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.

PREMIERSHIP BULLDOG WEIGHS OPTIONS

PORT Adelaide is among the clubs interested in Western Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley, who has been offered a long-term deal by the Dogs.

Dunkley's future remains unclear as the end of his current deal nears, two years after he requested a trade to Essendon at the end of the 2020 season that did not go through. 

The Power are understood to be among the rivals pursuing Dunkley, whose partner Tippah Dwan is a netballer at the Adelaide Thunderbirds. 

Josh Dunkley celebrates a goal during the R18 clash between Western Bulldogs and St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on July 15, 2022. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

But the Bulldogs are also keen to keep Dunkley at Whitten Oval, with the ball-winner having had a contract offer in front of him through this season.

The 2016 premiership player is one year away from reaching free agency, having joined the club at the 2015 NAB AFL Draft, with the Bulldogs having signed up guns Jack Macrae, Bailey Dale, Caleb Daniel and Tim English this season to new deals.

The 25-year-old has played every game this season and averaged 25 disposals, four clearances and nearly a goal a game. – Callum Twomey 

LIONS FREE AGENT STILL UNSIGNED

BRISBANE restricted free agent Darcy Gardiner remains unsigned beyond this season as rival clubs monitor his contract talks.

Gardiner is the leading key defender left on the free agency list and one of only four remaining restricted free agents in the pool – alongside Collingwood's Jordan De Goey, Melbourne's Angus Brayshaw and Sydney's Lance Franklin.

Contract discussions started early in the year but no deal has been reached as the end of the home and away season looms, with Gardiner due to play his 150th game for the Lions in round 22. 

Darcy Gardiner in action during the R19 clash between Brisbane and Gold Coast at the Gabba on July 23, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The 26-year-old has been a key member of Brisbane's backline since arriving at the club via the 2013 NAB AFL Draft and is a contract priority for the Lions. 

As a restricted free agent, the Lions would be able to match a rival offer for Gardiner and force a trade if he was to leave the Gabba. They can't do that with unrestricted free agent Dan McStay, however, who is expected to join Collingwood. – Callum Twomey

IN-FORM BOMBER IN TALKS FOR EXTENSION

CONTRACT talks are underway for Essendon's Matt Guelfi, who is enjoying a career-best season at the Bombers.

Guelfi is out of contract at the end of this season after inking a one-year extension last year but discussions have ramped up for a new deal.

The West Australian is keen to stay at the Bombers, where he has played 16 games this season as a permanent fixture of the Essendon forward line.

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Perfect Guelfi crumb puts Bombers back in front

Matt Guelfi is in the right place at the right time after this brilliant pick up from the crashing pack leads to an easy finish

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The 24-year-old kicked two goals from 17 disposals against Collingwood last week in one of his best games of the season as he's found his niche as a high-pressure forward able to hit the scoreboard.

Guelfi, who was drafted by the Bombers at pick No.76 in 2017, would likely be in the Bombers' best and fairest top-10 this season. – Callum Twomey

DEMONS LOOK TO TIE DOWN SMALL FORWARD

MELBOURNE has tabled a multi-year offer to small forward Toby Bedford as it looks to lock away one of its most exciting young prospects.

It's understood the Demons have progressed in talks over a deal for Bedford, believed to be worth either two or three years, after a campaign in which he's established himself as a consistent contributor with the reigning premier.

The 22-year-old didn't feature throughout 2021 as Melbourne surged towards the flag, but has played 16 games in a breakout season this year and has impressed when given a starting berth for Simon Goodwin's side.

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Party time for Melbourne as Bedford brings the candy

Toby Bedford shows some candy before nailing his second goal of the night

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Of the 16 appearances Bedford has made this season, 10 have been as a medical substitute and eight as an unused medical substitute. But he has kicked eight goals from his six starts, providing the Demons with another important pressure player and goalkicking option in their forward half.

Now into his fourth season at the club, Bedford was a graduate of Melbourne's Next Generation Academy when he was drafted in 2018 and extended his stay courtesy of a one-year extension signed last season.

Speaking with AFL.com.au earlier in the year, Bedford said: "I would love to stay at the club. I love the boys and I love the coaches. A lot of the people that were here when I first got here are still here and I'm just loving it." – Riley Beveridge

KANGAS YOUNG GUN WANTS TO STAY

NORTH Melbourne youngster Curtis Taylor is hopeful of committing his future to the club.

Taylor remains uncontracted beyond this season, but has enjoyed an improved campaign in a new-found wing role and is determined to extend his time at Arden Street with a fresh deal.

The 22-year-old now has 48 games under his belt with the Kangaroos, featuring in every match this season to average career-best 14.3 disposals and 4.5 marks since switching from a high half-forward role last year.

Curtis Taylor celebrates a goal during the R13 clash between North Melbourne and GWS at Marvel Stadium on June 12, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Coming towards the end of his fourth season in North Melbourne colours, Taylor is now aiming to extend his time with the club that recruited him at pick No.46 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft.

"Yeah, definitely," Taylor told AFL.com.au.

"I see the young group that we've got. With the last couple of weeks, with what we've shown, it's been exciting. I've always had faith in our group. We've got so many young guys and so many guys that aren't even in the side at the minute, due to different reasons.

"Obviously, North Melbourne did right by me four years ago. I want to do right by them come contract time. But we've got the rest of the season to go, so that's what we'll be focusing on in the next few weeks." – Riley Beveridge

BREAKOUT FORWARD TRACKING TOWARDS NEW DEAL

RICHMOND is in talks to tie down a deal for breakout forward Noah Cumberland.

The exciting youngster has enjoyed an encouraging stretch since making his on-field debut as a medical substitute earlier this month, kicking six goals from his first three games to provide a new element in the side's developing attack.

All signs now point to the 21-year-old Cumberland remaining at Punt Road on a multi-year deal, having initially extended his stay with the Tigers courtesy of a one-year deal signed last season.

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Cumberland cooking up some magic early

Noah Cumberland produces a series of impressive efforts to help the Tigers earn two

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Cumberland was a member of the Brisbane Lions Academy, though the club opted not to match Richmond's bids on both he and fellow member Will Martyn with consecutive selections at pick No.43 and 44 during the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.

The dynamic 183cm forward has since developed nicely at VFL level throughout his first three seasons with the Tigers, before making his senior debut as an unused medical substitute during a round seven loss to Sydney.

He has subsequently kicked bags of two goals and three behinds against Gold Coast and three goals and four behinds against North Melbourne, before adding one major in another influential display in last Friday night's draw with Fremantle. – Riley Beveridge

NEW DEALS FOR SAINTS

TWO-YEAR deals are in vogue in Moorabbin this week.

First the Saints secured small forward Dan Butler for two more years. Now they have re-signed Cooper Sharman and Ben Paton until at least the end of 2024. 

Sharman burst onto the scene late last year after being taken in the mid-season rookie draft, kicking 10 goals from the final four games to show he has something in attack. 

But after struggling for opportunity across the first four months of the 2022 season, the 22-year-old has performed well down back across the past fortnight to prove he can play at either end of the ground. 

Cooper Sharman celebrates a goal during the R9 clash between St Kilda and Geelong at Marvel Stadium on May 14, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Inside Trading revealed in June that Paton was close to inking a two-year deal, with him now putting pen to paper after recovering from the broken leg that wiped out his 2021 campaign. 

The small defender has played 16 of 19 rounds and played his 50th game against the Western Bulldogs a fortnight ago. – Josh Gabelich

A SLOW ON PICK SWAPS?

CHANGES to the Next Generation Academy rules are set to have an impact on this year's trade period.

Last year there were 16 deals done during the trade period, in the lead-up to the draft and then on draft night which were purely pick swaps.

With father-son guns Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy at the top of the draft order, and then a swag of NGA and northern Academy players such as Mitchito Owens and Marcus Windhager (at St Kilda) and Josh Fahey (at GWS), clubs were quick to bank extra points to match bids.

It also created other movement for clubs with fewer list spots or an eye on the following draft to do deals and move out their draft picks. Clubs have also targeted rivals who need to match bids as a way to nudge up the draft order.  

DRAFT HUB Click here for the latest draft news

However clubs feel the change in NGA rules this season, which sees clubs unable to match bids for prospects until after pick 40, could slow the need for clubs to boost their bank of draft points under the live bidding system.

Brisbane has father-son pair Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher to account for and plan for extra draft points to be accumulated, with Essendon also having Alwyn Davey jnr, while Adelaide has access to father-son Max Michalanney

But the Crows are unlikely to get access to NGA key forward Isaac Keeler by pick 40, while the Saints will miss out on potential top-10 choice Cam Mackenzie as a NGA talent. The Bombers could also miss on Anthony Munkara, who is a talented forward tied to their NGA. – Callum Twomey