Harley Reid, Will Ashcroft and Seamus Mitchell. Pictures: AFL Photos

Every Thursday AFL.com.au presents Inside Trading, with breaking news and the best analysis of the AFL trade landscape covering contracts, re-signings, free agents, the AFL Draft and industry insights.


PORT Adelaide has retained star defender Miles Bergman, who has agreed terms on a fresh two-year deal with the Power having turned down significant rival interest from within his home state of Victoria.

As revealed by AFL.com.au's trade and draft show Gettable on Monday, chasing clubs in Victoria had been feeling a growing sense that Bergman would stay at Port Adelaide during the club's round 15 bye.

He has since agreed terms on a two-year extension that will ensure his future with the Power until at least 2025, reward for a breakout campaign where he has cemented his spot in coach Ken Hinkley's in-form backline.

It's understood Collingwood had shown the most significant interest in Bergman among Victorian clubs, while St Kilda and a handful of others had also put forward compelling offers to the talented 21-year-old.

Bergman, drafted to Port Adelaide with the No.14 pick in the 2019 national draft, has now played 47 games for the club and has averaged 14.4 disposals and 5.5 marks per game throughout a career-best 2023 season. – Riley Beveridge


DISCUSSIONS have started to extend Essendon's emerging star Nic Martin for the longer term at the club despite having a year to run on his current deal.

Martin is not out of contract until the end of 2024, having signed a two-year extension shortly after debuting last year.

However, the Bombers are keen to have the exciting midfielder for beyond that, with the 22-year-old's brilliant run of form putting him in contention for the club's best and fairest this year.


Martin, who kicked five goals from 27 disposals on debut in round one last year, has exceeded expectations as he nears the end of his second AFL campaign at the Bombers.

He has played 35 of a possible 36 games for the club and this year has developed into one of the elite wingmen in the game with his kicking skills and goal nous. He's booted 10 goals this year after 19 last year.

The West Australian was overlooked in multiple drafts before joining the Bombers as a pre-season supplemental period signing ahead of the 2022 season, with his next deal looming as a strong reward for his standout first two years at the level. – Callum Twomey

Nic Martin handballs during Essendon's clash against Carlton in round 13, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


THE AFL has flagged a series of potential changes to its draft bidding system, but has warned that an overarching umbrella structure for bids on both father-son and academy players remains unlikely.

Speaking on Gettable this week, the AFL's CEO elect Andrew Dillon revealed that the League continues to examine ways in which it can refine the draft's bidding process.

Currently there are three different sets of bidding rules depending on whether clubs elect to place them on father-son prospects, Northern Academy graduates or Next Generation Academy (NGA) players.

Clubs can currently match father-son bids anywhere in the draft, but can only match NGA bids outside the top 40 selections. There are also a host of intricacies for Northern Academy players, such as clubs only being able to match two top-20 bids if they play finals that season.

But the League is set to continue tying up any loose ends within its bidding process, including whether clubs can match first-round bids on father-son prospects with a host of later selections.

"They are really different, a father-son versus a Northern Academy versus a Next Generation Academy. They're all in for different reasons. Having specifics around each of those three is really important for us," Dillon told Gettable.

"What I'd like to look at is that our clubs are really good at, 'You write a rule, we're going to work out what's the best way we can – not exploit the rule – but do what we're doing within the rules?'

"When we first brought in the bidding system, we had the hidden picks where clubs were aggregating heaps of picks. We moved to change that. Sometimes, people look at it and say, 'How can you pick up a player in the early part of the draft by matching (a bid) with picks in the 40s?' Again, as we evolve, that's something to look at. We're taking feedback from clubs all the time on it." – Riley Beveridge

Riley Beveridge, AFL CEO-elect Andrew Dillon and Cal Twomey. Picture: AFL Photos


WEST Coast is making progress in contract negotiations with young midfielder Jai Culley, with both parties working towards a contract extension beyond this season while he recovers from a knee reconstruction.

Culley is keen to stay with the Eagles after joining the club through the mid-season rookie draft last year and playing nine games as a big-bodied midfielder who can also go forward.

The hard-working youngster, who had appeared set for a breakout season after a standout summer, earned an AFL Rising Star nomination for his four-goal performance against Port Adelaide in round six.

Two weeks later, the Dandenong product ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Richmond at the MCG, undergoing a full reconstruction that will sideline him until the early stages of next season.

Jai Culley looks dejected after West Coast's loss to Richmond in round eight, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Culley's management and the Eagles have been in consistent conversations about extending the midfielder's contract, with confidence a deal will be agreed once details are worked through.

The young Eagle has remained in Perth to focus on the early stages of his recovery and is tracking ahead of schedule before a planned trip home to Victoria soon. – Nathan Schmook


GOLD Coast forward Brodie McLaughlin only landed a shot on a list in February, but now more AFL clubs are keeping a close eye on his contract status beyond 2023.

The 25-year-old earned a deal for this season after being signed by Gold Coast during the pre-season supplemental selection period, following a meteoric rise from the fifth tier of the Ammos to the VFL and then to the AFL.

Since then, McLaughlin has emerged as one of the best mobile key forwards not getting a game in the AFL this year.


With Levi Casboult commanding the third spot alongside Ben King and Jack Lukosius in Stuart Dew’s forward line, McLaughlin has booted 34 goals from 12 games to lead the Jim 'Frosty' Miller Medal by three goals after 14 rounds.

McLaughlin kicked 5.1 against Box Hill at Heritage Bank Stadium on Sunday, following 6.3 against Geelong in round two, 4.1 against North Melbourne in round five and four other sets of three in his first season at the Suns.

Fremantle and St Kilda were understood to be two clubs that monitored him during the pre-season before he was offered a spot at the Suns, while Hawthorn, Richmond and West Coast could be in the market for a mobile forward in October.

McLaughlin is settled in Queensland and believed to be keen to remain at the Suns, but it yet to secure a deal for 2024.

Brodie McLaughlin in action at Gold Coast training on April 12, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Gold Coast has a stack of quality forwards playing in the VFL right now, including last year's 'Frosty' Miller winner Chris Burgess, who signed a two-year deal in October and has kicked 28 goals this season but is yet to add to his 35-game AFL career this year.

With Casboult playing 11 of the first 14 games in the AFL, Mabior Chol has been restricted to just six appearances for the Suns, despite kicking 44 goals in a breakout 2022 campaign.

Sam Day has kicked 20 goals from nine matches in the VFL, while Alex Sexton also has 20 on the board from seven games around five appearances as the AFL sub. – Josh Gabelich


THE MANAGER of likely No.1 pick Harley Reid says the talented Vic Country prospect isn't thinking about where he could be recruited, as a host of clubs jockey to land the first selection in this year's national draft.

West Coast is currently on the bottom of the AFL ladder, but a number of teams – including Greater Western Sydney, as revealed by AFL.com.au – have already held serious talks centring on what it would take to trade up to the No.1 pick.

Speaking on AFL.com.au's trade and draft show Gettable last week, Reid's agent Nick Gieschen of Connors Sports Management said the supremely skilled youngster isn't at the stage of considering where he could land in November just yet.

"I think he's pretty open-minded," Gieschen told Gettable.


"He honestly hasn't looked that far ahead. It's just week-to-week. He looks at the ladder and he's got an understanding of who is going to be around the mark, whether it's one, two or three or wherever it is. But he's open-minded to any possibility and we'll see how things go over the next two or three months."

Gieschen said clubs haven't yet approached him to decipher the types of packages that could help them land the No.1 pick, saying Reid's sole focus remains on establishing himself as the best player within this year's draft crop.

"He still needs to go and grab that mantle," Gieschen said.

"I know he wants to and he's determined to. Over the next three or four weeks, once all of the champs are done, there's obviously been some other players that are in some outstanding form, so it's not going to be easy. He just wants to get out there and prove that he's worthy of it." – Riley Beveridge



HAWTHORN youngster Seamus Mitchell was delisted in November after just two years on the list at Waverley Park, but he is now going to be at the Hawks for at least another two years.

The 20-year-old has made the most of his second chance in 2023, playing nine of the past 10 games since making his debut against Greater Western Sydney in Gather Round.

Mitchell’s management is currently finalising a two-year extension with Hawthorn list manager Mark McKenzie that will tie him to the club until the end of 2025.

After arriving at the Hawks as a half-forward who kicked plenty of goals in the Sunraysia Football and Netball League, Mitchell has transitioned into a half-back this season and has thrived down there to average 18.7 disposals per game.

Hawthorn has secured one Rising Star nomination in 2023 – Josh Weddle – and should have another one in the coming months, given Mitchell has produced big showings like 27 disposals and nine rebound 50s against Melbourne in round nine and 24 disposals and five rebound 50s in the loss on the Gold Coast on Sunday. – Josh Gabelich

Seamus Mitchell in action during Hawthorn's clash against Gold Coast in round 15, 2023. Picture: Getty Images


DRAFT talent James Leake has shown his wares in recent weeks, pushing his name forward with a run of impressive games for the Allies and at local level in Tasmania.

Leake, a versatile 188cm prospect from Launceston, gathered 21 disposals and five marks against South Australia before following it up with 16 disposals against Western Australia for the Allies.

He has been a surprise packet through the year playing a range of roles, including across half-back, but last week for Tasmania's under-18 side he booted three goals from 15 disposals in the Devils' six-point Coates Talent League win over the Geelong Falcons.

James Leake in action during Tasmania's clash against Bendigo in the Coates Talent League on April 8, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

His growing draft interest comes alongside the pair of Tasmanian talents expected to be top-10 picks at the end of the year – Colby McKercher and Ryley Sanders – while small forward Jack Callinan has also produced some exciting moments this season to show his draft potential.

McKercher continued his amazing season and furthered his chances of being a possible top-three pick with another commanding game against the Falcons last week, gathering a game-high 33 disposals and booting 2.5. – Callum Twomey