AFL trade guide: Where will Grundy, Parish, McKay be in 2024?

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Only eight clubs still have something to play for in season 2023, so the rest are now focused on their off-season plans.

That includes retaining their own priority talent that remains unsigned, as well as plotting to secure their trade or free-agency targets. For all the talk this could be a quiet trade period, there are still plenty of interesting names being discussed.

We have selected below your club’s most interesting trade, free agency or contract storyline that is yet to play out.


Tom Doedee
The Crows want Doedee to stay, and the restricted free agent defender wants to be “a Crow for life”, as he told FiveAA last week. But the complication is Doedee – who confirmed the Brisbane Lions’ interest during the season – suffered a second ACL rupture in June, this time on his right knee. He has rejected Adelaide’s contract offers to date, and hinted in that same radio interview that his injury had played a role in the money not being quite what he was after. Matt Crouch, an unrestricted free agent, finished the season strongly, but his future is uncertain.

Injury further complicates Tom Doedee’s contract situtaion.Credit: Getty Images

Brisbane Lions

Deven Robertson
Robertson is now best known as the buff Lion who ran around with his shirt off against Collingwood after having his jumper torn to shreds. But the out-of-contract West Australian is also a handy footballer weighing up interest from West Coast. Robertson would have more certainty at the Eagles, but is loyal and probably leaning towards staying if – that’s a big if – he can keep his spot throughout the finals. Spring-heeled forward Kai Lohmann, the No. 20 pick in the 2021 draft, has put off talks until season’s end.


Paddy Dow
Dow’s impressive form since returning to the senior side in round 18 has turned this situation on its head. He won seven or more clearances in four of those seven matches and had 20-plus disposals in five of them. Dow seemed long odds before this period to remain in Navy Blue, especially with St Kilda among the clubs keen to lure the out-of-contract midfielder out of Ikon Park. However, Carlton list boss Nick Austin and coach Michael Voss might be willing to fight for him. There is also a big watch on Jack Silvagni and Caleb Marchbank.

After stints in the VFL, Paddy Dow has found form at the business end of the season.Credit: Getty Images


Fin Macrae
The younger brother of All-Australian Bulldog Jack Macrae was the No. 19 pick in the 2020 draft, but has played only 12 AFL games since, including making his first appearance of this season last week. Macrae is prolific at VFL level, but has struggled to break into the Pies’ senior side. The 21-year-old is contracted until the end of next season, and a source familiar with the situation – who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was a private matter – told Money Talks he wanted to stay in black and white and could see a future role for himself.


Darcy Parish
The Bombers have tabled a five-year offer to the restricted free agent midfielder, but he wants six – like captain Zach Merrett scored in mid-2021. There has been plenty of commentary on this one, with the likes of club great Matthew Lloyd and Kane Cornes suggesting Essendon might be better off spending money elsewhere. The possibility of Parish leaving heightens the longer the negotiations drag out, but he is still more likely to stay. Brandon Zerk-Thatcher seems Port Adelaide-bound, while the Dons are in the Ben McKay race.


Liam Henry
The top-10 pick from the 2019 draft has piqued the interest of several Melbourne clubs, including Hawthorn, Collingwood and St Kilda, since it became obvious he was weighing up a move east. Henry produced a breakout season on the wing for the Dockers – and they want to keep him. Speaking on Tuesday, coach Justin Longmuir said of Henry: “I think this is the best place for his footy, so I hope he stays, but I don’t have an opinion on whether he is leaving or staying.”


Esava Ratugolea
The big Cat’s new-found intercepting ability down back has made him a man in demand. Port Adelaide tried to trade for him under contract last year, on top of Jason Horne-Francis and Willie Rioli, but Geelong refused to broker a deal. Ratugolea is out of contract and has a lot more bargaining power, with Hawthorn looming as the Power’s main – but not only – threat, if he chooses to depart the Cattery. However, coach Chris Scott wants him to remain in the blue-and-white hoops.

Geelong key defender Esava Ratugolea has plenty of suitors.Credit: AFL Photos

Gold Coast

Sam Flanders
Flanders, the No. 11 pick in the 2019 draft, was in and out of the Suns’ senior side until an explosion of form since earning a recall in round 15. A group of Victorian suitors, including St Kilda, wanted to see him thrive when he broke back in – and he did exactly that, averaging 29 disposals in the last seven games of the season. But Flanders has been so good that Gold Coast would hate to lose him, especially with new coach Damien Hardwick’s big plans for premiership success.


Matt Flynn/Braydon Preuss
After the Giants convinced Jake Riccardi to stay on a three-year deal despite Hawthorn’s interest, we wait to see what happens with their back-up big men. Kieren Briggs has surged ahead of Flynn and Preuss to be Greater Western Sydney’s undisputed No. 1 ruckman, and they also have Nick Madden developing on the rookie list. There are plenty of clubs looking for ruck depth, so it seems likely one of Flynn or Preuss will latch on somewhere else.


Chad Wingard
The 30-year-old strung together three consecutive strong games from rounds 19 to 21, as he made a compelling case for a new contract. But disaster (of the football variety) struck when Wingard, who has struggled with injury as a Hawk, suffered an achilles rupture the next week against Western Bulldogs. It might take him a year to play again, so rebuilding Hawthorn have a tough call to make. Tyler Brockman is considering going home to WA, while the Hawks are keen on Esava Ratugolea, Bailey Smith and Liam Henry.


Brodie Grundy
Grundy’s fit at the Demons has been a constant talking point since he was traded from Collingwood last year, and now he seems headed for a third club after falling out of favour. The dual All-Australian ruckman could comfortably still be the main man at a rival club, rather than playing in Max Gawn’s shadow, with Port Adelaide and Sydney his most likely landing spots. The Swans have also expressed interest in James Jordon, while James Harmes has played only three times since round 12.

Demons recruit Brodie Grundy hasn’t been able to hold his place in the senior side.Credit: Getty Images

North Melbourne

Ben McKay
Another player who has rarely been out of the headlines this year. The restricted free-agent defender gobbles up intercept marks and has ruckman size, both of which appeal to his various suitors. Sydney are prioritising his signature after Tom Barrass chose to stay an Eagle, but Essendon, Port Adelaide and Hawthorn are also chasing hard. The intrigue is whether if, as expected, McKay departs, the offer is big enough to trigger first-round compensation, which would be the No. 3 pick. There is also a close watch on Tarryn Thomas, while Todd Goldstein’s future remains undecided.

Port Adelaide

Mitch Georgiades
Georgiades suffered an ACL rupture in April and has been on the shelf since. The smart money is on the high-marking forward staying, but Melbourne clubs are circling, and he has a bit to weigh up, given he was in the SANFL at the time of his injury. The Power also have Charlie Dixon, Todd Marshall, Jeremy Finlayson and Ollie Lord on their list. There is some doubt on what happens with Orazio Fantasia and Scott Lycett, while Port have shown interest in Esava Ratugolea, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, Brodie Grundy and Ben McKay.

Mitch Georgiades suffered an ACL rupture earlier in the season.Credit: Getty Images


Dustin Martin
This storyline gets a bit tired because it has cropped up annually the past few years, but it continues to bubble away in the background, especially with Damien Hardwick accepting the Gold Coast coaching job. With confidant Trent Cotchin retiring, will Dusty seek a fresh start? It still seems highly improbable, but you need to expect the unexpected in the AFL. Ruckman Ivan Soldo has spent the past seven games in the Tigers’ senior side, but is the No.2 big man behind Toby Nankervis and rivals believe he is gettable.

St Kilda

Jade Gresham
It’s been a strange season for the “Gresh Prince″⁣, including the unlikely scenario of him serving as the substitute. There was a chance the Saints could net first-round free agency compensation if Gresham had a strong season and chose to move elsewhere, but his form dipped mid-season before spiking in the latter rounds. Carlton had a look at him, but are less likely to pursue him than a few months ago, while Essendon and maybe Collingwood are potential options. There is also intrigue about Jack Billings, Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield.

Jade Gresham is a restricted free agent.Credit: Getty Images


Dylan Stephens
The hard-running winger played in the Swans’ grand final side and looked to have finally cemented his spot. A hot start to this year followed, but he appeared only twice at senior level between rounds seven and 21. Stephens, the No. 5 pick in the 2019 draft, had rival interest last time he was out of contract, and North Melbourne are keen on him this time around. Sydney are expected to be aggressive in the player movement period after Paddy McCartin’s retirement. Ben McKay, Brodie Grundy and James Jordon are all targets.

West Coast

No.1 draft pick
Will they or won’t they trade pick one? This year’s top pick – which is certain to be used on boy wonder Harley Reid – switched hands between the Eagles and Roos in the last fortnight of the season. West Coast made their first big decision in retaining coach Adam Simpson. The next will be whether they split the top pick to try and select West Australian gun Daniel Curtin and another promising young talent, or back themselves to convince Reid to stick around. North could yet land Reid in a trade, especially if Ben McKay leaves and they secure pick three, in addition to No. 2.

Western Bulldogs

Bailey Smith
A potential Smith trade request would be a horrible result for the Bulldogs, given he remains an outstanding young footballer. He has had his challenges and his form has not been quite as good as previous seasons, but he has the potential to be a competition star in the years ahead. Geelong, Collingwood and Hawthorn would all love to get their hands on Smith if he does want a fresh start, but that is still to be determined. He is contracted until the end of 2024, so the Dogs would have to agree to trade him, in any event.

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