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Five free agents to look out for: Part 2

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Roar Guru
30th August, 2020
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As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, there are some pretty good free agents available this coming off-season.

Here are five more to watch this post-season.

Andrew McGrath: Essendon (out of contract)
One of the biggest improvers across the league this season, McGrath has enhanced a super-strong midfield ever since being selected No. 1 in 2016 as well as improving his own game. But this season he’s a chance of winning the Crichton Medal.

He’s averaging a career-high in nearly every category, including disposals (22.3), contested possessions (9.1), clearances (4.7) and tackles (5.3) per game. His career stats for those are 20.6 disposals, 6.6 contested possessions, 1.8 clearances and three tackles per game.

He’s not being linked to many clubs across the league, which is interesting given how young and how good of a player he is already. I don’t see too many other rumours for him, though, so I’d see him staying at the Bombers the next few years and in the near future.

Andrew McGrath

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Stefan Martin: Brisbane (restricted free agent)
A big improver over recent years since his move to the Sunshine State, when Martin is at his best he’s one of the AFL’s most elite ruckmen. Despite not having the best start at the Lions due to injury, he’s just got better along with the Lions.

Between 2015 and 2019 he averaged 31.2 hit-outs, 18.1 disposals, 4.7 clearances, 9.6 contested possessions, 4.1 marks, and 2.4 tackles per game. His career for those figures, he’s averaging 23.5 hit-outs, 16.4 disposals, 3.5 clearances, 8.2 contested possessions, 4.1 marks and 2.1 tackles per game.

Again, he’s one who hasn’t been linked to many clubs, but at 33 years old he could be a good mentor for a season at a club such as Adelaide or even Carlton (despite their ruck stocks). I do see him either retiring or staying in Brisbane.

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Charlie Dixon: Port Adelaide (out of contract)
Another massive improver this hectic season, Dixon has been a superstar up in the forward line for the Power. Providing a strong and big target up forward as well, he’s currently up there this season with Tom Hawkins and Josh Kennedy.

The 2020 season has easily been his best, but despite averaging only 9.5 disposals per game, he’s still averaging 2.1 goals, 4.2 marks, three contested marks, 2.2 marks inside 50, 5.6 score involvements and seven contested possessions per game.

Talks have started to intensify for the star forward, with Adelaide board member Mark Ricciuto claiming that Brisbane have already offered him a four-year deal. It would be tempting moving north, but I see him staying at Alberton Oval.

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Charlie Dixon Port Adelaide Power AFL 2017

(Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Jack Viney: Melbourne (restricted free agent)
Part of a super-strong Melbourne midfield, Viney is an absolute bull, using his strength and his tackling ability to good use, which is rare given he isn’t the tallest or strongest midfielder around.

He also has solid stats, this season averaging 20.7 disposals, 4.2 tackles, 4.3 inside 50s, 5.3 clearances and 10.7 contested possessions. Over his career he’s averaging 21.9 disposals, 10.9 contested possessions, five clearances, 5.6 tackles and 3.1 inside 50s per game.

Again, he hasn’t been talked about recently, but with no news regarding a contract extension, some teams will be circling him like sharks. He could be one of the biggest signings for any club, but I see him staying at the Demons.

Adam Saad: Essendon (out of contract)
A star and a speedster almost as fast as the Flash ever since he entered the league, Saad is an elite defender when on fire. He is the epiphany of the current rebounding defender: speed, agility, balance and an extremely powerful left foot.

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Having possibly a career-best season at Windy Hill, he’s averaging 19.2 disposals, 11.6 kicks, 4.2 rebound 50s, 3.2 inside 50s, 3.7 one-percenters and 413.3 metres gained per game. Over his career he’s averaging 17.2 disposals, 9.3 kicks, 3.7 rebound 50s, two inside 50s, 3.2 one-percenters and 343.2 metres gained per game.

There’s been a little talk about his contract details, with Fox Footy reporting two months ago that Essendon weren’t close to his asking price. If this stays the same, North Melbourne or even Carlton could potentially tempt him with more money. This one’s a tough call, but I reckon he’ll leave the Bombers and go to somewhere else in Victoria.

So that’s Part 2 officially in the books, and with plenty more big free agents still out there, watch this space for a potential third part.

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