AFL trade rumours: Kelly re-signs, Stringer cut loose

Josh Elliott Editor

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    Josh Kelly has become the second player in a matter of weeks to break the hearts of North Melbourne fans, re-signing with the GWS Giants on a two-year deal till the end of the 2019 season.

    The new deal hasn’t been super-duper officially confirmed just yet, but was reported on Fox Footy last night and it seems we’re only waiting for them to cross the Ts and dot the Is before it gets done.

    That is obviously brilliant news for the Giants who can now look to have a serious run at flag between now and 2019 with confidence that their best midfielder is going to remain at the club.

    For North Melbourne, it will signal a shift in strategy. The club has learnt in devastating and public fashion that there are no shortcuts to rebuilding, and for all the complaints over the years about a lack of loyalty among AFL players, this saga has made it clear that clubs do need to offer more than just money to attract the best talent in the game.

    In the longer term, expect North Melbourne to have a red hot crack at Kelly again when he comes out of contract in 2019. Some would even speculate that there is already a tacit agreement in place for him to move clubs then, though I wouldn’t put much stock in this as there is much, much water to go under the bridge first.

    In the short term, North still have a mountain of cash to burn and are now ready to fling piles of it at whoever might be keen. Roll up, roll up. Jake Stringer would have to be at the top of the list on talent alone, but you’d imagine there could be a curveball or two coming also.

    One thing is for sure, the Kangaroos will be taking their highest draft pick in many years in 2017 – there’s no player on the market, bar Jake Lever, who is worth budging pick No.4 for.

    On the other side of the equation, what does the Kelly signing mean for GWS? They’ve also secured Lachie Whitfield and Jacob Hopper in recent weeks, and must surely now be squeezing their salary cap pretty tight.

    Devon Smith and Matthew Kennedy are both still out of contract, and there has been rumour around Smith in particular that the Giants only had room to retain one of him and Kelly.

    In addition to the pair, the rumour connecting Nathan Wilson to a move to Fremantle continues to grow legs.

    Having missed out on both Jason Johanissen and Mitch McGovern the Dockers have cash to splash and will likely make him a financial offer that is hard to refuse, however he’s contracted for next year at the Giants so they’ll have to cut a fair trade deal if he does want to come.

    Josh Kelly GWS Giants AFL 2017

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    The other big story in recent times is that Jake Stringer will almost certainly be playing at a new club in 2018, with Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge confirming on Wednesday that Stringer would be traded so long as a fair deal is offered.

    He is contracted for 2018 and Beveridge did say that if the Bulldogs are not offered a deal they are happy with they will be happy to retain him.

    In truth that seems more like media posturing than it does a genuine threat. Player and club do seem to be a significant ways apart and the Bulldogs at some point will have to accept that a player they’re actively trying to move on will have to be traded at a discounted price.

    It’s going to be a fascinating situation to watch unfold as it’s a classic hard-to-answer trading scenario for clubs – do you take a punt on some whose talent is unquestioned, but whose commitment very much is?

    Personally I do think a lot of his form struggles over the last two years can be attributed to him being made the play the No.1 forward role when he really is more of a dynamic, unconventional third tall.

    While he clearly needs to improve how he approaches things off the field, playing at a club that already has a strong forward target who cops the best defender every week would allow him to freewheel a bit more and do some serious damage.

    The early word seems to be that Geelong and Essendon are Stringer’s ideal destinations, and he would fit well into the forward line at both clubs.

    However Richmond, Collingwood, St Kilda and North Melbourne have all been mentioned as possible destinations as well.

    Who is going to be most capable of getting a trade done? Geelong would likely have to give up a first-round pick for the fourth year running, which may not even be permitted by the AFL.

    Essendon and Richmond both have picks in the range that the Bulldogs will likely consider. Richmond, having an extra pick this year thanks to the Brett Deledio trade, would be especially well-placed – however, I suspect the Dustin Martin contract has left them with little room to attract a player of Stringer’s talent.

    St Kilda and North Melbourne both have plenty of cash to splash but trade deals for them are hard to see. Their early picks are too early and their later picks are too late, so expect some dramatic negotiations if Stringer nominates either of them. It’d likely be a similar situation at Collingwood.

    It certainly will be a roll of the dice and in the end I’d expect the club most willing to gamble, whoever that may be, will be where Stringer plays his footy in 2018.

    Jake Stringer Western Bulldogs AFL 2017

    (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Gary Ablett’s situation is going to be another one laden with drama this offseason. Gold Coast appears to be playing hardball – they reportedly want a mature player from Geelong, and they expect the Cats to pay that player’s salary.

    That is simply a completely unrealistic scenario and it’s no surprise that Chris Scott has said a trade is “impossible” on that basis.

    The Cats do have to be seriously careful here because as much as it would be an emotional and inspiring homecoming there are no guarantees around Ablett’s form and fitness and they must do what’s best for the club.

    My gut feel is that, much like in the Jaeger O’Meara situation, the AFL will eventually step in and steer Gold Coast towards making a deal – but time will tell.

    Jake Lever’s most likely home in 2018 appears to be Melbourne, with all the talk lately being that he’ll request a trade there. The Dees will have to pay a big price to land him.

    If that comes about then it will give Adelaide some significant draft picks to play with, and it’s already being said that they will again try to bring Bryce Gibbs home this year.

    Another player who might be on his way to South Australia is Daniel Menzel. He does appear to be on the outer at the Cats and a move home could appeal if either of the Crows or Power make a serious play.

    Headed in the other direction is Jackson Trengove, who reportedly informed his teammates this week that he won’t be at Port Adelaide in 2018. The Western Bulldogs appear to be his destination.

    Rory Thompson could find himself in Hawthorn colours next year. He’s contracted for another two years but word is the Hawks are interested and the Suns happy to let him go.

    There was a brief flare up of rumour about Josh Schache backflipping on his contract extension during the week, but his manager has since put out that fire.

    Lastly, Conor McKenna and Mason Cox have both signed longterm deals, putting to an end the rumours about them potentially moving clubs.

    Remember, you can keep up to date with all the latest trade rumours here.

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (148)

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2017 @ 8:02am
      mds1970 said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      Josh Kelly isn’t official yet, but seems to be looking promising. It’s a good sign for the Giants if so – the money was better at North and he’d be going back to Melbourne and his family.

      • Editor

        September 14th 2017 @ 8:04am
        Josh Elliott said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

        I think it’s beyond reasonable doubt at this point. As stated in the article it’s not official official, but it may as well be.

      • September 14th 2017 @ 8:57am
        Birdman said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        No-one wants North’s cash.

        Watch them pay overs to get the ‘baggage’ (Stringer)

        • Roar Guru

          September 14th 2017 @ 12:54pm
          Paul D said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          At least Pittard re-committed to Port, that’s one suitcase they won’t wind up holding

          • September 14th 2017 @ 2:21pm
            Powerboy said | September 14th 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

            ……desperately wanted bullet dodged….

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2017 @ 9:00am
      Wayne said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      For a club like St.Kilda, could they potentially re-negotiate some contracts, front-load the crap out of them and attack again next post-season for a big fish?

      They hold two decent Draft Picks (Hopefully one of them is actually something good). A decent young core coming through. Use 2018 to build the club as a destination premiership tilt club for 2019?

    • September 14th 2017 @ 9:12am
      Birdman said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      If the Cats go out in straight sets, they need to let Gazza go through to the keeper IMHO as that mature-age top up strategy will only get you so far even if it sells a few more memberships.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 9:13am
      Birdman said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      Josh, how about a Goldy/Stringer swap?


      • September 14th 2017 @ 9:39am
        David C said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        North would have to throw in a sweetener. I think Doggies are more likely to go for Stef Martin.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 10:03am
          Birdman said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          Roos pay some of Goldy’s salary – sweet enough?

          • September 14th 2017 @ 11:14am
            Pumping Dougie said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            Goldy’s currency has plummeted this year. He’s 30 years old and in poor form. He couldn’t even hold his spot in the 4th bottom side. I would have thought, given his age, he’d be only worth a 3rd round pick at best now. Pretty similar scenario to Cloke last year, who was traded for a very very late pick.

            • September 14th 2017 @ 11:25am
              Birdman said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

              he’s had a bad year but I reckon he’s got a fair bit left in him – looks more like a guy who needs a change of environment

              • September 14th 2017 @ 11:42am
                Pumping Dougie said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

                So did Cloke

              • September 14th 2017 @ 11:52am
                Birdman said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

                Apples and oranges PD – Travis Cloke as a forward was cooked before the Dogs got him whereas Goldy’s a top line ruck who’s had a down year due to the Preuss situation IMHO.

                Of course, there will be other options out there during trade week but my swap deal would address issues in both lists.

                What is certain is that Dogs fans will devalue Goldy based on one down season and Roos fans will devalue Stringer based on his poor form and attitude this season.

                The true value of both players will be somewhere in the middle.

              • September 14th 2017 @ 12:56pm
                Pumping Dougie said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

                Nah, Birdman, their age makes them poles apart in market value. When a bloke the wrong side of 30 has a horrible year of form, steer clear unless you can get them dirt cheap. GWS were silly to give such a high pick for Deledio, but at least his final poor year at Richmond could be put down to injury. Goldy is miles away from the excitement a player like Stringer generates for fans. Put simply, if Goldy is on the market, a few clubs will require including the Dogs. But if Stringer is on the market, half a dozen clubs are hungry to get him.

              • September 14th 2017 @ 1:18pm
                Gecko said | September 14th 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                What about some extravagant recruiting. Stringer, Majak Daw and Jesse White all to the Gold Coast. They could infuse flair and athleticism into the forward line. You’d need a coach who understands the way they think – someone like Fevola.

                Marketing manager’s dream. Fan’s nightmare.

              • Roar Guru

                September 14th 2017 @ 1:27pm
                Pumping Dougie said | September 14th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

                Gecko, you’re a very cruel man. Gold Coast have got enough problems.

      • September 14th 2017 @ 11:13am
        AB said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        I like it. A win/win for both clubs. Would probably require the swapping of later picks in the Bulldogs favour to get over the line.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 11:18am
          Pumping Dougie said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          LOL. Maybe the Dogs could throw in The Bont as well, just to even it up.

          • September 14th 2017 @ 5:23pm
            AB said | September 14th 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

            And here we have a deluded Bulldogs fan overvaluing Stringer.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 9:16am
      Mattyb said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      As a Bulldogs supporter my commentary on this Stringer matter will obviously be compromised and most likely poor, but I’ll do my best.
      Now that Beveridge has come out its hard to see the club going back now. It’s certainly a fascinating situation,and points that something was up with the playing group ever since about mid season. Stringers worth will be the big question. I’d think there might end up being a bit of a bidding war,AA forwards despite off field issues don’t grow on trees. Other considerations is how many people are calling this a weak draft,also from this draft another half forward,Rayner,is being considered a top 5 pick. This Rayner thing is one that fascinates me,despite the fact he’s being considered so high. If you way up the pros and cons of him and Stringer,they are almost identical,so perhaps any club considering him would consider Stringer as he’s already proven he can perform at an AA level,while both come with the same big downsides.
      Personally I could see Stringer at StKilda and they seem to have the most currency. I’d think pick 8 would be fair,but like I said at the beginning,I do feel unqualified talking value being a supporter of the side. The dogs dealt well with Stkilda last year so maybe some pick swaps could also be involved.

      Also Josh,I’m pretty sure Geelong can give away next years first again as the AFL amended that protection rule to begin in 2019.

      • September 14th 2017 @ 9:44am
        I ate pies said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Matty, my suspicion is that it became untenable as soon as a certain back flanker signed a long term deal. This is more personal than just turning up to training on time.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 10:04am
          Birdman said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          it seems to have something to do with that situation

        • September 14th 2017 @ 10:06am
          Mattyb said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          IAP,you could be right. Reading Bevs press statement is pretty telling,he mentions things like duty of care and what’s best for both parties. I love Stringer and would really miss him but he is also a human as well as a footballer,so maybe it’s best for everyone if he has a fresh start in a new environment. The game and world has changed and hanging onto players just because their good or fan favourites is no longer the way to go if human things are involved,and it does build a poor culture for young modern men. I’m happy to back the club in this instance,even though I’m a big Stringer fan.

          • September 14th 2017 @ 1:08pm
            Gecko said | September 14th 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

            For his own good, Stringer needs to go to a club that can give him a role as the 2nd or 3rd forward target (in 2017 it was hard to see what role he had at Footscray) and can instil more discipline in him. That rules out clubs like Carlton, Collingwood (whose forwards do whatever they please) and the Queensland clubs.

      • September 14th 2017 @ 10:58am
        me too said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        No way the saints would give up pick 8 for a player whose club wants him out and whose best footy was one freak season two years ago. If they wanted him they’d likely do a swap in picks with a clb – picks 7,8 for a top five pick and a second round pick – the second rounder would pay for Stringer.
        On Kelly my sources said St Kilda were the club most considered by him. North money was attractive, the club’s situation was a real turn off. The Saints offered a better future, much better training location, and playing amongst friends.

      • September 14th 2017 @ 12:55pm
        Powerboy said | September 14th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        “…Other considerations is how many people are calling this a weak draft….”
        Is that really so? Others seen to have a very different opinion……..

        I think early draft picks will be crucial next year.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 3:02pm
          Mattyb said | September 14th 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          Powerboy,why have you quoted a comment regarding the 2017 draft with a link to an article that talks about 2018?

          • September 14th 2017 @ 3:45pm
            Powerboy said | September 14th 2017 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

            Take a look at the link, that’s clue number one, go to that link and read the date of the article, that’s hint number two, check this years U18 competition and compare the names in the article with the teams in the 2017 U18 championships, that’s hint number three.
            Final piece of advice…. Think before you click on that “Add Comment” button.

            • September 14th 2017 @ 4:05pm
              Mattyb said | September 14th 2017 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

              Powerboy,I said the 2017 draft is reported as a weak draft and your saying it isn’t and linking an article about the 2018 draft being better to prove your point.
              I don’t see how you think that makes any sense.

              • September 14th 2017 @ 4:35pm
                Powerboy said | September 14th 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

                See my note to you below. There is no such thing as a strong/weak draft. Duds and champs are taken at any number on the list. It means nothing when assessing an active player, particularly their worth.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 9:25am
      Mattician6x6 said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      I understand getting on the front foot but the bulldogs need to be open to criticism after pretty poor professionalism in handling the stringer matter imho.

      • Roar Guru

        September 14th 2017 @ 9:36am
        Pumping Dougie said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        If Stringer and the club both want to find a trade, it’s pretty hard to deny there is a problem. He is unquestionably talented, so the Bulldogs would look foolish to try and portray the split as anything else – they have to justify it to their supporters. So being transparent about both parties wanting to move, not getting into the detail about what went wrong, and letting other clubs know he is on the market, seems about as professional as you could get to me. The only better scenario would be if it was all kept under wraps until the final seconds of trade deadline and then the media and public were all shocked to learn he had been traded – but that’s virtually impossible to do.

        • September 14th 2017 @ 10:07am
          Mattician6x6 said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          Its not the fact they have come out PD its the language used and the forums they’ve been said, Wallis interview was misguided tough love and gave the 1st club indication of the problems that were going on and Beveridge did not need to announce it to the world as I’m sure stringers manager has been sounding out opposition clubs on the hush for sometime, some things are better sorted behind closed doors not in public forum.

          • Roar Guru

            September 14th 2017 @ 10:19am
            Pumping Dougie said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

            I think as soon as the Manager starts shopping him about, then every other club learns and the secret is out. Then the Bulldogs are left red-faced trying to answer questions to the media about the rumours. I think it’s much smarter for everyone, including for Stringer, to approach it the way they have.

            • September 14th 2017 @ 10:22am
              Birdman said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

              yep, very mature way to go about it

            • September 14th 2017 @ 10:33am
              Mattician6x6 said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

              I don’t have a problem with them getting on front foot dougie and its just conjecture on my part stringers manager is involved bit I am not a fan of the way its been handled that’s all, can see and understand your POV as a bulldogs fan but making stringers position untenable in the public domain could lead to a lot of issues if a trade Isn’t done.

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