ADELAIDE has warned it could use the NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft to secure sought-after wingman Jordan Dawson amid an ongoing trade battle with Sydney.

While most clubs lean towards reaching trade agreements, the Crows have shown they are not afraid to go down the pre-season draft route.

They used it last year to recruit GWS midfielder Jackson Hately.

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Jordan Dawson has played 64 games for Sydney

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Adelaide is unwilling to cough up its first pick in this year's NAB AFL Draft - No.4 overall - in exchange for Dawson.

Its next selection is No.23 but that will not satisfy the Swans, who offered Dawson a five-year contract and rate the skilful 24-year-old the best player on the trade market.

There has been discussion around the Western Bulldogs' pick 17 as a key to unlock the Dawson deal, with the beaten Grand Finalists needing to acquire more draft points to match a bid for father-son prospect Sam Darcy.

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Adelaide football director Mark Ricciuto said the pre-season draft could come into the picture if they cannot reach middle ground with Sydney before next Wednesday's deadline.

"It's certainly not the way clubs like to do deals - they like to reward the club that had the player," Ricciuto said on Triple M Adelaide.

"But I guess at the end of the day if it (a trade) doesn't happen, I guess that's an alternative."

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Dawson is originally from South Australia and wants to return to his home state.

He nominated Adelaide as his preferred destination last month.

Sydney football boss Charlie Gardiner said in a radio interview on Tuesday that the Swans rate Dawson ahead of Fremantle midfielder Adam Cerra, who has requested a trade to Carlton.

"Sydney have got to try and get their best deal, that's what trade week is all about," Ricciuto said.

"It goes on for 10 days, there's a lot of bluffing, it's a game of poker a bit and Charlie Gardiner is having a crack at this stage."