AFL off-season: who’s moving where as the trade and free agency period starts

Tom Rockliff is a player who will always have suitors from other clubs. 

By LAURENCE ROSEN

Fresh off the back of Richmond’s drought-breaking premiership, the 2017 AFL free agency and trade period is about to swing into action.

The free agent window opens on Friday, October 6 while the trade period opens on Monday, October 9 and closes on Thursday, October 16.

Major deals are being done in one of the most exciting periods during the AFL off-season.

FREE AGENCY

Tom Rockliff

Changes continue at the Lions and that leaves Tom Rockliff with a decision to make as a restricted agent. Does he stick with a young Brisbane side or seek new pastures? A player of his calibre will always have suitors and could opt to chase immediate success at his next club, if he decides to move on.

Possible clubs: Port Adelaide or Carlton

Jackson Trengove

Trengove’s papers were stamped the moment Ken Hinkley left him out of Port Adelaide’s losing elimination final side. He is off to the Bulldogs next year as he seeks a more defined role in defence.

Possible club: Western Bulldogs

Steven Motlop

Motlop comes off a magnificent finals series but most likely will be squeezed out due to other players taking priority at Geelong. A devastating player on his day, he’ll have no worries finding a new club that needs a bit of speed in midfield.

Possible club: Port Adelaide

Daniel Menzel

Much like Motlop, Menzel looks likely to depart Geelong for salary cap reasons. His 2017 season was defined by pressure and that led to him being dropped before the Cats’ loss to premiers Richmond in the qualifying. So, who swoops in for the out of favour Cat? It remains to be seen.

Possible clubs: unknown

One thing is certain, Gary Ablett’s time at the Suns is over.

MAJOR TRADES

Gary Ablett

The worst kept secret in football is out – Gary Ablett has quit the Gold Coast and hopes to be on his way back to Geelong. But the real question is just how much the Suns are going to want for the player who has just won their best and fairest and is contracted for 2018. This deal looms as the most intriguing of the trade period.

Possible club: Geelong

Jake Stringer

Stringer has had a tumultuous time on and off the field this year – playing just 16 games while dealing with family issues in the background. Fully fit, he remains a damaging player and would aid whoever picks him up. But what is he worth? It’s a genuine unknown largely because the gap between his best and worst is so great.

Possible clubs: Essendon or Geelong

Jake Lever

While he is yet to officially declare his hand, Lever is all but certain to leave Adelaide and join Melbourne. The Crows will want to get this deal done quickly so they can use the resulting picks in a possible Gibbs deal should he hand in a transfer request. The Dees stand to add a defender built for the modern game will but will have pay a hefty price.

Possible club: Melbourne

Jack Watts

The enigma that is Jack Watts continues to fascinate the footy public and while not publicly put up for trade, news emerged in Grand Final week that he met with Port Adelaide. Do not rule out Collingwood either, who could do with some extra help in the forward half.

Possible clubs: Port Adelaide or Collingwood

Devon Smith

The question of “just how good is Devon Smith?” is likely to be answered in the coming years but after a frustrating year at the Giants, he is officially on the move. The Cats’ interest in the former Geelong Falcons forward has cooled, leaving Carlton and Essendon as the two clubs likely to secure his services.

Possible clubs: Carlton or Essendon

Adam Saad

The 23-year-old dashing defender looks set to join an ever-increasing list of outs at the Suns. Saad is contracted at the Gold Coast next year but with many Melbourne clubs circling, it seems inevitable that he’ll be on the game during the upcoming trade period.

Possible clubs: Carlton, Collingwood or Essendon

Brandon Matera will head west. 

OTHER DEALS

Matthew Kennedy and Nathan Wilson (GWS) look set to move to Carlton and Fremantle respectively, while Brandon Matera will also head west after already undertaking a medical at the Dockers. Bryce Gibbs (Carlton) could look to force a move to Adelaide again, while it would not be the worst time for Charlie Cameron (Adelaide) to make his much-speculated move to the Lions – who hold several early draft picks this year. Luke Hodge (Hawthorn) will come out of retirement to link up with Chris Fagan at Brisbane, while the likes of Matt Shaw, Tom Nicholls and Aaron Hall (Gold Coast) are all likely to leave and seek new clubs. Anthony Miles (Richmond) and Harley Balic (Fremantle) are also look all but certain to move as they chase regular senior football.