Brisbane will now turn its attention to striking a trade for star Hawthorn veteran Jack Gunston while continuing to bank points as it prepares to match early bids on two father-son stars.
The Lions, who made a preliminary final this year, are set to be one of the most active clubs this off-season, both at the trade table and on draft night, as they look to acquire Gunston, Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley and father-son prospects Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher.
After being handed Pick 35 from the AFL on Tuesday as compensation for losing free agent Dan McStay, who signed with Collingwood, the Lions struck two deals late on the third day of the trade period.
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Brisbane sent its natural first-round selection (Pick 15) to the Giants, who gave the Lions Pick 21 and the Giants’ future second-round pick.
Hours later, the Lions traded Thomas Berry, Pick 46 and their future second-round pick to Gold Coast, which gave Brisbane Picks 25, 36 and 56.
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“We moved some picks around to put us in a better position to do all those deals and obviously we’ve got some considerations when we get to draft time with the father-son boys,” Lions list boss Dom Ambrogio told 3AW’s Sportsday on Wednesday night. “The fact we’re going to have to go in carrying some points, I don’t think that’s a mystery for anyone
“Clearly that was the motivation behind doing what we did (on Wednesday) and obviously Tom Berry finding a new home at the Gold Coast Suns.”
Now that the Lions have added more points to their arsenal, Lions football boss Danny Daly indicated on AFL Trade Radio on Thursday the club would next work closely with the Hawks on a suitable deal for Gunston, who’s requested a move to the Lions.
While Gunston is eligible to join Brisbane as a free agent, the Lions are keen to acquire the triple premiership Hawk via a trade to ensure their McStay-related compo pick isn’t diluted.
“We definitely need to look at all those avenues,” Ambrogio said.
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“We’ve had some preliminary chats with the Hawks about that, so that’s something we’ll explore to see if we can come up with something that’s mutually beneficial.”
Asked if a pick in the 30s would get a Gunston deal done, Daly paused before telling AFL Trade Radio: “Potentially … maybe even a bit later, hopefully. Hawthorn want more, we want to give less … but it’s around about that mark, you would’ve thought.”
Brisbane had a big win last month when off-contract Bulldog Dunkley turned down significant offers from the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide and requested a trade to the Lions. He’s set to sign a six-year deal at Brisbane, reportedly worth between $700,000 and $750,000 per season.
The Dogs are likely to seek a first-round pick for Dunkley, who won the club’s best and fairest award and polled more Brownlow votes than any other Bulldog this season after a career-best 2022 campaign.
“We’ll still work on trying to split a couple of picks,” Daly said.
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“We’ve got a good array of picks with 21, 25, 34, 35 and 36. If we can hopefully split a couple of those along the way and get some more points, we can really hone in on the Dunkley deal and get these discussions going.”
West Coast is reportedly eyeing a move for Brisbane’s Deven Robertson, who worked his way into the Lions’ side during the finals series as a defensive option.
Robertson is the nephew of Eagles great Darren Glass and was viewed a future leader even during his draft year.
There’s a view the 21-year-old could be forced out of the Brisbane midfield by the arrival of Dunkley and Ashcroft.
But Ambrogio stressed Robertson was “very much a required player with the Lions”.
“Your only need to watch his finals series to see how valuable he is as a player to us with his defensive intent and his toughness and his two-way running,” Ambrogio said.
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“We’re really keen to retain him because we think he’s got a very bright future for us.”
Daly also confirmed fringe Lions midfielder Rhys Mathieson was open to exploring a trade, despite being contracted to Brisbane for another season
“His manager did indicate to us earlier in the week that he may be open to (a trade). But as yet we haven’t been given anything official by his management or Rhys,” Daly said.
“Tom Berry was in the same boat. We’d love to keep these guys and they’re good people for us, but we also understand they want opportunities.
“At this point he hasn’t asked for a trade. But if he was to do that, we’d have a chat with him about it and we’d work through what the best situation is for the club and for Rhys.”