ST KILDA and West Coast spoke late last week for the first time in days. It was a short conversation.
The Eagles' Mitch Brown was still off the table, so talks ended there.
This sort of trade brinkmanship suggests that no matter how long this interminably long trade period has been made, it could be made another month longer and still this deal might only happen at the last minute, if at all.
Make it a one-week or three-month trade period, it would be the same.
As such, Jamie Cripps, out of contract at St Kilda and wanting to go home to Perth, stands poised to be released by the Saints to the mercy of the draft, and hopes to wriggle his way down the order to a West Coast pick.
Brown stands poised to have to turn down an offer that would have earned him a decent pay rise for the next four years and the certainty of playing regular senior football next year back home in Victoria. But these are the risks. These players are not free agents - and in Brown's case not even free of contracts.
St Kilda and West Coast remain comfortable with their approach.
The Eagles offered pick 40 for Koby Stevens, as a trade for Cripps, before the official trading period began. The Saints wanted Stevens, but not for Cripps. The only player they wanted for Cripps was Brown.
The Eagles remain of the view that Brown is contracted and needed as the heir to Darren Glass and the back-up next year if one of their three other tall defenders ahead of him in the pecking order breaks down. Besides, were they to put him on the market they figure they would be offered more in a trade than Cripps.
St Kilda did not want to lose Cripps and figured if it was going to be unable to stop him then the only way it was prepared to help him get where he wanted was the get it wanted - Brown.
Meanwhile, Stevens nominated the Bulldogs as the club he wants the Eagles to trade him to. So far the clubs have not advanced far on those talks. The Eagles want pick 44 for him but the Dogs only want to give up pick 51.
The Saints are likely to be involved in at least another trade before Friday's deadline, with Farren Ray likely to be traded to Melbourne.
The Demons are also likely to secure North Melbourne's Cameron Pedersen. North was eager to obtain a better draft pick for Pedersen than Melbourne had offered - the pick 49 the Demons had received for Jared Rivers - as part of the exchange.
North received pick 39 for Hamish McIntosh and either that, or its pick 38, will likely be needed for Ben Jacobs from Port Adelaide.
The Kurt Tippett deal looked close to being done late last week before a delay complicated by the Angus Graham trade. Sydney's Jesse White is still understood to be wanted by the Crows.