GRANT Birchall will spend Wednesday night working out where he believes he can win his fifth AFL premiership.
The champion Hawthorn defender is weighing up his next move, in whether to accept a deal at Waverley Park or move elsewhere, with interest from rivals including Brisbane and Gold Coast.
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The Hawks had previously given their four-time premiership veteran every opportunity to assess his options during the Telstra AFL Trade Period.
But according to his agent Shane Casley, they have since offered a one-year extension to play on.
"He's very close (to making a call)," Casley, of TLA Australia, told AFL.com.au on Wednesday.
"We've spoken to three to four clubs and he'll spend tonight making a call and let me know tomorrow,"
"They've (Hawthorn) put a proposal to us, now it's up to Grant to make his mind up. They've guaranteed him a playing contract so that's waiting there."
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As an unrestricted free agent, Birchall is free to walk to any club of his choice before the closure of the Free Agency window on Friday.
The Lions conceded on the opening day of the Trade Period on Monday that they were yet to fully commit to a pursuit for Birchall.
"We are deciding where we're going to go; if we need to go with another mature-age guy. That's sort of where we're at," Lions head of football David Noble said.
"Those sorts of things are going to play out a bit later – like later in the week or early next week – so we've just got to determine the impact 'Hodgey' (Luke Hodge's retirement) has probably left us and whether or not we need to continue to go down that path."
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Hawthorn had previously stated a decision on Birchall would come at the end of Trade Period next Wednesday.
Will Birchall remain a Hawk?
"We said we'd wait until we got through the Trade Period with 'Birch', and him and his management are aware of that," Hawks football boss Graham Wright told reporters on Monday.
"We wanted to wait and see what it looks like, spots-wise and that sort of thing, but obviously Grant would love to play, and we'd love to give him that opportunity but we just have to wait."
Birchall added three games to his tally of 248 at the Hawks this season after a series of soft-tissue injury – a result of various knee setbacks in recent years. - Mitch Cleary
Gray still up for grabs
Port Adelaide forward Sam Gray faces a nervous wait to find out where he will play next year, but in his favour is the number of clubs showing interest in him.
The 27-year-old, who is out of contract, enjoyed another efficient season at the Power in averaging more than 17 disposals, five score involvements and a goal per game.
However, Port told him to explore his opportunities with rival clubs in his post-season exit meeting ahead of its bombshell trade bid for Essendon's Orazio Fantasia.
Carlton and St Kilda have regularly been linked to Gray but have their fingers in a lot of pies, with the Blues already set to win the services of Jack Martin, Eddie Betts and probably Tom Papley.
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Melbourne cooled on Gray as it ramped up its efforts for free agent Magpie Jamie Elliott, but ended up finishing third in that race to Brisbane and Collingwood, where he has re-signed.
The Demons still have a great need for a crumbing forward with goal nous.
Gold Coast is another club that is tracking the former rookie, although the Suns' priority remains trying to lure Crows club champion Brad Crouch to Queensland. – Marc McGowan
Where will Gray be playing in 2020?
Eagles get their man … finally
Tim Kelly will be an Eagle until 2025 after penning a six-year deal to join West Coast.
The Eagles finally got their wish on Wednesday morning, sealing the 25-year-old's services on a lucrative long-term contract after a pursuit of the gun midfielder that has spanned more than 12 months.
West Coast produced a bevy of draft selections and relied upon the help of Essendon to finally seal a trade for Kelly, parting with picks No.14, 24, 33 and a future first-round pick to land the Trade Period's most prized recruit.
"We're absolutely delighted," West Coast footy boss Craig Vozzo said after the deal had been completed.
"It's been a fair while in the making and it's wonderful to finally acquire Tim to our footy club.
"He's an elite player … probably his first two years in the AFL are as good as I can remember in recent times. Adding an elite player, particularly to our midfield, should really help in terms of what we can generate out of that area of the ground." - Riley Beveridge
In other news
- Clubs expect to know by Friday whether a pre-season trade period will be introduced next year, with the AFL informing recruiters that it needed more time to confirm plans for the new addition to the player movement landscape.
- Greater Western Sydney could be forced to wait long into the 2020 season before being informed of the intentions of its star forward Jeremy Cameron, who is uncontracted beyond next year.
- Port Adelaide swingman Dougal Howard has requested a trade to St Kilda ahead of North Melbourne and Essendon.