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TRIPLE premiership Hawthorn wingman Isaac Smith looms as the highest profile free agent undecided ahead of Friday's window opening.

Smith, 31, has had five weeks to make a call since the Hawks' campaign finished in September and his future remains up in the air.

He has a two-year offer to remain at Hawthorn, while Melbourne has made indications it is prepared to offer up to three seasons.

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Geelong has also expressed interest as it attempts to keep its premiership window open.

Smith is an unrestricted free agent so will be free to walk to his club of choice should he opt to depart. 


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Brisbane's No.1 ruckman Stefan Martin also falls into unrestricted free agency and is yet to receive an offer from the Lions for next season.

However, the soon-to-be 34-year-old has opened dialogue with the club over the prospect of extending his career and is still most likely to stay.

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As reported by earlier this month, Essendon free agent Marty Gleeson has an offer to stay at the club but is yet to commit as he canvasses the market, while fellow Bombers Will Snelling and Jacob Townsend remain without deals.

Essendon's Martin Gleeson. Picture: AFL Photos

David Mundy is still most likely to remain at Fremantle next season for a 18th year but no approach has been formalised, while the future of Melbourne's Nathan Jones is still up in the air.

Cat Lachie Henderson is also expected to receive an extension for 2021 after managing 14 consecutive games in a season after he was delisted and re-rookied.

Bachar Houli had interest from Essendon but is keen to stay at Punt Road and is awaiting an official offer from the Tigers. 

Bachar Houli celebrates with his family after the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/AFL Photos reported last week Brisbane defender Grant Birchall had triggered a contract for next season that he was putting the finishing touches on.

Defender Matt Suckling is among a host of Dogs awaiting details on list spots before his future is sealed.

A host of restricted free agents have settled on their destinations for next season and will be free to lodge paperwork from Friday morning which will give their existing clubs the chance to match.

They include Zac Williams (Carlton), Joe Daniher (Brisbane), Jeremy Cameron (Geelong), Aidan Corr (North Melbourne) and Brad Crouch (St Kilda).

Adelaide unrestricted free agents Kyle Hartigan (Hawthorn) and Rory Atkins (Gold Coast) have nominated new homes for next year and will be able to walk without the Crows having the opportunity to match. - Mitch Cleary


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Daniher deal won't help Dons' Caldwell snag

An end-of-first round compensation pick for free agent Joe Daniher would not count as one of the two first-round picks Essendon must use over a rolling four-year period at the NAB AFL Draft.

The AFL sent a memo to clubs on Monday reiterating rules on trading future picks, with the Bombers and Hawks the only clubs ineligible to offload their first picks although they can apply for an exception.

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The rule exists to stop clubs from trading themselves into long-term list pain by continually moving out top picks.

It means the Bombers, who will be one of the busiest clubs in the trade period, will not be allowed to trade their first pick (No.6 overall) this year or next year's future pick until they get another one in, likely meaning that a deal for Giant Jye Caldwell will have to wait. They are also pursuing contracted Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley.

Young Giant Jye Caldwell in action. Picture: AFL Photos

The free agency period opens on Friday as Brisbane prepares to land Daniher, who has exercised his free agency rights to head there.

The Bombers can match the offer and then push it to a trade deal, but the Lions are focused on securing him as a free agent.

Essendon's requirement to get moving on trades will see them be keen to strike a deal with Carlton on Adam Saad, while Orazio Fantasia has also settled on Port Adelaide as his preferred new home. - Callum Twomey 

Suns hoping to rise up the draft order

GOLD Coast is looking at ways to trade up from pick No.5 as the Suns prepare to welcome at least two Academy players under their draft concessions.

The Suns are interested in Collingwood star Adam Treloar and would part with the selection to make that deal happen but view it as unlikely the contracted midfielder will decide to depart the Pies.

The Suns currently hold their first-round pick as well as second-round selections No.24 and 33 (which is tied to Brisbane's finish position).

But with at least highly rated pair Alex Davies and Joel Jeffrey set to join the club as Academy pre-selections – meaning they don't have to match bids on the players – the Suns are considering only taking one live pick to the draft.

Alex Davies in action for the NAB AFL Academy in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

With the biggest list in the AFL, the Suns' call will be in part shaped by the League's decision on list sizes but if they choose to take one pick that could allow them to package up No.5 and 24 to move up the order and secure a higher pick from North Melbourne (pick two), Sydney (three) or Hawthorn (four).

It would mean for those clubs a shuffle down the order but an extra selection coming through the door.

Rivals are aware the Suns could also attempt to move their second-round picks into next year's draft by swapping them for futures, with the AFL to review its list concessions for the Suns next year and the club potentially needing draft points again to pay for their local talent. - Callum Twomey 

Joel Jeffrey in action for Gold Coast in the Northern Academy Series match. Picture: AFL Photos

Blakely's future taking shape

It is becoming increasingly likely midfielder Connor Blakely will remain at Fremantle in 2021 unless a suitor emerges that can offer him more opportunities.

Blakely is contracted to the Dockers until the end of 2022 after signing a three-year extension halfway through the 2019 season.

The 24-year-old managed just five games this season, however, and has been told by Fremantle he cannot be guaranteed regular matches in an emerging midfield.

Fremantle defender Connor Blakely in action in round 11 against Hawthorn. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Blakely, who finished eighth in the Doig Medal in a career-best 2017 season, is understood to have explored his options ahead of the Trade Period opening with a priority on receiving more opportunities.

Those close to the Bunbury product have indicated he is now expected to remain in purple, however, with the club comfortable with him returning next season if a suitor doesn't emerge. - Nathan Schmook 


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Saints wait on contracted pair's call

St Kilda is yet to hear from contracted duo Luke Dunstan or Jimmy Webster regarding their futures, with the club tempering speculation that both could land at Adelaide during the Trade Period.

Dunstan is contracted at the Saints until 2021, while Webster has committed until 2022, though both have been linked to the Crows in a move that could have implications on star free agent Brad Crouch heading the other way.

However, St Kilda has reiterated its expectation that both players will fulfil their contracts at the club and has denied reports that either has requested a move to Adelaide ahead of next week's Trade Period.

Luke Dunstan handballs during a St Kilda training session at Maroochydore Multi-Sport Complex in September. Picture: Getty Images

Dunstan, 25, is originally from South Australia and played SANFL footy for Woodville-West Torrens before joining the Saints with pick No.18 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft. Webster, 27, is originally from Tasmania but didn't manage a senior game this season.

"They're both contracted," St Kilda list manager James Gallagher told Trade Radio.

"They're both good AFL players, it was just the way that the season worked … they both got injured at the wrong time.

"(But) they're contracted for next year and, at this stage, we've had no indication that they won't be with the Saints in 2021."

St Kilda is also hopeful that small forward Jack Lonie and key defender Jake Carlisle will sign short-term contract extensions that have been tabled by the club, while fellow defender Ben Paton is expected to recommit in the coming days. - Riley Beveridge

St Kilda forward Jack Lonie celebrates a goal in the semi-final against the Western Bulldogs. Picture: AFL Photos

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