Geelong free agent Steven Motlop has declared Port Adelaide as his preferred new club from next season in a move that could impact other trades.
Motlop, 26, had been considering a major offer from Adelaide, and had twice met with Gold Coast, but confirmed on Friday that he hoped to continue his career with the Power and accept what is understood to be a four-year deal.
The Power lodged paperwork with the AFL, giving the Cats three days to consider whether they would match the offer for the restricted free agent. It’s almost certain the Cats won’t do that, ensuring they receive a compensation pick.
The Power have been active through the trade period, securing free-agent Tom Rockliff from the Brisbane Lions and allowing Jarman Impey to join the Hawks, and Jackson Trengove to join the Western Bulldogs.
Motlop’s move will give the Cats greater financial room to trade for Gary Ablett, and complete other deals. The Cats have twice met Melbourne’s Jack Watts, who is also weighing up an offer from the Power. Watts has left for an overseas holiday.
Watts was said to have been impressed with the Power’s pitch but his manager Paul Connors told Fairfax Media on Friday that his client had yet to nominate his club of choice amid reports he had chosen the Power.
The Motlop family has a rich history with the Power, for Steven’s brother Daniel played 83 games while his cousin Marlon also played five games.
Motlop played 135 games and booted 175 goals for the Cats, who are likely to get a second-round compensation pick. This pick could be used as part of another deal.
Compensation picks are tied to a club’s original draft pick and so would be after the Cats’ pick at 34 and not the earlier second-round pick the Cats have at 21 – a pick they received from Carlton as part of the Zach Tuohy deal last year.
AFL trades, free agency: paperwork
The decision by Motlop to choose the Power over a slightly superior financial offer from Adelaide is expected to impact the Crows’ thinking on a trade, allowing Charlie Cameron to join Brisbane. The contracted small forward had asked for a trade for family reasons.
The Lions have pick 19 in the national draft – compensation for Rockliff joining the Power – and that could still form part of an offer to the Crows. But Adelaide’s decision to trade or not to trade is likely to be influenced by Motlop’s decision.
The decision could also force the Crows into reconsidering their position on launching a bid to lure Bryce Gibbs from Carlton.
Crows list manager Justin Reid has been firm that the club was not pursuing Gibbs but that position was considered likely to be reviewed in light of moves made this week.
The Power are also open to ruckman Matthew Lobbe moving clubs despite having two years remaining on his contract.
Lobbe, denied opportunity because of Patrick Ryder’s emergence as a dominant ruckman, has managed only 25 matches in the past three years.
Lobbe met the Suns and Brisbane Lions in Melbourne on Friday.
Power football-department chief Chris Davies said the club would work with Lobbe to help him find greater opportunity elsewhere.
Jake Stringer remains in limbo, with the Western Bulldogs trying to come to terms with missing out on pick 11 from Essendon as part of a deal for their outcast forward.
Essendon are still eager to secure Stringer and will seek to do so by bundling together two second-round draft picks – either both from this year or one from next year’s draft – and possibly shifting around some picks later in the draft.
Given the Dogs were firm on receiving pick 11 for Stringer and rejected a strong offer from the Dons prior to them trading that pick as part of an exchange with GWS for Devon Smith, it would be a difficult offer to now accept from Essendon.
However, two second-round picks in the 20s might be able to be bundled together by the Bulldogs and on-traded to try to secure an earlier draft pick.
Essendon is likely to trade a future pick to Gold Coast for Adam Saad. His manager Marty Pask insisted on Friday that Saad would join the Bombers.
Carlton and the Giants remain in negotiations over inside midfielder Matt Kennedy but a deal has yet to be struck with other clubs retaining an interest if talks fail. A deal is expected to be done.