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.
TARANTO TALKS TO STEP UP
GREATER Western Sydney is set to step up talks with Tim Taranto’s management as the star midfielder weighs his future.
Taranto is the Giants' biggest contract priority this season, with the best and fairest winner remaining without a deal for next year and being circled by Victorian clubs.
The Giants have been open to a two-year contract extension taking Taranto through to his free agency year in 2024 and are also willing to offer a four-year deal to lock him in for the longer term.
The 24-year-old had been keen to get through the early part of the season at the Giants before diving into any contract decisions, with a watch having also been on where he was positioned in the midfield and forward line.
The club's search for a new coach after the exit of Leon Cameron could also be a factor in the timeline of Taranto's decision with a number of rival clubs on the hunt for a big-bodied midfield ace.
The 2019 best and fairest winner and 2016 No.2 draft pick told AFL.com.au in March he wanted to get into the year before making any call.
"I'm just not going to think about it until the first five or six rounds and see what happens after that," he said.
"I love this club so much; I love everyone here and I love Sydney; I prefer it to Melbourne. Hopefully it works out that I can be a one-club player and stay up in Sydney for the rest of my life." – Callum Twomey
DOCKERS YOUNG GUN EYES EXTENSION
FREMANTLE'S rising defender Hayden Young is closing in on a long-term contract extension with the club after taking his game to a new level in 2022.
Young is already contracted to the end of next year but is understood to be heading towards a four-year extension that would tie him to the club until the end of 2027 when he would reach free agency.
His commitment would be a big fillip for the emerging Dockers, with Young an important part of the club's future.
He was selected with pick No.7 at the 2019 NAB AFL Draft, preceding Caleb Serong and Liam Henry as the club's top-10 selections that season.
The penetrating left-footer played five games in his debut season and eight last year but has been a permanent fixture in Fremantle's improved defensive set-up this season, playing seven games and only missing two through the AFL's health and safety protocols.
The 21-year-old, who was drafted from the Dandenong Stingrays in Victoria, has averaged 22 disposals for the Dockers and was among their best with 23 disposals against Gold Coast in last week's loss. – Callum Twomey
NO CONTRACT TALKS FOR RIOLI
DANIEL Rioli has parked contract talks with Richmond.
The three-time premiership player is out of contract at the end of the season, with his successful shift into defence arguably only increasing his value.
But as flagged by Inside Trading in April, Rioli is not yet entering into discussions on a new deal.
"No contract talks at the moment," Rioli told AFL.com.au in a Footy Feed special that will air on Friday.
"I'm keeping it down low."
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Despite the pause, Rioli admits it would be difficult to part ways with the Tigers.
The 25-year-old has strong family ties to the yellow and black, most recently with the addition of his uncle, Maurice Rioli jnr.
"Yeah, obviously my grandfather played here and now I've got my little uncle here so it would make life pretty hard if I did leave," Rioli said.
"I think it's an amazing club here. I've got to keep playing good footy and see where we take it from here."
Rioli has played 121 games for Richmond since being selected with pick 15 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft.
He is managed by Ralph Carr, the colourful agent who also represents fellow Tigers Dustin Martin and Shai Bolton and facilitated Mabior Chol's free agency move from Punt Road to Gold Coast. – Sarah Olle
2020 DRAFT TOP PICKS REMAIN UNSIGNED
PORT Adelaide will look to start discussions on a contract extension for Lachie Jones mid-season as the defender remains one of eight first-round picks from 2020 who are yet to sign on beyond this year.
Jones joined the Power as the No.16 pick two years ago after being a product of the club's Next Generation Academy and has played seven games this season after injury kept him to six games in his debut 2021 season.
The club is expected to start talks soon on an extension for the tough and composed 20-year-old who designed the Power's Indigenous jumper this year.
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There are another seven first-rounders who are unsigned for next year after Essendon youngster Archie Perkins this week agreed to a two-year extension, with the Bombers having wanted to lock him in for three years.
His teammates Nik Cox and Zach Reid, who were also top-10 picks in 2020, are out of contract, as is the Giants' No.12 pick Tanner Bruhn.
Collingwood pair Ollie Henry (pick 17) and Finlay Macrae (pick 19) haven't extended their deals as yet, the same for Geelong speedster Max Holmes who started the season well but is currently nursing an ankle injury.
Melbourne's Bailey Laurie, who is edging closer to an AFL debut with a string of solid VFL performances, is another who is out of contract from the 2020 first-round selections. – Callum Twomey
CROWS TALLS ON CONTRACT RADAR
ADELAIDE will begin work on re-contracting its best young key-position talents after the bye.
The Crows have handed opportunities to a number of uncontracted tall prospects throughout the first two months of the season, including key forward duo Elliott Himmelberg and Lachie Gollant and swingman Billy Frampton.
Himmelberg kicked 10 goals in a successful three-game stretch last month, Gollant enjoyed a breakout four-goal performance in the Showdown, while Frampton had 26 disposals and 10 intercepts in a pivotal display down back against the Bulldogs.
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The Crows are yet to start contract talks with any of the aforementioned players, though it's understood discussions will ramp up from the club's bye weekend which will fall during round 13.
Adelaide has suffered three successive heavy defeats recently, leading to Gollant and Frampton losing their place in the side for last week’s loss to Brisbane.
The Crows have the fewest number of uncontracted players in the competition to date, with their key decision set to revolve around an extension for 32-year-old former captain Taylor Walker after his impressive start to the season. – Riley Beveridge
FATHER-SON RUCK IN DRAFT MIX
THE SON of former AFL ruckman Trent Knobel has emerged in the NAB League this season as a potential draftee in November.
Max Knobel has played for Gippsland Power in the under-18 competition and last weekend also lined up for Vic Country in its clash with the Young Guns.
The 204cm prospect is among the ruck candidates in this year's group as he looks to emulate his father, who played 75 games in an AFL career spanning three clubs – Brisbane, St Kilda and Richmond. Max doesn't qualify as father-son eligible to any of them so would be in the open draft pool.
"He's grown six centimetres in the past 18 months and he looks like he's still growing. As a skinny underdeveloped kid he missed out on a lot of opportunities at representative footy but the plan has always been that he'd participate in our programs in a talls academy knowing he always had a really good skill set," said Gippsland talent manager Scott McDougall.
"He's got a really neat left-foot kick. It's been a patient build and he's starting to reap the benefits of having a really good grounding in his ruck craft."
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Part of that comes from working alongside his father, with Trent Gippsland's ruck coach in recent years.
"He's shown some really good forward craft at times but it's now getting that consistency," McDougall said. – Callum Twomey