Rival clubs believe in Fremantle forward ruck Rory Lobb will play for the Western Bulldogs next season, reports Jon Ralph of the Herald Sun.
Ahead of Brisbane’s showdown with the Bulldogs, Ralph delivered a trade wrap with breaking news about Lobb, Daniel McStay and Bailey Smith.
Lobb, who attempted to return to the GWS Giants in last year’s trading period, is said to be interested in returning to the East Coast.
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According to Ralph, the market expectation is that the needy Bulldogs will add Lobb through the trade, with the 29-year-old looking for a three-year $1.5 million deal.
Lobb has a 2023 contract which means he should be traded.
“Rivals now believe that Rory Lobb will reach the Western Bulldogs. He’s got a $750,000 deal with Fremantle next year,” Ralph told Fox Footy.
“It’s my understanding that he’s looking for a three-year deal for $1.5 million, and he wants to get that deal set in stone early on, so he can go back to Fremantle and say I’m a deal (exchange ) wants to close – which of course did not happen last year with the aborted trade to GWS.
“I think it would be a real surprise if someone outranked the Western Bulldogs in the market.”
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are expected to re-sign the star midfielder Bailey Smith on a two-year contract, through the financial terms are still to be worked out.
Smith is currently banned, first for a headbutt to Geelong’s Zach Tuohy and then after leaked videos involving illegal drugs, but will likely remain one of the AFL’s most salable properties and a promising midfielder.
“The Bailey Smith contract talks are going very well,” Ralph said on Fox Footy.
“They’re not right about the money yet, but I understand it’s going to be a two-year deal that will take him to six years with the Western Bulldogs.”
Meanwhile Lions ahead Daniel McStay looks “a certainty” according to Ralph to wear black and white in 2023.
The 27-year-old is strongly linked with Collingwood on a five-year deal worth $3 million.
“It won’t be made public until the free agency period, of course, but also the wider family appeal, he and his partner are both eager to return to Melbourne, and of course play at Collingwood,” Ralph said.
“It would be the first player to have really lost in terms of quality since Tom Rockliff and the go-home four or five.”
That matters in terms of the Lions’ top priority in the trading period: getting superstar father-son prospect Will Ashcroft, the current favorite for Pick 1 if available for each club.
If McStay goes through a free agency to the Magpies based on the contract discussed, the Lions will be given a first-round compensation pick — a worst-case pick at the end of the first round — giving them two in the top 20.
If Ashcroft receives a bid on Pick 1, both picks would be eaten by Brisbane matching it.
Therefore, just as Collingwood traded his future first-round pick in 2020, knowing it would match a bid for Nick Daicos in the 2021 draft, the Lions could be well placed to trade one of their 2022 first-round picks.
That would allow them to actually use it at its true value, add a player via trade and then match the bid with one pick in the first round and later selections.
“There are many opportunities for them. Should they go for a Jordan De Goey in free agency, do you go for a Taylor Walker, a replacement as key forward, a (Sam) Weideman, (Joel) Amartey type?” Ralph asked on Fox Footy.
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