BRISBANE stalwart Stefan Martin won't know his playing future until the AFL makes a call on list sizes for 2021, with a real chance he could be squeezed out after 133 games in eight seasons.

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Lions head of football David Noble said Martin – who turns 34 next month – was in a tough spot.

"We're in a real flux with the TPP and list numbers," Noble told AFL Trade Radio.

"Stef fits into that unfortunately, he's been here and helped us through some really tough periods and we'd love to have more clarity not only for ourselves, but for Stef, to be able give him a better indication. 

"We certainly see him as a player we've got some interest in, but we just don't know what it looks like with the list numbers. 

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"Unfortunately, it's not a great position to be in as a club, with a person as valued as Stef, but it's pretty much tied up with where the damn list numbers are and the TPP."  

Stefan Martin rucks against Fremantle's Sean Darcy. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Contracted defender Alex Witherden impressed in his first three years at the club but only managed six games in 2020 after the emergence of Brandon Starcevich. However, Noble is confident he will stay. 

"Healthy internal competition is really good, and it helps drive players to improve, and certainly Alex understands there is competition in and around that," Noble said.

 "He loves it up here, he understands where that sits. We only just had our exit meeting last week, and they're pretty quick, just 10 or 15 minutes, so you don't get a chance to go into a lot of detail, but at this stage, we expect him to be (at Brisbane)."

Injury-plagued Cat Nakia Cockatoo has also been linked to the Lions, with former teammate Lincoln McCarthy having turned his career round and injury-free after making the same move north. 

Alex Witherden launches a kick against Essendon earlier this year. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

"I don't know that Dom (Ambrogio, list manager) has spoken to Geelong a lot about Nakia, we certainly have an interest in him and have flagged that with his management," Noble said.

"That'll play out in the next week or two, but certainly we've got an interest in him." 

In a wide-ranging interview, Noble also said:

  • At this stage, there is no indication Essendon will match Brisbane's free agency bid on key forward Joe Daniher
  • Veteran defender Grant Birchall has hit a trigger in his contract and has indicated he wants to play again in 2021