Some wild speculation to commence a wildly speculative article – I reckon that some people genuinely enjoy the intrigue of trade period and free agency more than they do games of footy.
Not all games, and not all people, but I believe there are some of you out there. If so, this is right up your alley.
Trade period has been finished for a couple of weeks and other than the draft, and any pre-season signings, lists are really starting to take shape for 2023.
Given your love for all things trade, I thought I’d get on the front foot early – about 340 days early as it turns out – and start to look at players who are either restricted/unrestricted free agents following the upcoming season, or currently sit with only 2023 to run on their current deals.
Yes, yes… I know that players will sign extensions and all may be well in the end, but as it stands right now, these are the players on each team who COULD be looking at a tenure elsewhere when the madness begins again.
MATT CROUCH – UFA
RORY SLOANE – UFA
TAYLOR WALKER – UFA
PAUL SEEDSMAN – RFA
TOM DOEDEE – RFA
I was surprised that Matt Crouch lasted through the 2022 trade period at all. Could there have just been no genuine takers for him, given clubs could think they can get him for nothing after the coming season?
Walker and Sloane are part of the furniture at the club – they’re going nowhere should they decide to go around again, whilst Seedsman is one everyone just wants to see get back and play footy.
Interesting one if Doedee; long mooted as a future captain, we’re still in the Sloane era and Doedee’s star may have fallen just a bit. I love the way he goes about it. I am sure Geelong do, as well – he is a former Falcons product – they should at least ask the question of the 25-year-old.
DANIEL RICH – UFA
DAYNE ZORKO – UFA
ERIC HIPWOOD – RFA
RHYS MATHIESON – RFA
You’d think they’re pretty safe, although there were rumours Mathieson was being shopped after the 2022 season, so he could be a chance to try his luck elsewhere if game time is not plentiful.
Hipwood is an interesting one. At 25, it seems as though he has been around forever, and as Brisbane’s best key forward in the finals, is value only increased this year. There’d be a few teams in need of a tall forward keeping an eye on his contract talks.
DAVID CUNINGHAM – RFA
ED CURNOW – UFA
JACK SILVAGNI – RFA
LACHIE PLOWMAN – RFA
SAM DOCHERTY – UFA
No real issues here for the Blues, who seem to be in a bit of a sweet spot in terms of their list.
Doc is a Blue through-and-through. He will be going nowhere, and I would be surprised if Jack Silvagni ever wears anything but the navy blue, as well. He strikes me as a heart and soul player and one that is better for the club than his onfield performances indicate. Not that there’s anything wrong with his play – I just think he has value outside of his footy.
Plowman is an interesting one. Plays taller, and seems to be a bit of a whipping boy for certain Carlton supporters. One to watch.
JACK CRISP – RFA
JEREMY HOWE – RFA
MASON COX – RFA
SCOTT PENDLEBURY – UFA
STEELE SIDEBOTTOM – RFA
Hmmmm…. Jack Crisp is going to cost some serious money after his 2022 efforts. Given Collingwood’s mangling of the books in recent years, whether they have the coin to give him the contract he deserves will be something to watch.
Pendles bleeds black and white – he is going nowhere, but I would not be surprised to see Sidebottom entertain an offer from a club in need of a good veteran.
Mason Cox will likely see his role increased in 2023 with Brodie Grundy no longer in the picture and Jeremy Howe looks too comfortable in black and white to look elsewhere. As long as the deal is commensurate with his skills, he’ll remain a Pie.
DARCY PARISH – RFA
DYSON HEPPELL – UFA
MASON REDMAN – RFA
Geez, you’d wanna lock those restricted free agents away quickly.
Parish is as good a ball-winner as there is in the league and if his contract discussions drag on, Essendon will have wolves howling and scratching at the door. Ditto for Mason Redman, who had his breakout season in 2022. I’m sure some will say it was 2021, but he was a genuine star off half-back in the second half of this year.
Heppell’s name came up in discussions at points this season, with Gold Coast reportedly showing interest. Maybe they’ve opted to wait a year and perhaps coax Heppell up there in a player/assistant coach deal? Why trade when you can get him for free?
Or maybe they’ll offer a player and a first-round pick for him, anyway. It’s what they do.
MICHAEL WALTERS – UFA
NAT FYFE – UFA
No dramas here, with Walters likely on his last legs, and Fyfe the best player the club has seen (sorry Pav). A couple of Freo players are currently out of contract (see below) but they won’t be walking without compensation, so this section is relatively uneventful for the Dockers.
MARK BLICAVS – UFA
RHYS STANLEY – RFA
SAM MENEGOLA – RFA
TOM HAWKINS – UFA
You look at these four names and the only one I think could explore options is Menegola, who felt the squeeze of being part of the best team in the game in 2022, and was left out of the running to play in a flag. He had a massive 2020 but his last two years have been ordinary. Some clubs would like what he has to offer, but at 30, his time in the game will be short.
ALEX SEXTON – UFA
BRAYDEN FIORINI – RFA
CHARLIE CONSTABLE – UFA
RORY THOMPSON – UFA
SAM DAY – UFA
A couple of real falls from grace in this list, with Fiorini seemingly treading water for a couple of years after being the Suns’ best ball winner a few years back, and Constable once touted as an excellent midfield prospect for the Cats.
Well, now they’re just kind of… there.
Alex Sexton gets a bit of a raw deal from some Suns fans. Sure, he is hungry around goals, but when other clubs came knocking a few years back, he stuck with them when they were absolutely stinking it up. That said, I get the feeling he must have stolen a chip of Stuart Dew’s plate or something, as he has struggled to be a permanent fixture in the side. Walking to another club, at 28… he still has a bit to give and would be very handy in the forward pocket on a contender. Maybe with Rankine gone, he slots back into the forward line more often?
CALLAN WARD – UFA
DANIEL LLOYD – RFA
HARRISON HIMMELBERG – RFA
MATT FLYNN – RFA
PHIL DAVIS – UFA
There are a couple here that would be of a lot of interest to other clubs. Both Harry Himmelberg and Matt Flynn would garner a lot of interest elsewhere, whereas Ward has been part of the furniture for the Giants, and Davis is likely on his last tour of duty. I’m not sure Daniel Lloyd gets too much interest from elsewhere.
How Adam Kingsley uses Himmelberg may factor into his decision about his future – his move to half-back was lauded in 2021, but if he isn’t content with the situation, I am sure there’d be a lot of takers. And Matt Flynn is probably one of the most underrated young ruckmen in the game.
Basically, the Hawks have already cleaned out their list. The pain, for now, should be over, but there is a name or two in the out-of-contract list below that may cause some concern.
ALEX NEAL-BULLEN – RFA
The Dees have also managed their list well, with just one player coming into free agency after this season.
ANB is a valuable player when it comes to the one-percenters in footy. Unsung, but one of the vital pieces of a high-performing Demons outfit, but if he finds himself slipping out of the team at any stage, perhaps that is enough to see him look elsewhere.
BEN MCKAY – RFA
JACK ZIEBELL – UFA
TODD GOLDSTEIN – UFA
Re-sign Ben McKay right now, Kangas! Right now… quick!
He is one of the more tantalising names on this list. At 24, he is a ready-made key defender that any team in the entire league would welcome. I want to see him stay at North, but in the current climate, and with the Roos struggling, you could understand if he was tempted to see what value he has on the market.
Re-sign him now… re-sign him now!
Goldy seemed to make his intentions known when he stuck with the Roos when the chance to go elsewhere was available, and the captain won’t be going anywhere.
CHARLIE DIXON – RFA
RILEY BONNER – RFA
TOM JONAS – UFA
TRAVIS BOAK – UFA
Of the four listed, the only one you could see leaving would be Riley Bonner, despite the fact he rebuked any possibility of leaving Port as part of the most recent trade period. Handy on the wing or off half-back, he could attract a bit of attention.
DYLAN GRIMES – UFA
JACK RIEWOLDT – UFA
JASON CASTAGNA – RFA
KAMDYN MCINTOSH – UFA
NATHAN BROAD – RFA
TRENT COTCHIN – UFA
Not a lot to see here, with Cotchin and Riewoldt likely to consider retirement after 2023.
Depending on his position in the team/structure, McIntosh may get a bit of interest, and I reckon Broad could be a great get elsewhere – he is a WA product, but will be 30 by the time the season ends.
DANIEL MCKENZIE – RFA
JADE GRESHAM – RFA
JIMMY WEBSTER – UFA
SEB ROSS – UFA
Hmmm, if not for injury, Jade Gresham could be one of the top 20 players in the league and I wonder whether he believes he should be paid as such? A big 2023 season could see his value skyrocket – you’d lock him away as soon as possible if you were in control of the Saints.
Ross has had his name floated as trade bait a couple of times, and re-signed with the team a little while back. Free to explore options and walk anywhere he likes, he’ll be 30 and would make a handy pickup for a contending team. Webster could also get a bit of attention, but I am not sure his loss would hurt what the Saints are looking to build.
DANE RAMPE – UFA
LANCE FRANKIN – UFA
LEWIS MELICAN – RFA
SAM REID – UFA
Much the same as Port, three of the four listed are at the tail end and will either be done after 2023 or very close to it. Melican is the one who may explore options, but with 15 games across the last three years, and none in 2022, he would be considered surplus to needs at the moment, anyway.
JAMIE CRIPPS – UFA
JEREMY MCGOVERN – UFA
LUKE SHUEY – UFA
Coming off a period where he was one of the highest-paid players in the game. Gov has not really earned the money over the last two seasons, missing considerable game time since 2019. West Coast will not be paying overs for him again, so it will take McGovern being willing to take a substantial pay cut for him to re-sign with the team. Turning 31 early in the 2023 season, I am not sure there would be a lot of takers for him unless he gets supremely fit and plays 18+ games.
Cripps and Shuey are both 30+ as well, with Shuey really struggling to stay on the park, as well. No one will be going anywhere from this team.
BAILEY WILLIAMS – RFA
ROARKE SMITH – RFA
TOM LIBERATORE – UFA
TOBY MCLEAN – RFA
Hmmm… Bailey Williams is one to keep an eye on. He was shunted around the park a bit in 2022, with his usual position in defence being largely usurped by Bailey Dale and Ed Richards. Deployed on a wing, he never really looked comfortable and given he will still be just 25 when the season ends, could be on the radar of a number of clubs.
And then there is Libba. A second-generation star that has already recommitted to the club when others came knocking, he will have the chance to explore options after 2023. Can I see him going?
Nah, I think he’ll stick around, as he offers something the rest of the Dogs’ midfielders don’t. he’ll turn 31 in May, so perhaps we’ll start to see him used more sparingly in the middle – if that is the case, perhaps he could feel as though he has more to offer elsewhere, but after being a pillar of the Dogs’ on-ball unit, it would be difficult to see him moving on.
NOTABLE OUT-OF-CONTRACT PLAYERS (CURRENTLY)
DEVEN ROBERTSON – WA boy who started to attract attention in the 2022 trade period. If he remains unsigned by Round 12, West Coast and Freo will come knocking.
BRODY MIHOCEK – With Daniel McStay getting great money, a big season from Checkers could see him due a great payday. Do the Pies have the cap room to accommodate that? Or will they need to offload yet another player to keep him?
PETER WRIGHT – Will not come cheaply again. The Bombers got a bargain when they picked him up from the Suns, but he’ll be looking for a substantial pay increase given his 2022 Crichton Medal.
CALEB SERONG – Will be a priority for Freo to retain one of the best midfields in the game. I expect him to re-sign, but he went to Geelong Grammar… they tend to draw people back to Sleepy Hollow. Re-sign him quickly, Dockers.
JOSH TREACY – Will likely get more opportunity in the team with Rory Lobb sooking it up at the Whitten Oval. Just 20 years old, he attacks the contest with vigour. I’d be attempting to lock him away very early, and for a few years.
MATT ROWELL – Hasn’t quite hit the heights people expected of him and if the Suns cannot push for finals, you wonder whether the lure of success might be enough to tempt him elsewhere. The Suns gave away pick seven with Jack Bowes as a salary dump… was it to have enough coin to re-sign Rowell?
NOAH ANDERSON – Saw his stock grow in 2022 after playing some messy footy before that. Like Rowell, his position by halfway through the season will be something to keep an eye on. If there is no extension, the vultures will circle.
FINN CALLAGHAN – Has not signed a rookie extension, which is a bit of cause for alarm. Hasn’t really had the opportunity to shine as yet, but expected to get more game time in 2023.
TOM GREEN – A GWS Academy product, he will be high on the list of priorities for Adam Kingsley. He is potentially the best inside mid in the game, so will likely command a high price. I’d pay it, if I were the Giants.
DYLAN MOORE – Another whose value has skyrocketed. Could be an AA small forward in the next few years and is able to switch up and run through the middle, as well. Would be a player Sam Mitchell would want to lock away as soon as possible.
JACOB KOSCHITZKE – Has been teasing for a couple of years and is vitally important to the Hawks’ rebuild as a key forward. Does he play too similarly to Mitch Lewis? Can they co-exist?
JAMES WORPEL – Down on form since his blistering 2019 Peter Crimmins Medal-winning performance, will likely get to play more of his natural game with Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara gone.
JOSH WARD – Like Finn Callaghan above, as not signed a rookie extension, which always makes me a little nervous. Has shown plenty in his first season and his signature would be a very high priority for the Hawks.
KYSAIAH PICKETT – Had his name thrown out as a possible trade piece this year and it was shot down immediately by the Dees. Adds more value than stats indicate, playing big roles in small ways to open up opportunities for others.
STEVEN MAY – Will re-sign at some stage with the Dees, unless he gets in punch-on number three with a teammate. Oh, you’re forgetting that May was the one Campbell Brown punched out on an end-of-season trip? Too valuable to let go.
LUKE DAVIES-UNIACKE – The prize. North should and will pay through the nose to keep Petracca Junior. If he has not re-signed by the halfway point of the season, there will be some serious alarm bells going off at Arden Street
MILES BERGMAN – Had his name come up in trade scenarios for Jason Horne-Francis, but those fires were quickly put out. A Victorian product, Port should be looking to lock him away quickly to avoid any further speculation.
MITCH GEORGIADES – Another whose name was bandied about in trade speculation – this time to get Junior Rioli. Georgiades is a prodigious talent, but is a WA product, and would have both West Coast and Freo keeping an eye on his contract negotiations
SCOTT LYCETT – Given his team played Jeremy Finlayson as a ruckman all the second half of the year, Lycett’s importance to Port is paramount. Some teams are simply devoid of a decent ruck – Port is one of them, but Lycett’s talents would be welcome at four or five other clubs.
HUGO RALPHSMITH – Trade request from GWS as part of the Hopper/Taranto deals was knocked on the head pretty quickly, so it will be interesting to see how quickly the Tigers are to re-sign their budding half-back runner. If they drag their feet, Adam Kingsley may come knocking again.
NOAH BALTA – May be ready to have his breakout season and become THE key defender at Richmond. If I were the Tigers, I would re-sign him asap, as I could see his value rising pretty rapidly if he stays healthy.
SHAI BOLTON – If LDU is the prize, this bloke might be the jackpot. His re-signing will be the biggest contract of the season. There was speculation a couple of seasons back as to whether he would head back to WA, but he recommitted to the Tigers. Out of contract again after 2023, the Tigers had better have plenty of coin left, as he will command a very high price.
And should he opt to head to WA, what price would be fair. Had a chat with my fellow Mongrels… you start with a top-five pick and work from there.
SAM WICKS – Hard to see him leaving, as he is a Swans Academy product, but has struggled to be in the best 22 on a regular basis. I am sure he would get more opportunity elsewhere, but Sydney seem to be able to get their young stars to buy in. I’d say he re-signs and works hard to break into the side permanently.
ED RICHARDS – Break out season in 2022, forced to play tall in a defence that was pretty shaky at times. Will be better again having Liam Jones to help Alex Keath… I could see his signature being one sought very early from the Dogs.
CODY WEIGHTMAN – Highly talented and shook the reputation f being a diver with some gutsy work after dislocating his elbow in 2022. Fits with the Dogs perfectly and will be locked away pretty early in the piece.
And yes, guys… I get it. Players will re-sign and much of this piece may and will become redundant before the season even begins, but this reflects where things are at right now. Put the pitchforks away.
All contract info taken from the excellent footywire.com website. Love that place.