L-R: Ben King, Tom Barrass, Jed Walter. 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.


DIALOGUE continues over a deal for Mitch Georgiades as the Port Adelaide forward considers his contract call. 

Georgiades had his season ended in April when he went down with a torn ACL, throwing his future into uncertainty as he remained out of contract.

It came after he had played the opening two games of Port Adelaide's season before being omitted from the side. 

The injury had meant a decision from the 21-year-old and 2019 first-round draft pick on his future was pushed back as he weighs the opportunities at AFL level.


The West Australian has played 49 games since making his debut in 2020, kicking 32 goals in Port's push to the preliminary final in 2021. 

His fellow 2019 draftee Miles Bergman earlier this year resisted Victorian interest to re-sign with Port Adelaide for a further two seasons to the end of 2025. – Callum Twomey


ADELAIDE has opened contract discussions with veteran midfielder Rory Sloane about playing on for a 16th season in 2024.

The 33-year-old has played all 19 games in 2023 since recovering from the knee reconstruction he underwent early last season. 

After securing Taylor Walker for another season last week, Crows CEO Tim Silvers said the club is now focusing on Sloane’s future.

"What he has delivered this year has been absolutely unbelievable. To do his ACL last year, go through rehab and throw himself in, he has just been such a role model for our group," Silvers told AFL.com.au.


"And then to hand over the captaincy this year, play every game and have such a terrific output throughout this season, I couldn't speak more highly of him. 

"We said we were going to hold off all discussions with him until after the bye. We've commenced discussions with his management over the last few weeks in terms of what 2024 might look like. (We) certainly have the indication he wants to play on."

Adelaide will target a key defender during the upcoming free agency window and Trade Period, following a week – and season – where the club's backline has been challenged by long-term injuries. 

The Crows lost Nick Murray to an ACL and Jordon Butts to a foot injury last week, after trade target Mason Redman opted to remain at Essendon rather than accept Adelaide's lucrative offer to return to South Australia. 

Former top-10 pick Fischer McAsey decided to retire over summer and in-demand free agent Tom Doedee ruptured his ACL earlier this year. 

Tom Doedee is seen with an injured knee during round 12, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

If Doedee turns his back on rival offers to re-commit to the Crows, with AFL.com.au revealing Brisbane's interest in June, the Victorian is likely to miss part of next season. 

Following the successful recruitment of Jordan Dawson and Izak Rankine in the past two years, Silvers said the club will aim to secure the signature of a key defender in October to improve a list that has made steady year-on-year improvement under Matthew Nicks' watch.

"We've been hit with a few issues over the last couple of months with some long-term injuries to key players," Silvers said.

"Our strategy has been over the last couple of years to bring in the best players available through the draft and then bring a sprinkling of free agents and traded targets to help top up our list.

"Our plan for this year was to target what we thought were needs, whether that be a midfielder or defender. 

"Our focus is sharply going to move to a key defender with the most recent injuries. You've got to be flexible and agile in this game. We certainly have had some targets for this year." – Josh Gabelich

Jordon Butts in action during Adelaide's clash against Port Adelaide in round 20, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


GREATER Western Sydney has locked away one of the last remaining restricted free agents on the open market, tying in-demand key-position star Harry Himmelberg to a six-year extension on Thursday.

Himmelberg, a 195cm option who has proved capable at either end of the field, had attracted significant interest from rivals in Victoria and the northern states but elected to sign through at the Giants until 2029.

A graduate of the club's Academy, the Giants matched a bid on Himmelberg with pick No.16 in the 2015 national draft. He has since played 145 games, kicking 160 goals, but has recently played arguably his best football across half-back.

Himmelberg's re-signing follows that of former top-five pick Lachie Ash, with the running defender also recently opting to remain at the club on a two-year extension that will tie him to the Giants until 2025.

The deal leaves Adelaide defender Tom Doedee, Essendon midfielder Darcy Parish, North Melbourne defender Ben McKay and St Kilda forward Jade Gresham among the last remaining unsigned restricted free agents. - Riley Beveridge

Harry Himmelberg celebrates a goal during the R8 clash between GWS and Western Bulldogs at Manuka Oval on May 6, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


PLAYERS becoming restricted free agents after six years and unrestricted after eight years has been discussed as part of the AFL and AFL Players' Association's Collective Bargaining Agreement talks.

As negotiations continue on the next pay deal for players, with the hope it can be delivered before the end of the season, it is understood a change in free agency qualification has been raised by the players association to see players reach their free agency rights earlier.

Currently free agency rules see players first reach the mark after eight years, when they can be either restricted free agents if they are in the top quarter for salaries at that club or unrestricted free agents if they are not. 

Then, after 10 years at a club, every player becomes eligible as an unrestricted free agent. There are other mechanisms to be a free agent, such as being delisted by a club, but the eight- and 10-year tenures are the most common. 

The AFL has discussed increasing the initial contract for first-round draft picks from two to three years in a bid to allow clubs more time to settle players into their environments and improve retention.

That has led to the players union floating reducing free agency qualification for freer movement if the first deals for players are extended. 

Under the scenario, the likes of Gold Coast spearhead Ben King, Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith and Port Adelaide gun Zak Butters, who are all out of contract at the end of 2024, would become free agents. 

Bailey Smith is tackled by Tom Mitchell during the R17 match between the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood at Marvel Stadium on July 7, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Some believe that having six-year free agents would see clubs be a better chance of retaining players through to that stage because it is a mark to reach that isn't drastically far from the initial contract length, however there are also views that it would prevent clubs from investing in taller and developing players as they may not develop until their mid-20s when they have reached free agency.

Another factor could be that six years is considered too short before a player generally hits the peak of their careers and thus could see more stars likely to leave building teams. – Callum Twomey


COLLINGWOOD midfielder Trent Bianco shapes as a trade option for clubs as he remains out of contract and out of the Magpies line-up.

Bianco has played just one game at senior level this season, in round 17 against the Western Bulldogs, and doesn't have a contract for next year.

The wingman has averaged 25 disposals in the VFL this season, including having 32 disposals last week against Carlton's VFL side, and has played 23 games for the Magpies since arriving at the club in the 2019 draft. 

Trent Bianco in action during Collingwood's VFL elimination final against Carlton in 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Bianco, 22, broke into the Magpies' side late last year and played in the semi and preliminary finals but has been unable to lock in a spot in the top-of-the-ladder Collingwood side in 2023.

Bianco, Will Kelly, Trey Ruscoe, Arlo Draper and Cooper Murley are among the Pies who remain without deals for next year, while clubs are considering pursuing young midfielder Fin Macrae, who is contracted for 2024 but has not played at AFL level this year. – Callum Twomey


JAMES O'Donnell is set to remain at the Western Bulldogs for at least a couple more seasons, only a few months after arriving at the Whitten Oval.

The 20-year-old has played eight games since joining the club as a Category B rookie at the start of April. 

O'Donnell is finalising a two-year contract extension that will see him locked in at the kennel until the end of 2025.

Luke Beveridge has used O'Donnell in a range of different roles since picking him to play senior football after just three VFL games for Footscray. 

O'Donnell, who is the son of former Australian cricketer and St Kilda footballer Simon, focused on cricket from year 11 until the start of this year. – Josh Gabelich

James O'Donnell handballs during the R17 match between Western Bulldogs and Collingwood at Marvel Stadium on July 7, 2023. Picture: Getty Images


WEST Coast will take an open mind into this season's trade and draft period, but the club will not shed vast amounts of experience from its list as it embarks on a significant summer rebuild.

Speaking on AFL.com.au's trade and draft show Gettable this week, Eagles list manager Rohan O'Brien said the club remained mindful of exposing too much youth despite its desire to generate more draft capital.

West Coast currently holds picks in each of the draft's first four rounds, in addition to Port Adelaide's second and third-round selections, but the club will be reluctant to part with contracted mature-aged talent to earn more top picks.

"I guess you listen to everything, but that's not the mindset we're in," O'Brien told Gettable.

"We've said all along that we would like our mature players, who when they play are still performing at a really good level, [to] play a part in developing our youth as well. We've seen a little bit this year what can happen when you expose too much youth at one time.

"I don't think we're of that mindset where we're really looking to move any of our more mature players for draft picks."

Premiership key defender and reigning best-and-fairest winner Tom Barrass is among a number of senior West Coast players to have attracted rival interest, notably from Sydney, despite being contracted at the club through to 2027.

TRADE HUB All the latest player movement news

But the Eagles remain steadfast that the talented 27-year-old – who was named in last season's All-Australian squad – has not indicated that he is keen to leave the club at year's end.

"Tom is a contracted player," O'Brien said.

"All the commentary seems to be coming from outside the club at the moment. I've had no indication from Tom or his management at all that he would be thinking about a move. From our point of view, he's a required player.

"As much as there's a lot of talk about it, from within the four walls there's been nothing at all." – Riley Beveridge

Tom Barrass attempts to mark the ball during the round 17 match between Brisbane and West Coast at The Gabba on July 8, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


TOP DRAFT talent Jed Walter will miss the rest of his season after a knee injury flared up after his standout national championships.

The powerful key forward dominated the carnival for the title-winning Allies, booting 11 goals to be named an All-Australian for the second straight year.


But he won't play again this season as he deals with a knee injury that he had carried through the championships. It won't require surgery.

Walter shapes as a likely top-three pick at this year's draft, where Gold Coast will have first call on him as a member of the Suns Academy.The 195cm big man has impressed scouts this year with his tenacity, physicality and defensive pressure as a tall forward as well as his aerial and goalkicking traits. 

He was a chance to line up in the Suns' VFL team in the latter stages of this season but the knee injury and time in the rehabilitation group will rule that out as Walter sits comfortably as the best key position player in the draft class. – Callum Twomey



THIS year's AFL Draft looks set to be staged earlier this year as the League discusses at ways to build the event.

The draft is expected to be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 20-21, at Marvel Stadium with again the first round to be staged on the opening night and the rest of the national draft to be conducted the following night.

The earlier timing – last year's draft was held on November 28-29 – would be in the lead-up to the AFLW preliminary final weekend, which would give a further clear window before the competition's Grand Final the following week.

Last year the national draft and AFLW Grand Final were held in the same week. 

The AFL is keen to bolster its draft event, with incoming chief executive Andrew Dillon telling Gettable in June that draftees bringing their friends to the night would add to the atmosphere.

"We're not the NBA and we're not the NFL, but that doesn't mean we can't continue to look at the draft night event. One of the good things from COVID was when we had the Zoom calls and you saw the players in their own houses where they're so relaxed with their friends and their dogs. That was really great vision. If there was a way we could bring some of that to our event, I think it would be great," Dillon said. 


"Maybe, for the boys from Victoria, they could invite their Coates Talent League teammates along to come and cheer them on. I think that would provide a bit more atmosphere. That's what I'd be looking for, you want the players to really enjoy it. It's a massive, massive achievement to get drafted." – Callum Twomey


THERE might be another Hodge in the AFL in the not-too-distant future. 

Cooper Hodge, the son of Hawthorn icon Luke, was named in the under-15 All-Australian team following an eye-catching carnival in Ballarat last week. 

The four-time premiership great has four sons and Cooper is the eldest and will be eligible as a father-son selection in the 2026 AFL Draft, given Hodge played 305 games in the brown and gold. 

The Hodges currently reside in Queensland after Hodge finished his playing career at Brisbane, where Cooper is a member of the club's academy, creating another avenue for him to enter the AFL. 

DRAFT HUB Click here for the latest draft news

Nick Blakey was eligible to join North Melbourne or Brisbane as a father-son pick back in 2018 but opted to join Sydney after progressing through the Swans Academy during the time when his dad, John Blakey, coached under John Longmire. 

Unlike other clubs, father-son selections haven’t been too fruitful for the Hawks just yet, but that could change this year with Will McCabe (son of Luke) expected to be a first- or second-round selection, while Ned Maginness (son of Scott/brother of Finn) and Calshear Dear (son of the late Paul) are also chances to be drafted. – Josh Gabelich