CHRIS Dawes decided from his US holiday yesterday that he wants to play for Melbourne next year, but Collingwood will dig its heels in before granting the key forward his wish.
The Magpies understood pick 13 to be on the table for their 24-year-old forward at the start of the trade period, before the Demons sent that pick to Greater Western Sydney for the rights to 17-year-old Jesse Hogan.
In that deal Melbourne collected pick 20, one better than what Dawes' second option, the Western Bulldogs, could offer as part of any trade for the Magpie, although a switch of later picks could also eventuate.
Collingwood plans to push ahead with a pre-planned meeting with the Dogs on Monday, but the Dawes camp is confident that while he is contracted for another two years, a deal will unfold without much angst.
Melbourne, which is also interested in St Kilda midfielder Farren Ray and North Melbourne's Cameron Pedersen, touched base with Collingwood last night.
Like many clubs, the Demons won't know exactly what they are working with until next Friday, when the AFL hands out compensation picks at the end of the free agency period.
Melbourne needs defender Jared Rivers to move on as a free agent - as is expected - to ensure it scores an extra draft pick, possibly at the end of the second round. Rivers is expected to join Geelong, which is trying to make room for him on the club's list.
Melbourne has lost midfielder Brent Moloney to the Brisbane Lions as a free agent but gained Cats forward Shannon Byrnes. Whether it receives compensation for Moloney will depend on the pair's new contracts.
Many clubs have gone into a holding pattern ahead of the free-agency deadline, waiting to see which draft picks they are left with. Dawes settled on Melbourne just ahead of the Bulldogs, having also met Carlton. He considered a late and impressive offer to move to Brisbane and play for the Lions. He first considered a move last week, after Collingwood signed Quinten Lynch as a free agent, placing his role for 2013 in question.
The law student was keen to stay in Melbourne, where his girlfriend is ensconced in her accounting job, and to work with Mitch Clark and Jeremy Howe in the Demons' forward line.
Melbourne list manager Tim Harrington said last night that the club would now work to facilitate a trade.
''Chris went through a very thorough process,'' said Dawes' manager Ben Niall. ''All the clubs we dealt with were terrific and open and transparent and it was a really difficult decision to make.
''Ultimately it came down to his opportunity to help lead and set standards, and he saw this opportunity at Melbourne as one that would allow him to keep developing his football, which is still a work in progress.''
Hawthorn defender Tom Murphy accepted an offer to join Gold Coast after playing 95 games in eight seasons at the Hawks. The Suns believe that Murphy, signed as an unrestricted free agent, will help support their young back line and bring leadership skills. Murphy left with the blessing of Hawthorn, where he was a popular team man but missed selection in the 2008 and 2012 grand final sides.
David Rodan and Jacob Surjan were among the seven players delisted by Port Adelaide yesterday. Mitch Banner and Simon Phillips were also cut, as well as rookies Mitch Curnow, Jarrad Irons and Daniel Webb.
The Power has some interest in rookie-listing Liam Jurrah, who quit Melbourne last month to move close to family in Adelaide, as well as former Port Adelaide player Stephen Gilham, who is considering his future at Hawthorn.
The story so far
Players picked up as trades or free agentsBRISBANE LIONS Brent Moloney signed as restricted free agent from Melbourne.
Quinten Lynch signed as unrestricted free agent from West Coast.
Brendon Goddard signed as restricted free agent from St Kilda.
Danyle Pearce signed as restricted free agent from Port Adelaide.
Josh Caddy traded from Gold Coast for a first-round compensation pick, and other picks to be finalised.
Tom Murphy signed as unrestricted free agent from Hawthorn.
Gained pick one in the 17-year-old mini-draft (Jack Martin) and end-of-round one compensation pick (expires 2015) from GWS for pick two and an end-of-first-round compensation pick (expires 2014).
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
Gained draft picks two and an end-of-round compensation pick (expires 2014) from Gold Coast for pick one in the 17-year-old mini-draft.
Gained picks three and 13 (losing pick 20) from Melbourne for second choice in the mini-draft.
Shannon Byrnes signed as unrestricted free agent from Geelong.
Gained pick two in the 17-year-old mini-draft (Jesse Hogan), a GWS zone player (Dom Barry) and pick 20 from GWS for picks 13 and 20.
Angus Monfries traded from Essendon for pick 48.
Chris Knights signed as unrestricted free agent from Adelaide.
Troy Chaplin signed as restricted free agent from Port Adelaide.
Tom Lee (pre-listed Claremont player) traded by GWS with pick 24 for picks 12 and 43.
WEST COAST Sharrod Wellingham traded from Collingwood for pick 17.
Pick numbers may change when the draft order is finalised after the trade period ends on October 26.