Play made for Saints ruck; Hawks to swoop on Bombers defender: Trade Whispers

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Essendon have reportedly launched an “ambitious” play for an out-of-contract St Kilda big man.

According to 7NEWS, the cashed up Bombers are desperate to add another ruckman/key forward to help 23-year-old Sam Draper.

And their sights are set on Saints ruckman Rowan Marshall.

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“This is ambitious, a little trade war between the Saints and the Bombers,” Tom Browne reported.

“Essendon has made official enquiries on Saints ruckman Rowan Marshall; Marshall is out of contract, Essendon have a lot of salary cap space. They could offer big money.

“They also need another ruckman and key forward. It is a Bombers’ priority at the moment.”

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But Browne said Marshall is “very happy” at the Saints, and warned Essendon would “probably have to give up too much” to lure the 26-year-old away.

Marshall has played 71 games for the Saints since arriving at the end of 2016.

Hawthorn has reportedly set its sights on an out-of-contract Essendon defender for 2023 and beyond.

Just hours after the Bombers announced a new deal for West Aussie pre-season recruit Nic Martin until the end of 2024, 7NEWS reports Hawthorn are circling Kyle Langford.

“Kyle Langford enters free agency this year after finishing top 10 in the past two best and fairests as a forward and a midfielder,” 7NEWS’ Mitch Cleary said.

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“While he is happy at the Bombers, Hawthorn has set its sights on the 25-year-old to target a gap in their age demographic.”

Essendon have a number of big names coming out of contract at the end of 2022, including Dyson Heppell, Andy McGrath and Michael Hurley.

According to Cleary, McGrath is “yet to open talks” with Essendon about a new deal, while Hurley hasn’t played since 2020 due to serious complications from a hip infection.

Also out of contract are Nik Cox, Matt Guelfi, Alec Waterman, Andrew Phillips, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Archie Perkins and Zach Reid.

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The Mid-Season draft loophole that allowed Hawthorn to snap up Jai Newcombe with pick two has now been closed.

Theage reports the AFL has put an end to players nominating draft terms for the Mid-Season draft – as Newcombe did in 2021.

Newcombe had nominated financial terms for a second year if he were to be snapped up in the Mid-Season Draft.

Those terms were reportedly higher than the standard amount for a second-year rookie.

Under AFL rules, players who have not been on an AFL list are not permitted to nominate draft terms in the National Draft – but that did not include the Mid-Season draft.

Now, the closure of the terms loophole means the rules are now the same for all three drafts – National, Mid-Season and Rookie.