Aside from the past two days, this year’s trade period has delivered far more than the underwhelming 2021 edition.
There has already been a shock trade request (Jason Horne-Francis), stand-offs over players’ value (Luke Jackson, Josh Dunkley, Ollie Henry), a controversial salary dump deal (Jack Bowes) and, importantly, 11 completed trades.
But there’s a whole lot more that needs to be done next week. Here are some of the players who are still waiting to find a new home.
The Lions are feverishly stockpiling draft points to match certain bids for father-son guns Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher but that has complicated matters in their pursuit of Dunkley.
Luke Beveridge’s Western Bulldogs were none too impressed with Brisbane’s decision to trade down from 15 to 21 in a deal with the Giants that helped them accumulate more draft picks.
The Dogs still want two first-round picks for out-of-contract Dunkley but the Lions could instead “pony up” 21, a future first-round pick and either theirs or Geelong’s 2023 second-round selection.
Brisbane would likely want something back in that scenario but it’s not even certain that would appease the Bulldogs.
This one has the feel of a deadline-day deal.
What a nightmare this situation has turned out for North Melbourne, which thought it had struck gold with the South Australian boy wonder.
Instead, Horne-Francis was tempestuous and even unprofessional at times in his debut season, then came his request to join Port Adelaide in the days leading up to the trade period.
The Kangaroos understandably want a king’s ransom in return for last year’s No.1 draft pick.
There is meaningful progress being made on a four-club deal – more teams could even get involved – that could see Horne-Francis’ wish granted, as well as Junior Rioli cross from West Coast to Port.
That would see the Giants get pick one, North selections two and three plus potentially the Power’s future first-round pick, West Coast selections eight and 12, then a series of other pick swaps this year and next.
This trade has Wednesday night written all over it.
Fremantle has offered Melbourne pick 13 and a future first-round selection for Jackson, the Rising Star winner and a premiership ruckman last year who just turned 21.
The Demons want a top-10 pick this year, ideally in the first seven, as well as the 2023 first-rounder, which is why the clubs are currently engaged in a Mexican standoff.
West Coast is waiting in the wings but isn’t considered a genuine contender for Jackson.
The expectation is this deal will get done, but which of Fremantle or Melbourne will blink first?
Grundy almost certainly won’t join the Dees until the 2021 premiers reach an agreement for Luke Jackson to become a Docker.
Melbourne’s pick 27, which was gained in a pick swap with Port Adelaide, will be involved in the deal, which will see Collingwood pay up to $300,000 annually in the final five years of Grundy’s hefty contract.
But the Magpies are keen for a higher selection, which the Demons aren’t willing to offer at this stage.
There were whispers early in the week that Collingwood wanted a pick slide on top of 27 that rested on Melbourne receiving Fremantle’s pick 13 in the Jackson deal.
That would have seen the Dees on-trade 13 and 27 to the Pies for Grundy and 16.
Richmond and Greater Western Sydney agreed to separate Hopper from the Tim Taranto deal, which was completed quickly on Monday for the Tigers’ Nos.12 and 19 picks.
The challenge is that Hopper is contracted and Richmond has only pick 31 and a future first-round selection to make its best offer, which is why Canberra-raised ruckman Ivan Soldo is likely to be part of the deal.
Soldo would enter a ruck logjam at the Giants with Braydon Preuss, Matt Flynn and Kieren Briggs but is yet to give the green light to him moving.
The 25-year-old midfielder should make it to Punt Road – and hopefully without the trade dragging into Wednesday.
This deal will get done but the complicated Jack Bowes situation is holding up proceedings.
Gold Coast will trade Rankine to Adelaide in a package that centres on the Crows’ pick five but will also include some late pick swaps.
How that looks may depend on what Geelong ends up giving to the Suns in the controversial Bowes salary dump deal that also delivers the new premier pick seven as reward for taking on the 24-year-old’s wage.
If the Bowes trade goes through on Monday, expect Rankine to follow not far behind.
There is far less certainty around what happens with this one.
Henry wants to join his brother Jack at the Cattery, only two years after Collingwood spent a first-round pick on him.
He was an unused medi-sub in his last two games of the year for the Pies – in rounds 18 and 23 – but kicked 21 goals in 15 matches and Collingwood wants to keep him.
Magpies list boss Graham Wright emphatically rejected Geelong counterpart Andrew Mackie’s initial offer of pick 38, leading to the Cats bundling up an army of selections to score Brisbane’s No.25.
That still might not be enough but could be Geelong’s best offer, given it used the 18th pick to trade for Giant Tanner Bruhn and wants to retain the No.7 selection it will get from Gold Coast in the Jack Bowes deal.
There’s been no official trade request from Clark, or his camp, but he is certainly open to a fresh start at North Melbourne.
The No.7 pick in the 2017 draft is a smooth mover but has played only 68 games for St Kilda in five years, including just eight this past season, because of a horror run of injuries.
The Saints say they are “reluctant” to trade Clark and expect him to be at Moorabbin next year but the door hasn’t been slammed shut on a trade.
There might not ever be an official trade request but Geelong knows the versatile big man wants to play for Port Adelaide next year.
At 24, Ratugolea wants to play regular AFL footy but managed only four senior appearances this past season to give him 59 overall.
A switch into defence has suited him nicely and caught the Power’s attention but the challenge is getting a deal done, particularly because the Cats continue to say he is going nowhere.
Port will likely have to part with its future first-round pick in the pursuit of Jason Horne-Francis and Junior Rioli but is trying to get permission to also trade a second-round selection from 2023 as well.
That pick would seemingly be the one to present to Geelong but list boss Andrew Mackie may just refuse to trade Ratugolea, who is contracted until the end of next season.
The expectation remains that Hawthorn’s 2018 Brownlow medallist will end up at Collingwood by Wednesday night.
Mitchell’s midfield time lessened this year as new coach Sam Mitchell prioritised a greater spread of contributors, including blooding more kids.
The 29-year-old didn’t enjoy the team success he probably thought was coming when he left Sydney and isn’t getting any younger, so the Pies look a good fit because they they need midfield help.
A second-round pick seems about the right price but, as it stands, Collingwood doesn’t have one in this year’s draft or in 2023.
Will Setterfield/Paddy Dow
The Carlton pair are both open to playing elsewhere in 2023 after being starved of senior opportunity at Ikon Park.
Essendon has sniffed around Setterfield for a while now and hopes to land him in the trade period, but there is less certainty on what happens with Dow, who is contracted for one more season.
The Bombers plan to use Setterfield in his best position as an inside midfielder, a position he has rarely played at the Blues for various reasons, including their vastly improved on-ball brigade.
The Adelaide defender, who can also play in the ruck and up forward, will find his way to Collingwood but the clubs are yet to agree on a deal yet.
Frampton, who started his career at Port Adelaide, will likely move for a future third-round pick and could challenge for a senior game immediately next season.
Fremantle wants a future second-round pick off Hawthorn for the wantaway ruckman.
That is a strong initial stance, because the Dockers shipped off Griffin Logue, Darcy Tucker and a future third-round selection to North Melbourne for a modest return of future second-, third- and fourth-round selections.
Meek played only six senior games this year and knows his opportunities won’t increase with Luke Jackson set to arrive from Melbourne.
But Freo is playing this one cautiously, knowing forward-ruck Rory Lobb wants out. If Meek was to go, too, the Dockers would be short on ruck depth.
As for Lobb, Fremantle continues to refuse to trade him, just like last year. The Western Bulldogs’ offer of pick 30 hasn’t moved the needle.
Francis wants a fresh start after seven underwhelming seasons at Essendon, with Sydney keen to give him that chance.
The No.6 pick in the 2015 draft has shown glimpses of his ability and who better than the Swans to take on a reclamation project?
Francis is out of contract and Sydney is unlikely to have to part with anything overly significant to bring him in.
Sharp has made an impression at Gold Coast but wants to return home to Western Australia to play for the Dockers.
As with all the Suns’ deals this week, they are keen to add to their 2023 draft stash to match bids on Academy talents Jed Walter, Ethan Read and potentially others.
Sharp will likely make his way to Fremantle at some stage in the coming days, possibly for a future second-round pick, but the Dockers have a fair bit on their plate before then.
The fringe Demon, who racked up medi-sub appearances this year, wants to play for the Giants, where there is a big opening for the small forward to play regularly.
Figuring out Bedford’s value is a different story.
GWS has no selections between 19 and 44 at this stage, with Melbourne list boss Tim Lamb appearing to be dissatisfied with the latter pick being appropriate compensation when he spoke a few days.
The 22-year-old will get to the Giants but there might be some to-ing and fro-ing first.
Melbourne has given its blessing for Tomlinson to explore his options but no one is biting just yet.
The 29-year-old defender has played only 28 games in three seasons since crossing from the Giants, in large part because of an ACL setback but also from falling in the pecking order.
As it stands, Tomlinson would need the Demons to swing Harry Petty forward or rely on injury to break into the backline, hence why he is keen to find a new home.
He has two years to run on his free agency contract.