Cats set to pounce on Demon, Roo
North Melbourne's Hamish McIntosh. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
GEELONG has emerged as a major off-season player, having met yesterday with Melbourne's Jared Rivers and exploring the possibility of securing North's Hamish McIntosh.
The Cats are also believed to be front runners for homecoming Gold Coast midfielder Josh Caddy with a Gary Ablett compensation pick on the table in talks with the Suns.
The moves came as the first and most crucial domino for this trade period fell yesterday, with Travis Cloke - finally - signing a new deal to stay at Collingwood days before the free agency and exchange period begins.
Cloke eventually got the five-year contract he craved after the club agreed to terms on a new five-year contract, the fifth year of which is conditional on the 25-year-old power forward satisfying a range of trigger points.
The Cloke decision not to renew acquaintance with Michael Malthouse, nor dock in Fremantle, has ramifications across the league.
Out of contract West Coast key forward/ruck Quinten Lynch is due to meet with two Melbourne clubs today - one of which is Carlton, still keen for a key forward after missing out on Cloke.
Melbourne's free agent Rivers met with Geelong yesterday as the Cats explore options after the retirement of Matthew Scarlett.
Geelong is also pursuing McIntosh, who has been overtaken in the pecking order at Arden Street by Todd Goldstein. McIntosh has had two Achilles injuries and the Cats are planning to have him physically examined as part of their due diligence before making a decision on whether to negotiate a trade.
The Magpies had also expressed interest in Rivers after Chris Tarrant's retirement but are limited for movement by the tight salary cap due to Cloke re-signing. Fellow premiership player Harry O'Brien also penned a new two-year deal yesterday.
Those signings mean Tyson Goldsack, Andrew Krakouer and Sharrod Wellingham of the senior group remain unsigned. A new contract for Goldsack is expected soon and Krakouer will be offered a new one-year deal. Wellingham has been offered a new contract but Melbourne is believed to be prepared to offer superior terms for a three-year deal, with Mark Neeld, who coached Wellingham when midfield coach at Collingwood, interested in luring the quick midfielder.
St Kilda's Brendon Goddard appears to be edging towards a shift to Windy Hill where a four-year deal is expected to be tabled next week. St Kilda is believed to be unlikely or unwilling to agree to match a four-year deal.
St Kilda could yet enter the market for Caddy if Goddard were to go to Essendon and the Saints secured a first-round draft pick as compensation, which they could pass on to the Suns.
The saga of the Cloke deal finally came to an end yesterday after two days of post-season talks had put to an end the year of agonised negotiations.
The contract talks had been put off midyear after it became clear the pressure that was mounting on Cloke from the public nature of the negotiations was having an effect on the players and club.
It is understood the deal signed yesterday was substantively similar to the deal that was on offer three months ago.
The Cloke family's strong line in insisting on a fifth year has been rewarded with the deal including that extra season but it is conditional on his form and fitness as measured by a range of trigger points.
''The final year is not unencumbered. There are conditions that will remain a matter for Collingwood and Travis, but clearly both parties are comfortable with them,'' Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh said.
Cloke played all of the club's 25 games this year - for 174 in eight years - and kicked 59 goals after booting 69 last year.
He has been leading goalkicker in each season and the leading contested and proven himself in the elite of power forwards having led the competition in contested marks for two years.
''I think it's also a reflection of Travis' regard for Collingwood … clearly he's prepared to make Collingwood his football home.''