The AFL’s free agency window opens on Friday, paving the way for several stars to find new homes.
Key among the big names are Karl Amon and Jack Gunston, while intrigue continues to ramp up over Jordan De Goey’s future.
Foxfooty.com.au breaks down the big free agents still on the market – and who could move first as the deals get underway from 9am EST.
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Port Adelaide to Hawthorn
Amon and Daniel McStay were the two certainties to leave at season’s end, so they’ll be a couple of the first deals done once the free agency window opens on Friday. Amon had interest from several clubs including Carlton, Melbourne and St Kilda, but ultimately chose Hawthorn as his destination. He’ll join them on a four-year deal worth close to $650,000 per season. The compensation for Port Adelaide is expected to be in the second round of the draft and could well be part of a deal for potential recruit Junior Rioli. Amon had a brilliant season in 2022 despite virtually everyone knowing he would be playing on the wing elsewhere in 2023. He topped the side’s Brownlow Medal voting.
Brisbane to Collingwood
McStay will get to Collingwood on a deal reportedly worth $3 million over five years. It’s a lot of money for a player who went goalless in nine of his 22 games this year and is yet to kick 30 goals in a season, but the Pies will back him in as a tall marking forward who can ease some of the pressure on Brody Mihocek. McStay’s versatility also means he could head down back when needed and play a role similar to that of the now-retired Jordan Roughead. From the outside looking in, McStay is being paid overs, but that is so often the way when you want to get players from another club and you can hardly hold it against McStay for taking the deal.
Hawthorn to Brisbane
A decision that Gunston has mulled over, but ultimately he wants the change of lifestyle that so many have cited when deciding to move to Queensland. He ended up turning down a two-year deal from the Hawks and will join the Lions like former teammates Luke Hodge and Grant Birchall before him. He won’t have the longevity of Daniel McStay, but Gunston could well offer more in the immediate future than the soon-to-be Pie – while McStay is yet to kick 30 goals in a season, Gunston has done it eight times, including a 32-goal haul from 16 games in 2022. Getting his body right will be key after injury-interrupted campaigns this year and last, but the Lions’ track record with this is renowned.
JORDAN DE GOEY
Collingwood… to St Kilda?
The hardest of the free agents to pick. Essendon is reportedly still in the mix for De Goey’s services, but St Kilda has long been the favourite to poach him if he turns his back on Collingwood. So much of De Goey’s AFL future centres around the behavioural clause in Collingwood’s five-year deal that’s been tabled. Despite his chequered history, De Goey will be paid handsomely at whichever club he’s playing at in 2023 and beyond. His footballing ability is undisputed and he will likely poll very well at Collingwood’s best and fairest on Friday night in the games he took to the field. The issue for De Goey is that signing him is not simply an on-field call, but an off-field one as well. He’ll be 27 at the start of next season and should be nearing the peak of his powers. His future will shape St Kilda’s trade period as well as Collingwood’s.
Melbourne to West Coast
An unrestricted free agent, Hunt is reportedly likely to join the Eagles. He met with Eagles coach Adam Simpson and the 27-year-old looks set to continue his career elsewhere, unable to cement a regular spot in the senior side in recent years. He’d provide plenty of dash out of defence for the Eagles in a side that needs more run. Hunt has played 114 games for Melbourne since being drafted with pick No.57 back in 2013. He doesn’t rack up disposals, but gains plenty of meterage with the ball in hand. It’s effectively a free hit for the Eagles given his free agency status.
Carlton (sort of) to the Western Bulldogs
After a year out of the system, forced by his own decision to not get vaccinated against Covid, Jones was ruled an unrestricted free agent meaning he can easily move to the Bulldogs and the Blues can receive a compensation pick. It should be around a third-round pick (roughly pick 47) which could help get the Blake Acres trade done with Fremantle. Returning to his old club, Jones can really help a misfiring Bulldogs backline; he was the No.1 interceptor in the game in 2021.
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Others including Carlton’s Ed Curnow, Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, Sydney’s Jake Lloyd and West Coast’s Shannon Hurn are expected to re-sign with their current clubs, but either the exact details are still being worked out, or the deals haven’t been confirmed by the team publicly yet.
FULL LIST OF AFL FREE AGENTS (Unrestricted unless noted)
Ben Davis (Adelaide Crows)
Ryan Lester (Brisbane Lions)
Ed Curnow (Carlton)
Jordan De Goey (Collingwood, restricted)
Mitch Crowden (Fremantle)
Tom Hawkins (Geelong Cats)
Levi Casboult (Gold Coast Suns)
Charlie Constable (Gold Coast Suns)
Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)
Jayden Hunt (Melbourne)
Kayne Turner (North Melbourne)
Josh Walker (North Melbourne)
Bigoa Nyuon (Richmond)
Jarrod Lienert (St Kilda)
Mason Wood (St Kilda)
Harry Cunningham (Sydney Swans)
Jake Lloyd (Sydney Swans)
Lewis Taylor (Sydney Swans)
Shannon Hurn (West Coast Eagles)
Zaine Cordy (Western Bulldogs)
Taylor Duryea (Western Bulldogs)
Stefan Martin (Western Bulldogs)
Mitch Wallis (Western Bulldogs)