Every Thursday AFL.com.au presents Inside Trading, with breaking news and the best analysis of the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period covering contracts, re-signings, free agents, the NAB AFL Draft and industry insights.
DOGS STAR KEEN TO STAY
YOUNG Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith is on the club's list of priority re-signings this season and says he has no intentions of leaving the Kennel.
Smith's run of 68 consecutive games since his round one debut in 2019 came to an end last week when he missed the Dogs' loss to Carlton with a hip complaint. He has been picked to return against the Swans on Thursday night.
The powerful midfielder's two-year contract expires at the end of this season and although he is unlikely to open talks until deeper into the season, the 21-year-old said he was keen to recommit to the Bulldogs.
"I'm just trying to play this year as well as I can. I obviously don't want to go anywhere. I leave it to my manager to talk about and he tells me when it gets serious and when to put pen to paper and I'll say 'Done'. I'm just there to sign. That's the thing. I don't want to go anywhere else," Smith told AFL.com.au this month.
"It's more something I think we'll deal with around mid-to-later in the year."
'IT SUCKS HAVE TO DOING IT' Bailey on pre-season break
Smith has been an instant hit at AFL level since being the Dogs' No.7 pick at the 2018 NAB AFL Draft.
Many of his contemporaries in that year's draft – Carlton's Sam Walsh and St Kilda's Max King (four years), Gold Coast's Ben King, Port Adelaide's Connor Rozee and Zak Butters and North Melbourne's Tarryn Thomas (all two years) – have already inked contract extensions beyond this year having all started their career with two-year deals through to the end of 2022.
Smith represents an interesting marketplace value given his excellent – and growing – football credentials as well as his wide off-field marketing appeal. – Callum Twomey
DEES LOOK TO EXTEND FLAG FORWARD
MELBOURNE is in contract talks with Charlie Spargo to extend the premiership player's time at the club after becoming a forward line mainstay.
Spargo's hard running, tackling pressure, toughness and smarts with the ball are highly rated by the Demons and he was a valuable cog in their flag machine last year when he played in every game for the season.
The 22-year-old small forward kicked seven goals in the Demons' final five games of last year, including one in their Grand Final win over the Western Bulldogs.
Spargo's deal with the Demons runs through to the end of this year but discussions are underway for an extension as Melbourne locks in its flag heroes from 2021 after last week signing Tom Sparrow to a new deal.
A three-year contract would take Spargo through to his free agency after he was selected by the Demons in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.
Spargo started his career with 18 games and three finals in his debut season in 2018 but managed eight games in each of the 2019-2020 campaigns before his excellent 2021 season saw him cement his place in the Demons' side. – Callum Twomey
SPEEDY SWAN NOT GOING ANYWHERE
SYDNEY line-breaking defender Justin McInerney will follow in the footsteps of forward Logan McDonald and pen a new contract.
The 21-year-old collected 19 disposals in the club's round one win against the Giants before rolling his ankle late in the final term. He subsequently missed last Friday’s 30-point victory over Geelong, where Lance Franklin kicked his 1000th goal.
Out of contract at the end of this season, McInerney told AFL.com.au earlier this month the lure of moving home to Victoria was a non-issue.
"Yeah definitely (keen to recommit)," McInerney said.
"I love it up here. I love the boys, I love the club and Sydney is a great place to live. We just go out there and we love having fun with each other. I'll be recommitting, yes."
McInerney has featured on 32 occasions since being drafted with pick No.44 in 2018.
He claimed the NAB AFL Rising Star nomination in round 15 of the 2020 season, after kicking two goals from 14 touches. – Sarah Olle
PIES LOOK TO LOCK IN YOUNGSTERS
COLLINGWOOD is looking to sign up members of its 2020 draft class, with exciting small forward Jack Ginnivan likely to be rewarded with a new deal.
Negotiations are underway with a number of players from the Pies' draft intake two years ago, with Ginnivan headed towards likely a two-year extension after his excellent start to the season.
After seven games last season in his debut AFL campaign, the small forward has locked in a spot inside Craig McRae's attack and last week had 21 disposals and kicked a goal in the Pies' win over Adelaide.
Ginnivan was selected at pick 13 in the 2020 rookie draft having been overlooked in the national intake. He signed a one-year extension last year for 2022.
His fellow 2020 draftees at the Pies, including Ollie Henry, Finlay Macrae, Reef McInnes and Beau McCreery, are all out of contract this season as Collingwood looks to sign up its group of talent. Henry has been excellent so far in 2022 with two goals in each of the Pies' first two wins.
Free agent Darcy Moore is closing in on what is expected to be a six-year deal with the club. – Callum Twomey
ANOTHER BLUE SET TO SIGN
CARLTON is on the cusp of re-signing uncapped youngster Jack Carroll.
It's understood Carroll, who is yet to make his AFL debut, is set to sign a two-year extension with the Blues that will see him remain at Ikon Park until at least the end of the 2024 campaign.
Carroll, 19, was recruited to Carlton with pick No.41 of the 2020 NAB AFL Draft and had been pressing for his senior debut ahead of a round one clash with Richmond following a strong summer on the track.
However, after being named as an emergency, the West Australian youngster copped an unfortunate knock to the knee in a VFL practice match against the Tigers and has subsequently been sidelined for the season's first fortnight.
A tough inside midfielder with clean skills, Carroll is set to return through the VFL in the coming weeks with Blues insiders still expecting the teenager to break through for his senior debut at some stage later in the season.
Carroll's impending signature will follow two-year extensions handed out by Carlton to lively small forward Corey Durdin and project ruckman Alex Mirkov earlier this week. – Riley Beveridge
FORMER FOOTBALL BOSS MOVES INTO PLAYER MANAGEMENT
FORMER North Melbourne player and football manager Donald McDonald has entered the player management space.
McDonald, whose son Luke is the Kangaroos' current joint vice-captain, stepped away from being North's football manager in 2013 when Luke arrived at the club as a top-10 father-son draft selection.
McDonald remained at the club in corporate roles and in the Kangaroos' administration and has now turned his hand to player management, having become an accredited agent.
"I've been on the other side of the fence. I've seen it from a lot of sides as a player, through coaching, as football manager at North and as a parent so I have a good understanding of how it all works," McDonald said.
McDonald, who played 155 games for the Roos between 1982-92 and was also an interim senior coach for five games at Hawthorn in 2004, has set up his McDonald Management business with Luke, with a corporate box at the MCG available for hospitality and events. Olympic gold medallist Meg Harris has also signed on as part of their athlete management team.
It was an off-season of change in the AFL management industry, with player agent and former recruiter Mark Kleiman departing TLA Australia to join Kapital Sports Group.
Kapital also hired Tom Silvagni, the youngest son of Carlton champion and ex-list manager Stephen, to its ranks while TLA Australia also added a father-son to its management group with Oscar Brownless, the son of Geelong forward Billy, entering the management sphere.
Max Hayes, whose younger brother Blake looks set to be signed to an NFL team in coming weeks, has also joined TLA's agency. – Callum Twomey
NORTH OUTLINES REBUILD PLANS
NORTH Melbourne will take a cautious approach to fast-tracking its rebuild through trade and free agency moves, with the club determined to instead focus on developing talent from within.
The Kangaroos have made a series of high-profile but largely unsuccessful plays for superstar free agent talent in recent years, losing out in pursuits of players like Josh Kelly, Dustin Martin and Andrew Gaff among others.
In 2018, the club made a lucrative $1 million per season offer to Collingwood's Jordan De Goey – who is a free agent this year – but has since changed its recruiting tact and has warned against expecting similar offers being bandied around.
Instead, the Kangaroos will continue placing a stronger emphasis on a draft-led rebuild having made six selections inside the top-13 picks over last six seasons and recruiting Jason Horne-Francis with their first ever No.1 pick last year.
"One of the things that you're aware of in the background is not bringing too many experienced guys in too quickly," North Melbourne coach David Noble told AFL.com.au last month.
"It limits your ability to give games to younger guys, because you might actually have something that's better than what you can bring in. That's always the discussion that you have.
"It's the balance of making sure there's enough space for players to come through. You just have to be cautious around what you bring in. We probably need another year to assess what that actually looks like.
"But, if the time is right at the end of the year and there's another free agent around or there's a player that we feel helps to move us forward, then we'd obviously need to consider it." – Riley Beveridge
Watch David Noble's full interview from February below