Every Thursday AFL.com.au presents Inside Trading, with breaking news and the best analysis of the player movement landscape covering contracts, trades, free agents, the NAB AFL Draft and industry insights.
POSITIONAL SWITCH TO EARN SAINT NEW DEAL
ST KILDA is closing in on a fresh contract extension with half-back Jack Sinclair after a breakout 2021 campaign.
Negotiations are expected to ramp up over the next fortnight to clinch what is tipped to be a multi-year deal. Now into his seventh season at Moorabbin, Sinclair will be into free agency at the completion of his new contract.
Sinclair, who has 111 games to his name, has never finished in the top 10 of a Saints best and fairest but has been one of the club's most consistent performers this year.
The 26-year-old was overlooked in the first seven rounds of 2020 in Brett Ratten's first year as full-time coach but has played the past 25 games – including all 13 this year – in succession.
After making his name as a forward/midfielder, Sinclair has moved to half-back this year and was vocal on the demands for more from his teammates during an internal mid-season review.
Meantime, talks are yet to progress in a meaningful way for teammate and restricted free agent Jack Billings over a new deal at the Saints.
Billings has required injections to play in recent weeks as he deals with an ongoing foot injury that has limited his output. He also twisted his knee at training on Wednesday, however the Saints expect him to be fit to tackle Richmond on Friday night.
Other Saints set to fall out of contract this season include Seb Ross, Jarryn Geary (both unrestricted free agents), Jake Carlisle, Paddy Ryder, Luke Dunstan and Jack Lonie. – Mitch Cleary
VETERAN LION TO CONSIDER ANOTHER SEASON
BRISBANE veteran Grant Birchall will consider playing on into 2022 after enjoying a remarkable run since joining the Lions.
The four-time Hawthorn premiership defender played just eight games for the Hawks across his final three seasons at the club before joining Brisbane for 2020.
But since making the move as a free agent, Birchall has played 29 out of a possible 32 games for the Lions, including every game this season.
He originally signed a one-year contract with Brisbane for 2020 with a trigger clause for 2021, which he activated to play on this season. His manager Shane Casley said Birchall's fitness and form had meant that he will consider playing again for a 17th AFL season, but won't decide until later this year.
"We chatted during the bye week around that and he's had a pretty solid year. At this stage we'll probably talk to the club in that last four or five weeks of the year to see where they're at," Casley told AFL.com.au.
"We're not saying no [to playing on], but we haven't had the discussion with the club either. If you were a betting man he's probably 50/50, and it's going to come down to what the club is feeling as well, but if his form keeps going and the club are in contention it's a pretty big incentive.
"We haven't ruled it out but we haven't said yes either."
The Lions locked in veterans Daniel Rich and Dayne Zorko to one-year extensions earlier this season. – Callum Twomey
STANDOUT GAME KICKSTARTS CONTRACT TALKS FOR YOUNG EAGLE
LUKE Foley's breakout performance against Richmond in West Coast's round 13 win prompted renewed discussions around a fresh contract for the promising defender.
Foley racked up 11 disposals in the opening quarter against the Tigers, including five rebound 50s, and went on to finish with 22 and seven marks in what was clearly the best of his four senior games.
The Eagles are keen to retain Foley, who is out of contract at the end of this season, and it is understood they have renewed discussions with his management.
The 21-year-old was recruited with pick No.31 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft and can play both as a half-back or on a wing.
First-year teammate Luke Edwards was also excellent against the Tigers with 27 disposals and is believed to be on track to extend his initial two-year contract with the club, which expires at the end of 2022.
The son of dual Adelaide premiership player Tyson Edwards has proved to be a bargain acquisition for West Coast, arriving via pick No.52 in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft after he was overlooked as a father-son selection by the Crows. – Nathan Schmook
BROTHER OF A GUN EMERGES AS TOP 2022 PROSPECT
IT HAS been a big couple of weeks for the Hollands family.
Last week, Gold Coast's Elijah played his first game in nearly two years for the Suns' VFL side. And this Saturday, his younger brother Ollie will line up for Vic Country as it starts its NAB AFL Under-17s Championships in Geelong.
Elijah was selected with pick No.7 at last year's draft by the Suns, having been considered for the No.1 choice by Adelaide despite a pre-season knee reconstruction.
And clubs tracking his younger brother suggest Ollie also shapes as a very early pick next year after impressing in trial games and recently stepping up to play for the Murray Bushrangers in the NAB League.
The 17-year-old Hollands is a 182cm midfielder who has also played on the wing, and earlier this month he gathered 17 disposals, seven marks and four tackles for the Bushrangers against Bendigo in the under-19s competition.
Hollands, whose father Ben played eight games for Richmond, will be a key member of Vic Country's side this weekend when it takes on Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday morning in their first game of the carnival.
Also named in the squad is Zane Duursma, the younger brother of Port Adelaide gun Xavier. Zane, an athletic forward, has been picked as a bottom-ager for the carnival, and doesn't turn 16 until August.
The exciting 185cm prospect hasn't let being 15 years old stop him from making an impact in the under-19 NAB League competition, either, having kicked three goals in his recent debut for the Gippsland Power and last week booting two majors. He isn't eligible for the draft until 2023. – Callum Twomey