Dockers have big Bomber on radar
Essendon forward Scott Gumbleton is likely to become a trade target for Fremantle as they contemplate the likelihood that Collingwood’s Travis Cloke will reject their free agency overtures.
Gumbleton, 24, has been offered a one-year contract by Essendon but finds himself a long way back in the tall forward pecking order, with highly-rated teenager Joe Daniher set to join Michael Hurley, Stewart Crameri and Paddy Ryder at the club next season.
The Dockers are looking to bolster their tall stocks at either end of the ground because skipper Matthew Pavlich and power defender Luke McPharlin will turn 31 at the end of this year.
Cloke and Collingwood broke off contract talks two-thirds of the way through the season, deadlocked on the club’s four-year $750,000-a-year offer.
But if Cloke does leave Collingwood he is expected to follow former coach Mick Malthouse to Carlton.
Fremantle are expected to try to trade for boom Claremont colts power forward Jesse Hogan under the Greater Western Sydney mini draft, which enables the Giants to trade two of the best players in the country born between January 1 and April 30 in 1995 to the highest bidder.
But Gumbleton has the potential to be a ready-made support to Pavlich, provided his suspect body holds up.
The Peel Thunder product, the second player taken at the 2006 national draft, has been dogged by hamstring, back and hip problems, but his body appeared to stabilise in the second half of this season after surgery.
The 197cm Gumbleton has played just 28 games, missing the entire 2008, 2009 and 2011 seasons.
He managed 19 goals in 17 games in 2010, and 11 goals in six games this year when he returned from surgery, including hauls of three against Port Adelaide in round 16 and four against Hawthorn in round 18.
The Dockers are also expected to move in the next week to offer defender Adam McPhee a new deal after his strong form in 2012.
·West Coast have re-signed four players, including veteran and 2006 Norm Smith medallist Andrew Embley to a one-year contract.
The others players, Brad Sheppard, Patrick McGinnity and Jacob Brennan, have accepted two-year deals.
Embley, 31, and coming off a season interrupted by shoulder surgery, told the club’s website that it made sense to review his playing future annually.
“It is nice to have the contract extended for 12 months,” Embley said.
“Because I missed so much footy this year, my body is feeling quite fresh.
“I will take a break for a few weeks then get back into a running program and start to prepare for next year.”
The future of veteran forward Quinten Lynch will be clearer after the weekend.
Lynch has been offered a one-year deal and will have talks with his manager Colin Young today.