamp at the end of this year with the club having more than half of its list out of contract.
As the AFL prepares to lift its contract freeze on players signing new deals, the Kangaroos will come out of the period with the fewest contracted players in the competition.
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The Roos, who are on a five-game losing streak, have 22 players contracted for next year and 23 players who have no deals beyond 2020. It gives the Roos flexibility to head into what shapes as a busy off-season.
Included in the uncontracted list are unrestricted free agents Jamie Macmillan, Majak Daw, Taylor Garner and Mason Wood, as well as Ben Jacobs, Josh Walker and Kyron Hayden.
Out-of-form goalkicker Ben Brown was in discussions for a new deal prior to the COVID-19 contract halt but is not a free agent, while former Port Adelaide defender Jasper Pittard, ex-Hawthorn midfielder Jed Anderson and former Magpie Marley Williams also need new deals for next year.
Negotiations had begun for an extension for Tristan Xerri before the AFL put a pause on any new deals in March, while Curtis Taylor, Will Walker and Paul Ahern were set to wait until mid-year before talks started for their deals.
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Kayne Turner, Bailey Scott, Ed Vickers-Willis, Joel Crocker, Lachie Hosie, Tom Murphy, Matt McGuinness and Sam Durdin are the other Roos without deals for next year.
North sits in 17th position on the ladder but holds a strong hand at this year's NAB AFL Draft, having traded in Melbourne's first-round pick last year.
Currently it gives the Roos picks No.2 and 7 at this year's intake, with the club's new head of player list personnel Scott Clayton telling AFL.com.au earlier this year North would be looking to bolster its backline and target a small forward in the off-season.
North isn't alone with having a large chunk of list out of contract.
Carlton, Geelong Hawthorn, Melbourne and St Kilda are all also believed to have only about 23-24 players contracted for 2021.
Gold Coast and Brisbane are at the other end of the scale, with the Suns having locked in more than 40 players for next year and the Lions understood to have more than 35 players tied to deals beyond this season.
Collingwood, Fremantle and Richmond are also in that group having signed up 30 or more players for 2021.
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It has left some uncertainty around how possible list cuts due to the dire impact of COVID-19 could hurt clubs who had gotten on with re-contracting players for after 2020 as part of their retention strategies.
Suns list boss Craig Cameron recently told AFL.com.au the club was hopeful its concessions from last year, where the AFL allowed it to have an increased rookie list up to 10 players, would be retained if any changes were made.