WHAT better way to assess a possible recruit than have him play for your reserves side?
That was the case on Friday as Gold Coast midfielder Will Brodie lined up for Essendon in the Bombers' scratch match against Greater Western Sydney on Friday afternoon.
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Alongside him in the practice match were also Richmond inside midfield pair Jack Graham and Riley Collier-Dawkins, who are both out of contract as the end of the season grows nearer.
Brodie was the only Suns player to take part in the clash, with the other Suns outside of Gold Coast's senior side facing Geelong in a reserves game on Thursday.
Players have been joining other clubs for match practice throughout this season in a sign of the COVID-19 times.
But the quirk here is that Essendon is interested in trading in Brodie as a big-bodied midfielder to its mix, with the former No.9 draft pick managing only one senior appearance this season in the Suns' talent-laden midfield.
Brodie is contracted to the Suns until the end of 2022 but Victorian clubs see him as a midfield option after a lack of opportunity at Gold Coast.
With the biggest list in the competition, the Suns have been open to sharing their players to other clubs based in Queensland for scratch match hitouts.
For Brodie's own development to play in his preferred position, the Victorian was considered the best candidate to play for Essendon on Friday ahead of the Bombers' AFL clash with the Giants at Metricon Stadium.
In recent weeks the Suns also helped by having five of their players involved in a scratch match between Brisbane and Essendon to ensure there would be enough numbers for a valuable contest.
Brodie has played 20 games for the Suns since joining the club at the 2016 NAB AFL Draft.
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Talks had started on new deals for premiership player Graham and first-round pick Collier-Dawkins before the COVID-19 contract shutdown.
Graham, who starred in the Tigers' 2017 flag, has played six games this season while Collier-Dawkins, the No.20 pick in the 2018 draft, is yet to debut.
Essendon is on the lookout for more midfield depth in the off-season, having previously registered interest in Port Adelaide star Ollie Wines.