WESTERN Bulldogs tall Lewis Young will explore his options at rivals before weighing up whether to accept a deal to remain at Whitten Oval.
Young, 22, will meet with prospective clubs over the coming days as the Dogs await an answer on his future.
The Grand Finalists have had a two-year offer in front of Young for more than a month and want him to be part of their long-term future. However, he will take his time to work through whether stronger opportunities lie elsewhere.
Young played nine matches this season, including two finals as a pinch-hit ruckman. But it took his career tally to just 24 games across five seasons after he was drafted in the months following the Dogs' 2016 premiership.
The 202cm South Australian arrived as a key forward but has spent more time in defence at the Dogs.
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Carlton looms as one potential candidate for Young as it searches for key position depth. Ruckmen Tom De Koning and Marc Pittonet are signed for next season, while 210cm mid-season draftee Alex Mirkov presents as more of a development option in 2022.
The Blues have also been linked to a possible play for West Coast's Jarrod Brander.
Geelong is also in need of added key defensive depth following the retirement of Lachie Henderson and looming departure of Nathan Kreuger.
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Richmond is also in need of key position stocks with Mabior Chol (Gold Coast) and Callum Coleman-Jones (North Melbourne) headed for the exit door, and fringe defenders Ryan Garthwaite, Bigoa Nyuon and Ben Miller out of contract. Veteran Roo Robbie Tarrant will cross as a like-for-like replacement for David Astbury.
Young is one of seven Dogs currently unsigned for next season. Rookie Roarke Smith will soon extend his stay into an eighth season, while Stefan Martin is likely to play again in 2022. It leaves Mitch Wallis, Ben Cavarra, Will Hayes and Jordon Sweet out of contract. - Mitch Cleary
KANGA UNCERTAIN AS FREE AGENCY NEARS
NORTH Melbourne midfielder Trent Dumont faces a nervous wait in coming weeks with the unrestricted free agent remaining without a contract offer.
The free agency period opens on Friday but Dumont's future remains unclear, with the Kangaroos yet to table a contract to the 26-year-old.
Dumont was a member of the club's leadership group in 2020 but had an injury-hit campaign under new coach David Noble in 2021 that saw him play the final 14 games of the Roos' season.
He can walk to a rival club if another deal arises as an unrestricted free agent but if North Melbourne doesn't offer a new contract Dumont could have to wait until the delisted free agency window.
There could be three free agency deals lodged when the window opens officially on Friday, with Mabior Chol's move to Gold Coast, Jake Kelly's move to Essendon and George Hewett's shift to Carlton all on the cards.
Chol is joining the Suns on a four-year deal and Kelly the Bombers on a three-year deal, with Richmond and Adelaide to wait on the compensation picks provided by the AFL for the unrestricted free agents.
Hewett is the last remaining restricted free agent, meaning the Swans have the rights to match the Blues' four-year deal, worth approximately $450,000 a season.
But Sydney will not do that for Hewett, who was also on the trade table last season, and will instead pick up a compensation pick for losing him, potentially at the end of the second round of the draft or within the third round. - Callum Twomey
ROOS SECURE OFF-FIELD SIGNING
FORMER Western Bulldogs and Melbourne midfielder Daniel Cross has joined North Melbourne's new-look fitness department.
Cross, who played 249 games between 2002-15 across the two clubs, was previously a member of the Demons' strength and conditioning team after his playing career ended.
He was a victim of the COVID-19 cuts to football department spending last year at the Demons and didn't resume at Melbourne following his stand-down.
However, the former relentless and hard-running midfielder has returned to a role in footy, with Cross joining the Roos as a member of the club's fitness team, which will be led by Kevin White.
The club last month confirmed White had joined the Kangaroos from Collingwood, where he had led its high-performance team for the past three seasons. He had initially joined the Pies in 2011. - Callum Twomey
IN OTHER NEWS
- Greater Western Sydney forward Jeremy Finlayson will take an "open book" approach to finding a new home during this year's Trade Period, having been given permission to explore his options by the Giants.
- Ex-Adelaide forward Tom Lynch says his move to North Melbourne is centred on coaching, but believes there will be an opportunity to play at VFL level that he and the club can explore later on.
- Collingwood is eyeing Geelong utility Nathan Kreuger to play as a forward next season, saying the club is taking an "open-minded" approach to the future of fellow big man Mason Cox.
- Greater Western Sydney says captain Stephen Coniglio will remain at the club, despite ongoing speculation that he could depart. Coniglio continued to struggle in 2021, but the Giants do not believe a move is on his radar.
- Former top-five pick Braeden Campbell has penned a fresh contract extension with Sydney. The club's Academy graduate signed until 2025, while Colin O'Riordan and Callum Sinclair have also inked one-year deals.