Flying straight: Essendon coach James Hird and chief executive Ian Robson yesterday. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
THE AFL's investigator will determine if alleged talks about a potential third-party deal to lure Brendon Goddard to Essendon between the club and its former chairman needs further examination.
The Bombers snared Goddard in a four-year-deal believed to be worth $2.9 million on Monday, the first day of the AFL's first free agency period.
Former club chairman Ray Horsburgh is reported to have said he told Essendon he would give Goddard a job as it moved to lure the Saints star. Horsburgh is chairman of transport company Toll.
Essendon chief executive Ian Robson said the claims made in the Herald Sun were wrong and the club had followed the free agency process to the ''letter of the law''.
Under free agency rules a club is banned from enticing a rival player with third-party arrangements.
Robson said he had spoken with Horsburgh yesterday, but declined to reveal what was said. ''I can tell you that the process that we followed was very, very tight and it did not involve contact, communication, financial assistance in any way from a third party,'' Robson said.
''Obviously we're proud of the outcome but we're also proud of the tight manner in which we've gone about it. We would like to think that we have demonstrated complete respect for [Goddard and St Kilda].''
The AFL said investigations officer Ken Wood would decide if the matter needed further examination.
Goddard will meet Essendon teammates at an altitude training camp in Colorado next month.
Coach James Hird was confident the 27-year-old's signing would not push out any players at Windy Hill.
Essendon still has six free agents on its list who are yet to re-sign. Among them is Angus Monfries, who has been linked to a four-year deal with Port Adelaide.
Hird said he hoped Monfries would stay with Essendon and the club had given him an offer the coach believed was ''respectful''.
''We've had a lot of conversations with Gus, there's obviously a club out there that's pretty keen on him and he'll make a decision obviously in the next 10 days,'' Hird said. ''We'd love Angus to stay. He is a really valued member of our team and a very good team man.''
Goddard has been hailed as Essendon's biggest signing in 40 years, with the Bombers usually quiet in the October trade period.
Hird said the club had not changed its recruiting philosophy. ''We haven't made a decision to change. You look at opportunity. It's the value of a deal, really,'' he said.
''You look at what you've got to give up and what you get. We don't want to give up a lot of our own players, we think we are developing them in the right way. Obviously, in [Goddard's] case we didn't have to give up anything. It's a deal that comes with good things for us, we don't have to give anything up and St Kilda should get very well compensated with a first-round pick.
''I hope they get the best pick possible because Brendon Goddard is an outstanding player and then both clubs could walk away winners.''
Hird declined to weigh in on suggestions from St Kilda coach Scott Watters that Goddard's move to Windy Hill was all about money.
''What I do know is Brendon has come for opportunity and he's come to part of a successful team. I'm not saying St Kilda won't be that or can't be that, but that's what we've talked about,'' Hird said.