Magpies consider young Giant for ruck role
Wanted: The Giant Jonathan Giles. Photo: Getty Images
MINDFUL of the burden on the ageing shoulders of veteran premiership ruck Darren Jolly, Collingwood has shown interest in out of contract Giant Jonathan Giles.
Giles is merely one of a number of ruck options for next year being explored by the Magpies, who will enter tonight's game with Jolly supported by a sore Chris Dawes and have been hurt by the loss of retired forward/ruck Leigh Brown this year.
Giles has been offered a two-year contract by the Giants, with an option for a third year. A former Port Adelaide discard - he spent four years on the Power list - he showed tremendous improvement this year and has some aptitude for playing forward, booting 18 goals in his 20 appearances as a ruckman. The Giants are still willing to acquire another ruckman, if necessary, and have significant room in their salary cap, with a tall back their other pressing need.
The Magpies want ruck support for Jolly, though they have high hopes for giant 208-centimetre youngster Jarrod Witts, whom they hope to begin playing some games next year.
Cameron Wood, overlooked for tonight's game, has been unable to consolidate himself as Jolly's back-up.
St Kilda, meanwhile, is a serious chance to snare young Gold Coast ruckman Tom Hickey, who is considering a move to Melbourne for personal reasons despite his Queensland origins.
The Saints, like Collingwood, have made recruiting a ruck a priority in the off-season and are understood to have offered Hickey a three-year contract.
The Saints also met with homecoming midfielder Josh Caddy, who is returning to Victoria after two years with the Suns and is meeting with a number of Victorian clubs. Caddy has had shoulder surgery and is on the radar of most Victorian clubs. Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Geelong, St Kilda and North Melbourne have all registered an interest.
The Suns want to retain Hickey, but have a plethora of emerging and talented talls - including Zac Smith, Charlie Dixon, Daniel Gorringe, with forwards Tom Lynch and Sam Day also capable of playing second ruck. Crow Kurt Tippett, another tall forward, remains the out-of-contract priority for the Suns who have to shed 10-12 players from their senior list.
While Hickey is a local from nearby Morningside, his girlfriend wishes to pursue an acting career in Melbourne.
The Saints are not the only club interested in Hickey, but have been the most aggressive in pursuing him.
The Saints' short-term recruiting priorities are for another ruckman to help Ben McEvoy and, if possible, for a strong key defender, but there appear to be more options for supporting McEvoy, who is an excellent mark but his lack of a leap means he can struggle to lay hands on the ball at bounces.
The Demons are also pursuing out- of-contract Collingwood wingman Sharrod Wellingham, who was coached by Mark Neeld when the Melbourne coach was coaching the Collingwood midfield.
Richmond appears likely to secure Crows forward Chris Knights, with Port Adelaide defender Troy Chaplin its major free-agent target. Chaplin could even receive a four-year contract from the Tigers, in the hope that Port will be reluctant to match it.