AFL trade news and rumours Day 1 wrap: Aaron Francis, Jackson Trengove, Tom Rockliff, Steven Motlop, Jack Watts

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    Only one deal was done on the opening day of the AFL trade and free agency period with Jackson Trengove moving to the Western Bulldogs.

    However, there was plenty of other news to emerge, with perhaps the biggest story being Essendon utility Aaron Francis’ decision to request a trade home to South Australia.

    Francis was drafted to the Bombers at pick No.6 in the 2015 AFL Draft as a versatile tall player capable of playing both forward and in defence.

    However he hasn’t been able to cement himself in Essendon’s best side this year and despite having signed an extension until the end of 2019, has now asked for a trade home.

    He hasn’t nominated a specific club that he would prefer to go to. Port Adelaide have already signalled that they are interested, and the Adelaide Crows will no doubt be keen for him too.

    My take: I said just this morning that the Crows should be having a crack at Francis. Potentially a good get for either SA club, though questions over his commitment are concerning. Dons will surely do a deal – it’ll help them land Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Adam Saad.

    Aaron Francis Essendon tall

    (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Free agency opened this morning, and the Bulldogs lodged paperwork to acquire Trengove before even an hour was out.

    Port Adelaide had the option of matching the offer to the restricted free agent – believed to be a four-year deal worth about $2 million – but elected not to.

    My take: A quality signing for the Dogs. He won’t be their best player, but he’ll add valuable height and maturity to their backline.

    As a result Port Adelaide have been given a second-round compensation pick by the AFL, however, they will have to forfeit it if they sign a free agent of their own, which is expected to be the case.

    Port are believed to be close to signing former Brisbane Lions captain Tom Rockliff, and there was a lot of speculation that this deal to would be completed on the first day.

    However Rockliff’s manager indicated on Friday morning that the paperwork for the deal would instead be lodged next week.

    Rockliff’s deal at Port Adelaide is reportedly worth around $700,000 per season, so will certainly cancel out the Power’s Trengove compensation pick, and will likely deliver the Brisbane Lions an end-of-first-round pick as well.

    My take: Easy come, easy go for Port’s compo pick. Wouldn’t be worried at all about the delay on Rockliff, the deal will get done.

    Jackson Trengove Port Adelaide Power AFL 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    Port are facing some serious competition for the other free agent they’ve put their name forward for though.

    Steven Motlop has reportedly also drawn heavy interest from Port’s crosstown rivals the Adelaide Crows.

    Motlop would be a fairly straightforward like-for-like replacement for Charlie Cameron, whose manager confirmed today is seeking a trade to the Brisbane Lions.

    An intriguing bidding war is on the cards between two fierce rivals if Adelaide’s interest is indeed genuine.

    Motlop has also been linked to Gold Coast and West Coast in recent weeks, but those possibilities are looking less likely.

    My take: I’m a little bit skeptical of how genuine the Crows’ approach is, but if it’s the real deal then they’re every chance to pip Port.

    The other big piece of news for the day is that there’s a new club interested in Jack Watts – Geelong, who have no doubt turned to him following reports that Jake Stringer is leaning towards Essendon as his preferred destination.

    Watts reportedly met with the Cats this afternoon. He’s also being courted by Collingwood, Port Adelaide and Sydney.

    My take: Pushing Daniel Menzel out only to sign Jack Watts seems like an exercise in futility for the most part.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.