GOLD Coast and North Melbourne are exploring an innovative trade that would see the Roos acquire the Suns' pick No.19 plus half-forward Darcy Macpherson.
AFL.com.au understands both clubs have been discussing a 'salary dump' which would see the Roos take on the bulk of Macpherson's wage while also offering greater playing opportunities.
The Suns this week received confirmation they would be granted access to pick 19 in this year's NAB AFL Draft and quickly turned to conversations around on-trading the selection.
North Melbourne's salary cap sits among the most flushed for room in the competition, which would allow it to take on Macpherson's wage.
Should the move progress, it would see the Roos armed with three picks inside 20 – No.1, 19 and 20 – at this year's draft.
As part of the transaction, the Roos would likely need to hand over a future selection to the Suns – expected to be a second or third-round pick.
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The Suns have been informing clubs they are keen to trade into next year's draft, and by trading out pick 19 this year, would be expected to bolster their stocks for 2022.
A move for Macpherson to Arden Street would also alleviate pressures on the Suns' salary cap, given they have been forced into paying above market rate for re-signing young players in recent years.
They have also informed contracted midfielder Will Brodie they are happy to facilitate a move for him to another club for greater playing opportunities.
The Suns have also shown an interest in St Kilda's Luke Dunstan, who is an unrestricted free agent.
Macpherson, 23, last signed a contract extension with the Suns in the middle of a breakout 2019 campaign until the end of 2022.
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The son of former Western Bulldog Steve, Macpherson finished third in the Suns' best and fairest in 2019 but has been limited to 23 games in the past two seasons.
Should Macpherson arrive at the Roos he would provide coach David Noble with extra depth, which includes Tarryn Thomas, Jack Mahony, Jaidyn Stephenson, Charlie Lazzaro, Kayne Turner, Curtis Taylor, Phoenix Spicer and Eddie Ford. – Mitch Cleary
EAGLES CHASE A SWEET DEAL
WEST Coast has sounded out Western Bulldogs ruckman Jordon Sweet.
It's understood the Eagles are chasing ruck depth during this year's Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period and have asked the question of Sweet, who is surveying his options after a frustrating year at the Whitten Oval.
INDICATIVE DRAFT ORDER Your club's picks as they stand
The Bulldogs have tabled an offer to Sweet and remain confident that he will extend his deal beyond 2021, but a decision on his future will come after a season where he managed just five senior games despite Stefan Martin's injury issues.
Sweet was held out of the Bulldogs' team late in the season as the side chased a top-four spot, with versatile 201cm youngster Lewis Young instead preferred in the ruck for its finals against Essendon and Brisbane.
West Coast is searching for a long-term successor to 31-year-old star Nic Naitanui, with premiership ruckman Nathan Vardy announcing his retirement last month. The club also has promising 21-year-olds Callum Jamieson and Bailey Williams listed.
It's led to a potential move for Sweet, who is also understood to have interest from rival clubs in Victoria and is still seen as an important part of the Western Bulldogs' future ruck plans.
Dogs veteran Martin, who turns 35 next month, is hopeful of playing on next season after managing just nine games in his maiden season at the club. Tim English has been used predominantly as a forward, while Young is attracting interest elsewhere. – Riley Beveridge and Mitch Cleary
MID-SEASON RECRUIT ON THE VERGE OF EXTENDING
WEST Coast is close to confirming a contract extension for midfielder Connor West after an eye-catching end to the season.
The hard-nosed onballer was recruited with pick No.23 in the NAB AFL Mid-Season Draft and debuted in round 18, playing five games and injecting enthusiasm into the Eagles' engine room.
The West Perth product, who is the son of ex-Eagle and 1992 Sandover medallist Robbie West, is expected to sign on for the next two seasons.
Meanwhile, talks are yet to start between West Coast and Carlton over the future of Jarrod Brander, with the Eagles waiting for the Blues to indicate if they will pursue the 22-year-old Victorian.
Brander is out of contract and on the trade table after four seasons, with the former first-round draft pick in search of more opportunity and hopeful of a move this off-season.
The Eagles are working to secure out-of-contract defender Luke Foley and half-forward Jamaine Jones on new deals.
Premiership captain Shannon Hurn is considered certain to play on, while champion forward Josh Kennedy is weighing up a one-year offer. – Nathan Schmook
CONCA PURSUES COACHING ROLE
FORMER Fremantle and Richmond player Reece Conca is pursuing coaching opportunities in Melbourne after his playing career came to an end in August.
The 150-game midfielder/defender is in discussions with multiple Melbourne clubs about combining a VFL contract with a development coaching position or role as a player development manager.
WHO'S CALLED IT QUITS 2021's retirements and delistings
Conca has completed his level three coaching course, a certificate in counselling and AFLPA certificates in player development and business management.
The 29-year-old, who played 104 games with Richmond, crossed to Fremantle as a free agent at the end of 2018 and was part of the Dockers' leadership group for the past three seasons.
A popular teammate, he performed several shutdown roles on the game's best small forwards and fell just short of triggering a contract extension to play on in 2022. – Nathan Schmook
AFL CONFIRMS TRADE PERIOD DATES
THIS season's Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period will slam shut at 7.30pm AEDT on Wednesday 13 October, after the League finalised the dates for all the key trade, draft and free agency periods.
Clubs will once again finalise all trades virtually via the ARC, with deals to be submitted through the AFL's Online Trade System. Picks can once again be swapped right through until this year's NAB AFL Draft.
TRADE TRACKER Every deal as it happens
The free agency period opened at 9.00am on Friday 1 October, with Essendon's deal for Adelaide defender Jake Kelly the first official move concluded. That period closes on Friday 8 October.
As reported on AFL.com.au, the national draft will once again be held over two nights this year. The first round will take place on evening of Wednesday 24 November, with the remaining picks set to be made on the night of Thursday 25 November.
The Pre-Season and Rookie Drafts will be held on Friday 26 November. – Riley Beveridge
IN OTHER NEWS:
- Carlton has lodged paperwork to secure this season's last remaining restricted free agent George Hewett. The Blues have tabled a four-year deal to the midfielder, which the Swans are unlikely to match.
- Gold Coast has secured Richmond ruckman Mabior Chol, lodging the paperwork to sign him as an unrestricted free agent on Friday. The move has earned the club an end-of-second round pick as compensation.
- Essendon secured the first signing of this year's Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period, confirming a deal for unrestricted free agent Jake Kelly. The ex-Adelaide defender played 110 games for the Crows.
- North Melbourne is fielding calls for the lucrative pick No.1 in this year's NAB AFL Draft, but the club has reiterated it would take a "pretty attractive deal" for it to part with the selection.
- Discarded midfielder Patrick Naish says he is holding "pretty positive" talks with rival clubs, having been delisted by Richmond last month. Naish is understood to be attracting interest from St Kilda.
- Greater Western Sydney says forward Jake Riccardi is likely to stay at the club on a two-year deal, despite surveying his options. He played just seven games this season, kicking only two goals.
- Brisbane has thrown its hat into the ring for contracted Geelong big man Darcy Fort, as the club continues its search for ruck depth. Levi Casboult and Mason Cox have also been linked with the Lions.
- Essendon is looking at strengthening its hand at next month's NAB AFL Draft. The Bombers currently have picks No.11, 48 and 53, but are open to offloading future picks to complement their sole first-round selection.