L-R: Caleb Marchbank, Flynn Perez, Lachie Keeffe. Pictures: AFL Photos

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.


WEST Coast, Greater Western Sydney and Melbourne have all shown interest in Fremantle big man Lloyd Meek, who remains under contract to the Dockers.

Meek has played six games for the Dockers this season, including round 23 against Greater Western Sydney, but was dropped for their elimination final win over the Western Bulldogs last week.

The Eagles, Giants and Demons are among the clubs to be circling Meek as a readymade ruck option, with Luke Jackson tipped to request a trade to Fremantle at the end of Melbourne's season.

The Dockers do not want to trade Meek even if they land Jackson to partner ruck star Sean Darcy, but the Jackson situation has seen other clubs look at Meek as a potential pick-up. 

Lloyd Meek celebrates a goal during Fremantle's clash with Brisbane in round 12, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy is considered likely to join Melbourne next year if Jackson does leave the Demons, while the Eagles and Giants are on the lookout to add to their ruck stocks. 

Inside Trading last week revealed the Eagles were set to sign Nic Naitanui to a two-year deal but the club has also been in on the Jackson chase, while the Giants had also shown interest in Grundy.  

The 22-year-old Meek played nine games last year and has starred at WAFL level this season averaging 18 disposals and 32 hitouts a game. – Callum Twomey



ST KILDA'S Ben Long is weighing his options, with Gold Coast among the interested suitors.

Long has met with North Melbourne as well but remains unsigned for 2023 after being a regular member of the Saints' line-up this season.

The Suns are understood to be among the clubs who have interest in Long, with the 25-year-old's hardness and versatility appealing to clubs.

He has played 79 games across his career at St Kilda and is at the end of his three-year deal at the club, which he signed in 2019.

Long, who played 19 games this season and kicked eight goals, has previously been the subject of rival interest while in contract. – Callum Twomey

Ben Long in action during round 23, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


ST KILDA midfielder Hunter Clark is expected to be a trade target of clubs this off-season despite having a year to run on his contract at the club.

Clark is signed to the Saints until the end of 2023 but has battled an injury-hit past two seasons, playing eight games this year and 13 last season.

His 2021 campaign was interrupted with a broken jaw that came after he was on the end of a contentious bump from Adelaide's David Mackay, while this season he suffered a shoulder injury in the pre-season and then a broken nose mid-year after a heavy clash in round 16.


The injury issues have restricted Clark but clubs remain confident about his long-term capacity having impressed with his bravery and class in his 68-game career.

Clubs are unsure what it would take to prise Clark out of St Kilda but see him as a possible trade option in what is expected to be a busy exchange period.

Clark's kicking on both feet, plus his versatility through the midfield and half-back, has been on show since he was a top-10 pick at the 2017 NAB AFL Draft. – Callum Twomey   


ZAINE Cordy has been offered a two-year deal to stay at the Western Bulldogs with the unrestricted free agent remaining out of contract.

Cordy was in and out of the line-up in 2022 but returned in the latter stages of the year to play the final five games of the Bulldogs' season, including last week's elimination final loss to Fremantle. 

The 2016 premiership player has hit free agency after eight seasons with the club and remains uncontracted for 2023, with the Bulldogs' offer taking him through to the end of 2024. 

Zaine Cordy with fans after the round 22 clash between Western Bulldogs and Greater Western Sydney at Marvel Stadium on August 13, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The 25-year-old, who was a father-son selection at the 2014 draft for the club where his father Brian and brother Ayce played, has played 118 games for the Bulldogs.

Experienced defenders are sought after on the trade and free agency market and clubs are generally keen to retain them as well given their value. – Callum Twomey

TRADE HUB All the latest player movement news


CARLTON is set to reward defender Caleb Marchbank's impressive late-season comeback from a nightmare injury run with a new deal, while injury-plagued midfielder David Cuningham is also tracking towards an extension.

It's understood Marchbank is on the cusp of signing a one-year contract for the 2023 season, having returned from nearly three straight years on the sidelines due to neck, calf and knee injuries late in the most recent campaign.

The deal will take Marchbank through to free agency, given next season will be his eighth at Carlton, despite the athletic intercept defender having played just 45 games for the club since moving from Greater Western Sydney.

Caleb Marchbank in action during the R22 clash between Carlton and Melbourne at the MCG on August 13, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Cuningham is also understood to have been tabled the offer of a one-year extension, having not featured for the Blues since rupturing his ACL in May 2021. He didn't play a game this season, after suffering a calf setback upon his return from his knee issue.

Veteran midfielder Ed Curnow has not yet re-signed with the club, as it ponders whether he will be moved to the rookie list or retained on the primary list, while Will Setterfield will likely have to wait until after the trade period before his future is resolved.

As previously flagged in Inside Trading, Carlton has recently re-signed a host of players to fresh deals including small forward Matt Owies, running defender Jordan Boyd and wingman Matt Cottrell– Riley Beveridge


NORTH Melbourne youngster Flynn Perez is closing in on a new deal at the club, while Lachie Young is also expected to remain at the club.

Perez is out of contract after playing 16 games this season, but is likely to be locked in for next year at Arden Street.

The speedy 21-year-old had an injury-hit beginning to his career with a knee reconstruction in 2021, which was his second ACL injury.

The Roos are also expected to retain Young on a new deal, with the former Western Bulldogs defender playing 35 games over his two seasons at North Melbourne since crossing from the Dogs in 2020.

As AFL.com.au revealed last month, North Melbourne has applied for two extra list spots as part of their pitch for AFL assistance from the League along with priority picks.

They have re-signed Cameron Zurhaar, Curtis Taylor and Aaron Hall in recent days. – Callum Twomey

Flynn Perez in action during North Melbourne's clash with Hawthorn in round 19, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos


EXPERIENCED defender Lachie Keeffe is set for his 15th season in the AFL, with Greater Western Sydney on the cusp of signing the veteran key-position player to a new one-year deal.

Keeffe is just three matches short of his 100-game milestone, having enjoyed another consistent campaign with the Giants that resulted in a career-high 18 matches across the season.

He now looks almost certain to finally reach that long-awaited landmark early next year, with his leadership abilities and experience in a young and developing GWS side still incredibly highly rated.

Lachie Keeffe is surrounded by teammates after kicking a goal during the R22 match between Greater Western Sydney and Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on August 13, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Keeffe has taken on mentoring roles alongside younger defensive teammates Sam Taylor and Leek Aleer in recent years, with the former capping an outstanding season with his maiden All-Australian blazer last month.

Set to turn 33 next year, Keeffe has played 57 games in five years for the Giants since crossing as a delisted free agent ahead of the 2018 season. He had previously played 40 games in nine years at Collingwood. 

Meanwhile, Giants veteran Phil Davis is still contemplating his future and is yet to make a call on 2023. 

The former skipper has a contract for next season if he wants it, but is still making a decision on whether to go play on after two serious hamstring injuries limited him to only five games this year. 

Phil Davis is carried from the ground with a hamstring injury during GWS' round 17 match against Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval on July 9, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Davis is currently on a holiday overseas, but spent time with Adam Kingsley discussing his future after the club appointed the new senior coach.

After playing 18 games for Adelaide across his first two seasons,  the 32-year-old has added 174 in orange and charcoal, leaving him eight shy of 200 games. – Riley Beveridge, Josh Gabelich


ESSENDON forward Alec Waterman will have to wait to see if he gets a new deal at the Bombers after two seasons with the club. 

The former West Coast player is yet to be offered a contract extension for 2023 after playing 22 games over the past two years.

But he wasn't a part of the club's group of delistings at the immediate conclusion of their season last month.

Alec Waterman celebrates a goal during the R11 match between Essendon and Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on May 29, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Waterman, the son of former Eagle Chris and older brother of current West Coast forward Jake, signed for the Bombers as a pre-season supplemental period selection ahead of last season and kicked 17 goals from 14 games in 2021.

The long-kicking left-footer found himself on the fringes of senior selection late in the year as a regular emergency for the Bombers, having kicked four goals on Anzac Day against Collingwood. 

Young defender Cody Brand, who joined the Bombers via the Next Generation Academy in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft, is another in the wait-and-see category at Essendon, with runner Brayden Ham out of contract and receiving interest and Aaron Francis seeking a trade for a fresh start. – Callum Twomey


CLUBS will look to trade out of this year's draft and invest picks in the 2023 crop with a bumper group looming.

Recruiters are buoyed by the under-17 prospects who have starred at different levels across the country this year, so much so that many clubs will see if they can swap picks in this year's draft for future selections in the 2023 intake.

There is genuine star quality at the top end of this year's draft pool and then an evenness of names beyond that which some scouts feel will trigger clubs to try and bank extra selections in the draft next year.

A host of bottom-aged players have impressed across this season, with Bendigo Pioneers youngster Harley Reid shaping as the early No.1 pick favourite for next year. Many recruiters would view him as a top-five pick in this year's draft if available.

DRAFT HUB Click here for the latest draft news

Nick Watson, Zane Duursma, Ashton Moir, Darcy Wilson, Jed Walter, Mitch Edwards, Nate Caddy, Colby McKercher and Archer Reid are among some of the other exciting talents to have impressed this season a year out from being draft eligible.

The capacity for this year's group to feature at under-18 level prior to their draft seasons has also lifted hopes for next year's draft class, given the past two draft pools had opportunities wiped out by COVID-19. – Callum Twomey