Jamie Elliott’s already clouded future in the AFL became more unclear than ever on Friday following news that the Brisbane Lions have entered the race for the unrestricted free agent’s services.
Elliott is believed to prefer to remain at Collingwood, but only has a two-year contract on the table from the Magpies, while other clubs are willing to make him better offers.
Melbourne’s Josh Mahoney confirmed on Friday that the Demons have made Elliott a three-year contract offer, and it’s believed similar offers could be forthcoming from North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
What we do know now for certain is that Elliott will not land at Hawthorn, as the Hawks’ football boss Graham Wright today ruled out pursuing him.
While it’s believed Elliott would prefer to remain in Victoria if he does move clubs, the Lions could become a serious contender for his services if he does indeed decide his future lies beyond Collingwood.
Elliott appears genuinely undecided on what to do next at this stage. He will look to make a decision sometime between now and when the free agency window closes next Friday.
Another small forward, Tom Papley, reportedly “doesn’t really care” which clubs he plays at in 2020, so long as he’s able to secure a trade back to Victoria.
This conflicts with reports earlier in the week that Papley had nominated Carlton has preferred trade destination earlier in the week, though that still seems the most like scenario for him.
Sydney do appear to be planning for life without Papley – they’ve made contract during the week with Adelaide’s Riley Knight and Brisbane’s Lewis Taylor, both of which could potentially join the club to play a Papley role.
Carlton’s first-round pick, currently No.9 overall, appears certain to be part of any Papley deal, but it’s not clear if other clubs might feel they are still in the race for his services after hearing this news.
Things are also looking complicated for Geelong’s Tim Kelly who, as widely anticipated, earlier this week requested a trade to join the West Coast Eagles, as he did this time 12 months ago.
Unlike last year, Kelly is out of contract and so has more leverage, but Geelong appear set to make the deal a long and difficult one.
Cats list manager Stephen Wells today had the hypothetical of a swap for West Coast’s pick 14 this year and their 2020 future first-round pick put to him, and knocked it back.
It appears that – despite being well aware of the likelihood of this occurring – the Cats are still struggling to get their head around Kelly’s trade request.
“All of us are very reluctant for Tim to go at all, but for him to end up at a fierce rival like West Coast Eagles, who we’ve got great respect for, or Fremantle, who we’ve also got great respect for, we’re losing a player that has come second in our best and fairest in his first two years,” said Wells.
“We want to do what’s best for the Geelong Footy Club, taking into account everybody else’s position as well.”
Geelong’s statement regarding Kelly on Wednesday this week seemed to heavily imply that, despite Kelly nominating the Eagles as his club of choice, they intend to negotiate with both West Coast and Fremantle.
“Tim is out of contract but is not a free agent. The club will explore all options in regard to Tim’s request,” said the club via their statement.
Fremantle currently have pick 7 in this year’s draft and will expect to gain pick 6 via St Kilda in an impending deal to move Brad Hill to the Saints.
West Coast at present hold picks 14, 24 and 33 in the first two rounds of this year’s draft, plus their future 2020 selections, to potentially include in a deal.
Any speculation that Andrew Gaff could somehow be part of the deal to bring Kelly back to WA, or be involved in any kind of trade this year, appears dead and buried.
Sydney’s Zak Jones is another whose future appears uncertain at the moment following news that 2019 premiers the Richmond Tigers have an interest in him.
Jones has long been connected to St Kilda, but with multiple trade targets and no picks in the second or third rounds of this year’s draft, it’s unclear how the Saints will get a deal done for him.
That could open up room for Richmond to swoop on the deal. The Tigers have picks 19, 38 and 39 in this year’s draft.
The Tigers will also get a compensation pick of some kind from the departure of Brandon Ellis, who today agreed to an offer from Gold Coast to join the club as a free agent.
Because he’s a restricted free agent, Richmond have a three-day window in which to match the offer, with the deadline running out on 3pm Monday – but it’s not expected that they will do so.
Adam Tomlinson appears closer to making his move. The GWS Giants confirmed via a statement on Friday that he would depart the club as a free agent.
Melbourne’s list manager Jason Mahoney confirmed his club’s interest in Tomlinson and said the Demons hope to finalise the deal early next week.
In lesser news, Sydney confirmed on Friday that they have delisted James Rose and Durak Tucker from their side. Neither, at this stage, appears likely to draw interest from other clubs.
Fremantle have shown an interest in Richmond winger Connor Menadue, who could arrive at the club to fill some of the gap left by the expected departures of Brad Hill and Ed Langdon.