LED BY a Western Bulldogs favourite son, Essendon launched an audacious – and failed – bid to steal rookie Anthony Scott from under the Dogs' nose on Tuesday.
However, it came just a day after the Bombers attempted to prise the Footscray product out of Whitten Oval.
In a move steered by former Footscray coach, and now Bombers assistant, Daniel Giansiracusa, Scott was put through a medical screening and offered a contract at Tullamarine.
Giansiracusa coached Scott, a 180cm midfielder/forward, when he won the Dogs' best and fairest in 2019 with the pair maintaining a strong relationship.
As part of Tuesday's pitch, it's understood Scott also met with Essendon coach Ben Rutten, football boss Josh Mahoney and list manager Adrian Dodoro.
Instead, Scott committed to the Dogs via the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period (SSP) where he will push to win a shock round one debut against Collingwood.
ON THE LIST Mature-age Dog earns rookie spot, in R1 mix
The Bombers have two list spots open for the SSP – one via a passed pick in the Rookie Draft and one with a long-term injury to forward Irving Mosquito (ACL).
Ex-Eagle Alec Waterman remains the only hopeful training with the club and will line-up in Thursday's practice match against Carlton.
Essendon's attempt to pinch Scott came less than six months after they tried to lure Dogs midfielder Josh Dunkley out of a two-year contract at Whitten Oval.
The Bombers also tried a similar move to nab Geelong ruck prospect Paul Tsapatolis in November last year before they were informed they were too late as the ex-basketballer committed to the Cats.
Scott's signing at the Dogs was made possible by the list vacancy opened up by the surprise retirement of Sam Lloyd December.
He becomes the fourth ex-Footscray player on the Western Bulldogs' AFL list, joining Mitch Hannan, Ryan Gardner and Will Hayes.
Scott's selection in the senior side against the Hawks on Wednesday reduced others such as Ed Richards, Cody Weightman, Taylor Duryea, Ben Cavarra, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Josh Schache to the reserves hitout with Box Hill.
The Dogs also have Eastern Ranges product Corey Preston and the son of ex-Dog Steve Macpherson, Ewan, training with their squad and could open up an extra spot by placing Toby McLean (ACL) on the long-term injury list.
Clubs have until March 9 to decide to select a player in the SSP, however a number of clubs are weighing up holding up over spots to the Mid-Season Rookie Draft slated for June.