AFL Director of Players Scott Lucas of Phoenix Management Group provided an update on several of his clients on AFL Commercial Radio.
It preceded the official opening of free agency at 9 a.m. on Friday (AEST), while the exchange period begins from Monday.
Lucas anticipates a quieter period of exchange in terms of player movement.
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“I don’t think there are that many deals that will happen – a lot of it has to do with the size of the lists,” he said.
“They have to make all three choices now, which they didn’t have to do last year, and on top of that you have money that was carried over as part of the revised salary cap negotiations.” .
“These three areas have all made a difference. Maybe, I don’t think (the exchange period will be) so active.
SAM WALSH (CARLTON)
Lucas has confirmed that there is “no rush” to extend the Blues star’s contract, which expires at the end of next season.
It comes after a breakout campaign by the 21-year-old, claiming a first all-Australian blazer and finishing third in the Brownlow medal with 30 votes – the most even on record by a Carlton player – as an exceptional pay raise, by far expected. $ 1 million per season is looming.
“I’m sure there will be speculation, it seems like any good player who doesn’t sign up even a year or two before their contract expires,” Lucas said.
“He really enjoyed his time at Carlton Football Club, there is no rush on our side but saying there is no problem either.”
Lucas confirmed the Blues approached him to extend Walsh’s deal, but the immediate priority was to focus on players who could be traded or written off.
He also pointed out how the uncertainty at Carlton throughout this season has clouded the situation.
“I think any player wants to see where this all ends up before making a long-term commitment,” Lucas said.
Asked about the possibility of a deadline for processing Walsh’s extension, he said: this.
“But at the moment, there are no games played for the next six months, so there is no rush. The players are absent, they like to have an offseason and not think about it.
“I’m sure to come before Christmas if they resume training or in the months after Christmas we will discuss this a bit more, but certainly no rush on our part and I don’t think there is any rush. on Carlton’s side.
DARCY MACPHERSON (CTE D’OR)
Lucas confirmed that “the talk is real” that the Gold Coast Suns will help explore business destinations for McPherson.
It comes after the 23-year-old fell out of favor with the Suns in 2021, playing 11 senior games.
“Let it be realistic … there is still a lot of work to be done,” he said.
“You have Gold Coast and you have a contract with Darcy. Then we’re looking for another team willing to welcome it and potentially trade for that. A lot of things have to come together.
“I think Gold Coast is looking at a few contract players that they would like, if they could, find a (new) home.”
JAKE RICCARDI (GWS)
Lucas has confirmed that Riccardi’s preference is to stay with the Giants amid “some interest” from rival clubs.
it comes after foxfooty.com.au Senior reporter Tom Morris told SEN last month that the 21-year-old is expected to sign a two-year extension with GWS despite having only played seven games this year.
Lucas believes several factors played a role in Riccardi’s difficulty securing a place in the Giants’ senior squad in 2021, including the arrival of Jesse Hogan, who plays a similar role.
“When he came into the squad I just don’t think he managed to reach the level he would have liked,” he said.
“The Giants came in early to keep it, earlier in the year they wanted to extend it. We just decided to hold on until the opportune moment and wait until the end of the year. Then resume the discussion and try to move forward.
“There was never really a problem there other than waiting and seeing how the year is going.”
FORT DE DARCY (GEELONG)
Despite being under contract with the Cats for next season, ruckman Darcy Fort has been linked with a move to the Brisbane Lions.
The great man has only played eight games in his three seasons at the club, none of which were in 2021.
Lucas said there had been “some interest” from his rivals at Fort as he sought more consistent opportunities at the senior level.
“The reality is he’s under contract, so if Geelong says no (to a trade) then they say no,” he said.
“But if a club is open to a discussion elsewhere and it gives work for both sides, we are always looking to explore for the players.
“Rhys Stanley signed an overtime there, so we take a pragmatic look at that and make it clear that they’re happy with what he’s doing.
“Darcy hasn’t played a game this year for Geelong so you look around him and try to come up with some options to try and make the most of his career.”
ROARKE SMITH (WEST BULLDOGS)
Smith remains without a contract for 2022 despite establishing himself in the Bulldogs’ senior squad in their big final 2021 season, playing the AFL’s 13 best career games.
Lucas believes a new contract for the 25-year-old is not far off.
“We had very good discussions and discussions, they are still going on,” he said.
“(I’ve) spoken to (Dog List Boss) Sam Power a lot over the past month. I think we’ll have no problem sorting out Roarke in the next week or two.
DAVID ZAHARAKIS (ESSENDON)
The veteran Essendon was dismissed by the club after 223 AFL games but only six in 2021.
Lucas said Zaharakis had generated “some interest” but suggested he was realistic about the potential end of his career.
“I think ‘Zaka’ is open-minded. We are exploring with other clubs: is there an opportunity? And if there isn’t, that’s okay, ”he said.
“We’ve had discussions with clubs, (there’s) some interest, we’ll just see where it goes. (There is) certainly nothing defined yet, and if not, Zaka had been very reasonable for a long time.