Motlop to Freo?
Port Adelaide forward Daniel Motlop to Fremantle – Power defender Chad Cornes to Hawthorn. And West Coast ruckman Dean Cox to the highest bidder.
But Cox will not go to the financially strapped Port Adelaide – regardless of its needs to find a support act for Dean Brogan while developing its young ruckmen.
The trade winds are blowing early as AFL clubs are compelled to fill gaps in their lists away from the draft that is compromised with the advent of expansion clubs Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney in the next three years.
And the Power – with Motlop and Cornes appearing out of the frame in the new era at Alberton – is the early headline grabber of the extended, eight-day AFL trade period that begins on October 4.
Motlop, 28, and Cornes, 30, are on contract to Port in 2011.
Motlop will return to football – after serving a two-match suspension – but in the SANFL with North Adelaide rather than in the Power’s away clash with St Kilda.
His short-term future at Alberton is based on earning his recall to the AFL by finding form in the SANFL.
His long-term future is far more complicated, considering his off-field issues. His six-year-old son, Jesse, is living in Perth, increasing the prospect of a compassionate trade in line with ruckman Darren Jolly’s move from Sydney Swans to Collingwood for family reasons.
For Port on Tuesday, only the short-term question was relevant.
“Before Daniel was suspended,” Power football operations chief Peter Rohde said referring to Motlop’s ban for bumping Western Bulldogs forward Shaun Higgins in Darwin, “he was going back to the SANFL.
“That’s where he has to get some form to get back in our team.”
Cornes, who is recuperating from finger surgery, will not play in the AFL again in 2010.
Outside Alberton, Cornes is being linked to a trade to Hawthorn in a repeat of the Stuart Dew play that gave the Hawks a key component in their 2008 premiership squad.
Hawthorn’s sales pitch is to suggest to Cornes he will have greater opportunity to command a role in the Hawks’ defence than in the remodelled Power back six where Alipate Carlile, Troy Chaplin, Paul Stewart and Nick Salter are forming the “new era” look.
“Put that in the unlikely basket,” Rohde said of Cornes joining the pathway to Hawthorn created by former Power players Stephen Gilham, Dew and Shaun Burgoyne.
“Chad is contracted to play with us next season and that is where we expect that to stay.”
West Coast are creating trade winds with the expectation it will unload Cox, 29, in a bold bid to grab draft picks to rebuild the Eagles.
Immediately there is the notion that Port is cashed up in their salary cap and eager for a mature ruckman to buy more time in the development of Matthew Lobbe, Jarrad Redden and rookie-listed basketball convert Daniel Bass.
But room in the salary cap has to be measured against the Power’s financial challenges. Again, Port will not be able to work to 100 per cent of their salary cap.
Departed coach Mark Williams’ push for Port to spend $1 million to lure Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich home will not happen. Not only is the Power without the money, Pavlich is ready to commit to the Dockers.
The Power’s new era plan – which has to be matched with a new coach – is to work the Gold Coast concept without a Gary Ablett and without big salaries.
This is to rely on the development of young players and, as Gold Coast is to promote, having the fans “join the journey” to creating a premiership squad.
This concept will demand a specific coach. While caretaker coach Matthew Primus remains the leading candidate, Essendon assistant coach and former Collingwood player Adam Richardson is a major contender because of his fine reputation in player development.
Port’s first round of interviews – which will involve psychological testing – are to unfold in the coming weeks with at least 10 hand-picked candidates.
The Power intend to name their coach for season 2011 and beyond by the end of September.