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.


COLLINGWOOD'S Josh Daicos is yet to start talks on a contract extension as the Magpie enjoys a career-best start to this season.

Daicos has returned to playing on the wing and his form is flourishing in the early stages of 2022, averaging 24 disposals and nearly a goal a game in the opening four rounds.

The 23-year-old sits as a priority re-signing for the Magpies this year but discussions aren't yet underway on a deal past this season, when he comes out of contract. Now into his sixth year at the club, Daicos is two years away from being a free agent.

Josh Daicos celebrates a goal during the round four match between Collingwood and West Coast at Marvel Stadium on April 9, 2022. Picture: Michael Willson

The son of club legend Peter joined the Pies at the 2016 NAB AFL Draft and hit his straps in 2020 playing on the wing, including kicking the goal of the year.

He played 17 games last season but has shown strong form early in 2022 playing alongside his younger brother Nick, who was the Pies' gun draft pick last season and has settled straight into the top level.

The Pies signed six players last week including star free agent Darcy Moore on a six-year deal as well as Jack Ginnivan, Reef McInnes and Beau McCreery for two more years and Aiden Begg for one more season. - Callum Twomey 


ESSENDON is among the clubs understood to be in a strong salary-cap position to attack this year's off-season trade and free agency market.

The Bombers opened up sizeable room in their player payments at the end of 2020 when Joe Daniher and Adam Saad left the club after big offers were put in front of them to remain as well as the departure of the contracted Orazio Fantasia.

They have extended stars Zach Merrett, Jake Stringer, Darcy Parish and Jordan Ridley to new deals since then but are believed to be one of the clubs with cap space to be aggressive this year.

TRADE HUB All the latest player movement news

Essendon has used four top-13 picks over the past two drafts and last year had a quiet Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period after failing in its bid to land GWS small forward Bobby Hill but brought in Adelaide free agent Jake Kelly.

Bombers away (L-R): Jake Kelly, Jye Caldwell, Nik Martin and Tex Wanganeen are the centre of attention following Essendon's round four win over Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on April 10, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Clubs were tight with money last year after the COVID-19 cuts in 2020 forced many player payments to be deferred into other years. West Coast, St Kilda, Richmond and the Western Bulldogs were among the clubs to do across the board pay percentage cuts for their players in 2021.

Although there is no clarity on the next collective bargaining agreement for players, clubs are better placed to hit the market in 2022.  

Among the other clubs industry sources believe to be in strong salary cap positions this year in regards to space include Adelaide, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Fremantle and Port Adelaide. Collingwood's salary cap issues have also eased for the Magpies to be again proactive in player acquisition, while Sydney is in the final months of its nine-year, $10 million deal for Lance Franklin. - Callum Twomey 


GREATER Western Sydney is heading towards locking in important backman Connor Idun to a contract extension.

Idun has become a fixture of the Giants' defence and is due to fall out of contract at the end of this season, which is his fourth at the club.

But the Giants are in advanced talks with his agent Julian Petracca from Hemisphere Management Group on a new deal to take him beyond this season.

Idun, who was drafted from the Geelong Falcons in 2018, has been a late pick success story for the club having been taken at No.61 that year. The versatile and athletic big man has shown his wares playing on a number of different types of forwards over the past two years, having settled into the club's back half.

He played 23 games for the Giants last season and has played every match so far this season for a total of 30 games for the club. - Callum Twomey 


ONLY five clubs currently have list spots open to use picks at the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.

After last year saw 22 players find AFL homes in the mid-season intake, including No.1 pick Jacob Edwards at North Melbourne, only five picks are available at this stage for this year's mid-season draft, which will be staged between rounds 11 and 12.

Last year's No.1 mid-season draft pick Jacob Edwards (centre) during North Melbourne's official team photo in February. Picture: AFL Photos

Carlton, Fremantle, Geelong, Hawthorn and Sydney all have one list spot free that can be filled via the mid-season draft, with all other clubs having full lists.

Gold Coast (for Ben King) and St Kilda (Nick Coffield) could place their respective injured players on the inactive list closer to the draft to open up a mid-season pick at their clubs.

Where clubs left open positions heading into 2021 knowing there would be some young talent who missed out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 wipeout of that season, many took a different approach in this past off-season by filling their list so that if COVID swept through their playing group they had as many players as possible to call upon.

It saw 12 players join clubs between last year's drafts and round one this year under the pre-season supplemental selection period rules, which has eaten up some spots that would have otherwise been kept for the mid-season draft.

The numbers, however, are likely to increase over the next seven weeks as more players inevitably are ruled out with long-term injuries and placed on the inactive list. - Callum Twomey 


TASMANIAN small forward Jye Menzie is attracting interest from AFL clubs ahead of the mid-season rookie draft, following a blistering start to life at South Adelaide. 

The 19-year-old has kicked 10 goals in the first two rounds to lead the SANFL, ahead of former Crow Matthew Wright, ex-Cat Daniel Menzel and Port Adelaide recruit Jeremy Finlayson.

Menzie followed up a brilliant debut for the Panthers in round one, where he kicked 4.3 against Central District, slotting 6.1 against Port Adelaide last weekend.

AFL.com.au understands that four clubs have enquired about Menzie as they start to get a lay of the land ahead of the mid-season rookie draft on June 1.

Jye Menzie in action for South Adelaide in the SANFL. Picture: Cory Sutton

Menzie received a late call up to last year's Tasmanian Draft Combine following some eye-catching performances in the NAB League for the Tasmania Devils, but didn’t speak to a club in the lead-up to the drafts. 

The North Hobart product moved to South Australia in November after being overlooked in the NAB AFL Draft and the Rookie Draft and met with two SANFL clubs before signing with South Adelaide. 

Menzie was selected in the Allies side to play South Australia last year before the Tasmanian contingent was ruled out due to border restrictions. 

It is understood that recruiters have been impressed by Menzie's ability to pack up life in Tasmania, move to Adelaide and make such a big impact so quickly as a teenager. – Josh Gabelich


HAWTHORN will still get priority access to father-son prospect Jerome Lawrence at the end of this year with the key-position player ineligible for the mid-season draft.

Lawrence, the son of former Hawk and 1991 premiership player Stephen, has started the season playing as a 194cm forward with the Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League.

He was eligible for the draft last year but having played at local level with Blackburn, he did not nominate. If he had have nominated and been overlooked, Lawrence could have put his name in the mix for the mid-season draft this year, where clubs lose their father-son rights over players.

Stephen Lawrence with the 1991 premiership cup and (inset) son Jerome. Pictures: AFL Photos/blackburnfc.com.au

But the Hawks will still get first call on him at the end of the year after he did not nominate last year, with Lawrence spending some of this week training at the club.

Lawrence kicked two goals from nine disposals in the Chargers' round one win over Sandringham.

Stephen Lawrence, a ruckman, played 146 games for the Hawks between 1988-98, and was one of the club's best players in its 1991 Grand Final win over West Coast. - Callum Twomey 


ST KILDA is getting a glimpse of one of the most exciting players in this year's NAB AFL Draft class as Harry Sheezel trains at the club this week.

Sheezel, a marking medium forward, is completing his AFL placement at the Saints through the NAB AFL Academy program having not been able to do the training through the pre-season.

The club experience is a major part of the elite Academy's program and allows the highly rated draft prospects to get a short taste of life inside a club ahead of their draft.

Sandringham Dragons' Harry Sheezel celebrates a goal during the NAB League clash against Calder Cannons at Highgate Recreation Reserve on July 10, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Sandringham Dragons prospect starts the season as a potential top-10 pick at this year's draft and booted four goals in a NAB League practice game before registering three majors in the opening two rounds of the year.

Sheezel, a 186cm forward, is a unique player with strong marking skills and great touch at ground level as well as goalkicking nous. The Saints and Dragons have a close relationship as clubs with the under-18s program using the RSEA Park facilities.

Cam McKenzie, who is another Dragon and a member of St Kilda's Next Generation Academy this year, has also trained with the Saints this week after an impressive opening to the NAB League season. - Callum Twomey