Essendon and Collingwood have dropped a bombshell late on the third day of the AFL trade period, with The Age’s Sam McClure and Michael Gleeson reporting the parties may be working out a trade for Mason Cox.
The American ruckman/forward struggled to replicate his preliminary final heroics from a season ago and ended up missing the last two months of the season with an eye problem.
But with the Bombers potentially losing star forward Joe Daniher to Sydney this offseason, Cox could fill the key forward, second ruck hybrid role Daniher performed in 2017 before missing most of the last two seasons with injury.
Cox was reportedly spotted at Essendon headquarters during grand final week.
The Bombers were at the forefront of the third day of player movement, with rumours of Orazio Fantasia’s departure also picking up steam.
Fantasia had been linked with a move back to his native state of South Australia – most likely with Port Adelaide – earlier this season, but personally moved to quash those rumours quickly.
While he’s yet to officially request a trade, the small forward today raised eyebrows by hiring Michael Doughty – who is based in Adelaide – as his new agent. Multiple outlets are reporting he is set to request a move to the Power in the coming days.
He is contracted to the Bombers until 2021 and, like with Daniher, list manager Adrian Dodoro previously vowed to play hardball over any potential move.
Daniher’s move may hold up talks between Port and Essendon over Fantasia and, while no progress was made on the Daniher front today, Tom Papley’s manager Scott Lucas caused a stir when he claimed “all options [were] open” in regards to the small forward’s move to Victoria.
Papley has nominated Carlton as his destination of choice, but it has been reported for some time that he doesn’t really mind where within Victoria he plays next season. While Lucas could have simply been driving up Papley’s value, the possibility of a shock trade to Essendon or North Melbourne can’t be ruled out.
It was an otherwise very slow day on the trade news front, with precious little information regarding the futures of Tim Kelly or any other big-name trade targets coming forward.
Player manager Nick Gieschen did drop some interesting updates on behalf of some of his clients, the biggest being the news that Ollie Wines will not be leaving Port Adelaide despite rumblings to the contrary throughout 2019.
He also knocked back any suggestions that West Coast would part with Jack Petrucelle to get any deals done, while also suggesting Hawthorn duo Paul Puopolo and Ryan Schoenmakers were increasingly likely to continue their careers at other clubs.
Other tidbits included Lions boss David Noble acknowledging the club was working with Sydney to get a deal done for Lewis Taylor, while also looking at options for Tom Cutler.
Earlier in the day, a schism between the Adelaide Crows and Western Bulldogs emerged over defender Alex Keath. The former cricketer was advised by both the Bulldogs and St Kilda to seek surgery over a stress fracture uncovered during medicals, despite the Crows insisting the issue didn’t require it. The Bulldogs are still the frontrunners to land Keath, but the parties have moved further apart over the issue.
That news followed free agency moves from last night, with Adam Tomlinson finalising a move from GWS to Melbourne on a four-year deal and Jamie Elliott resisting lures from the Demons and Lions to re-sign with Collingwood for two years.