DISCARDED Western Bulldogs tall Jackson Trengove looms as a readymade ruck option for clubs when the delisted free agency window opens on Thursday.
Recruiters have lamented the dearth of back-up ruck depth this year which may provide the 30-year-old former Dog and Power big man a career lifeline.
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Trengove played just one game in 2020 before he was cut but could be seen as a free hit for clubs, just like former teammate Jordan Roughead who moved to Collingwood for next to nothing two years ago.
While he played in defence for most of his tenure at the Dogs, the 197cm Trengove can compete in the ruck as he proved in 2018.
Clubs are required to submit their first list lodgment on Wednesday after new list constraints were confirmed this week and maximum spots for clubs dropped from 47 to 44.
The first delisted free agency window runs from Thursday to Sunday.
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Axed West Coast premiership backman Lewis Jetta is another for clubs to consider, while Matt Scharenberg proved he has AFL qualities in an injury-riddled career at Collingwood.
Half-back Shane Savage will seek a third club after being released by St Kilda this week. The 29-year-old, who also played for the Hawks, was a call-up for the Saints’ semi-final loss to Richmond but it wasn’t enough to guarantee him another contract.
Essendon pair Marty Gleeson and Dylan Clarke and Carlton’s Matt Kennedy are among the players to have been delisted with the promise of being re-rookied by their respective clubs but are free to be picked up by a rival in the delisted free agency window.
Ex-Melbourne defender Oscar McDonald could walk straight into a key role in defence, while 29-year-old former Roo Majak Daw feels he has more to give.
Swingman Mason Wood is putting himself through an early pre-season in the hope of a recall after he was dumped following a 67-game stint at Arden Street.
Sam Skinner was cut by the Lions given their increased tall forward options and another club may see his upside, while Jonathon Marsh and Matthew Parker were squeezed out due to St Kilda’s depth of forwards.
Former first-round draft pick Jordan Gallucci is still only 22, James Parsons could provide extra midfield depth, while Kyle Dunkley has interest from Essendon after their failed attempt to lure brother Josh from the Dogs.
Heath Shaw is on the market but has received little interest to this point, while Jacob Townsend played 12 of 17 games this year at Essendon before he was delisted at Tullamarine.
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Four of the six delisted free agents to find new homes last year moved on the opening day of the window – Wylie Buzza, Jack Newnes, Kaiden Brand and Sam Gray.
There is a secondary list lodgment required on Monday, November 30 with another two-day delisted free agency window running December 1-2.
Those without homes still have the opportunity to be picked up in the NAB AFL Draft (December 9) or NAB AFL Rookie Draft (December 10) – such as Adelaide’s Ben Keays last year who had been cut by Brisbane.
Another option for those players who wish to move but are not yet delisted (such as Michael Hartley last year) is to sign the ‘Removal from list’ form and be snapped up in the NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft (December 10).
Finally, there is also the Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period which will open on January 6 when clubs return to training post-Christmas.
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Delisted players and those overlooked in the draft are eligible which often sees them added to summer training squads to provide list management teams greater insight into their potential.
Clubs wishing to sign a player in this period must have left a spot open following the Rookie Draft or move a current player to the long-term injury list.
Players to be selected in this period in the past include former Richmond forward Mav Weller (2019) and ex-Demon Harley Bennell (2020).
Mitch Cleary’s delisted 22
B: Marty Gleeson (Ess), Oscar McDonald (Melb), Matt Scharenberg (Coll)
HB: Shane Savage (STK), Majak Daw (NM), Lewis Jetta (WC)
C: Jordan Gallucci (Adel), Matt Kennedy (Carl), Ed Phillips (STK)
HF: Riley Knight (Adel), Jonathon Marsh (STK), Mason Wood (NM)
F: Jacob Townsend (Ess), Sam Skinner (Bris), Matthew Parker (STK)
R: Jackson Trengove (WB), James Parsons (Geel), Dylan Clarke (Ess)
I: Kyle Dunkley (Melb), Billy Gowers (WB), Heath Shaw (Coll), Matt Suckling (WB)
Players in limbo
More than 45 players remain without a decision on their future ahead of the first list lodgment on Wednesday.
Among them, Brisbane defender Ryan Lester – a lock in the Lions’ side this year – is chasing a two-year deal, while teammate Mitch Hinge remains unsigned. The departure of fellow half-back Alex Witherden could open up a spot for Hinge to remain on the list.
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At Geelong, Darcy Fort, Quinton Narkle, Brad Close and Lachie Henderson are working towards new deals, while Bomber James Stewart is in talks over a two-year extension.
Fremantle is expected to retain Lachie Schultz and Brett Bewley who were both key contributors this season, but Bailey Banfield is still playing the waiting game.
Meantime, Greater Western Sydney will re-contract Daniel Lloyd and Sam Reid.
Melbourne has re-signed a number of players it is yet to make public including Mitch Brown, Jay Lockhart, Kade Chandler and James Jordon.
Clubs in need of a small forward will be keeping an eye on Sydney pair Ben Ronke and Zac Foot, while Robbie Fox is still without a deal despite playing 14 of 17 games this year.
St Kilda is working towards a new deal with Jack Lonie, while at West Coast Tom Hickey’s departure should provide Nathan Vardy another deal.
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However, Brendon Ah Chee is still unsigned after missing only two games through injury in 2020. The Eagles are working through details with how to keep Daniel Venables on their list after missing the entire campaign with concussion.
Others without deals include: Flynn Appleby, Rupert Wills (Collingwood), Zach Guthrie, Ben Jarvis (Geelong), Zach Sproule (GWS), Keegan Brooksby, Changkuoth Jiath, Harrison Jones, Dylan Moore (Hawthorn), Toby Bedford (Melbourne), Ed Vickers-Willis, Will Walker (North Melbourne), Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, Ryan Garthwaite (Richmond), Oscar Clavarino, Hayden McLean, Brayden Ainsworth, Mark Hutchings (West Coast), Ben Cavarra, Will Hayes, Roarke Smith (Western Bulldogs).