Scott Gumbleton. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
IT WAS a trip to meet the family of the man-boy the club hopes will eventually play centre half-forward for a decade, but while in Perth coach Mark Neeld investigated the idea of a player who might help Melbourne in the shorter term.
The Demons coach met yesterday with out-of-contract Essendon forward Scott Gumbleton after meeting with recruit Jesse Hogan, 17. Gumbleton would be a potential reserve option for Melbourne in the event the Demons were unsuccessful in attracting Collingwood forward Chris Dawes to the club.
Gumbleton has not had excessive interest in him from other clubs and may yet stay at Windy Hill.
For the sake of due diligence, Melbourne met with Gumbleton while it remains uncertain of Dawes' intentions. The Western Bulldogs are understood to have made a strong bid for the Collingwood forward and relief ruckman.
The Demons, who may lose Jared Rivers through free agency, are also expected to land contracted North Melbourne tall Cameron Pedersen sooner rather than later, possibly for a second-round pick.
Dawes is choosing between three clubs - Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and Carlton - with all three having made presentations and offers in recent days. Dawes is understood to prefer Carlton, given it is the side with a list most in contention and likely to play finals, and he obviously knows coach Mick Malthouse.
But getting to Carlton is the most difficult of the three clubs, given the Blues have admitted they would need to move players out in order to bring Dawes in, and so any move there would have to wait until other deals were done.
Melbourne, with pick 20, and the Western Bulldogs (No. 21) both have draft selections that should be able to get a deal done and both clubs have room in their salary caps to bring him in.
The Bulldogs are understood to be the most likely club at this stage.
A decision on which club he wants to be traded to is expected to be made soon, possibly by tomorrow, with the trade to be negotiated after that.