Essendon and Port Adelaide are vying to secure veteran former Demons ruckman Mark Jamar as a top-up player for this season.
Unable to regularly make lowly Melbourne's best team last year, managing just the five matches, the 32-year-old former All-Australian is being pursued by both clubs in need of ruck support. Jamar is already working at Essendon as a part-time ruck coach.
Port Adelaide, like St Kilda, have applied to the AFL to be given the same right as Essendon to contract top-up players to compensate for those lost to the 'Essendon 34' year-long doping suspension.
The AFL has asked all clubs for their feedback on allowing affected clubs other than Essendon to be given special consideration. The clubs are expected to give a response by early next week.
Port have lost Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries because of the doping suspensions for this year. Monfries had been traded to Port before the doping scandal broke but Ryder was recruited from Essendon while the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority investigation was going on and while there was the real possibility of suspensions.
Other clubs have privately argued that, in the case of Ryder, Jake Carlisle at St Kilda and Stewart Crameri at the Bulldogs it was a case of buyer beware and they knew the risk of suspension when they recruited the players.
Port would argue this argument could not apply to Monfries but that regardless both players should be able to be replaced.
Should Jamar opt to sign to play for the Bombers next year he would be the first tall player recruited to fill the 10 top-up positions Essendon have been allocated.
Essendon confirmed on Friday former Geelong forward and midfielder Matthew Stokes had signed, joining his former premiership teammate James Kelly and former Brisbane Lion James Polkinghorne.
The Bombers have already signed former Docker Ryan Crowley, Hawk Jonathan Simpkin and Matty Dea from Richmond.
Essendon are restricted to signing only one player per club from the VFL but, as recently retired players not on the lists at another club, that does not apply to Stokes and Kelly.