Twist in chase for ‘wild’ AFL talent
ESSENDON has "roared back into contention" for outgoing Sun Jack Martin, reports the Herald Sun's Jon Ralph.
Martin, out of contract, on Tuesday officially requested Gold Coast to trade him to a Victorian-based club.
His departure looked inevitable after form and injury issues restricted him to just 16 games in 2019, with the midfielder dropped for the Suns' Round 21 game and failing to return before season's end.
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Carlton and the Western Bulldogs were believed to be among the leading suitors for Martin, but Ralph suggested Essendon - the team that showed great interest in him 12 months ago - was not just back in the race, but arguably leading it.
"Here's the surprise: The Essendon Football Club has roared back into contention for Jack Martin," Ralph told Fox Sports News' AFL Tonight.
"They were the club that were linked to him last year (but) they just couldn't get him because of the Dylan Shiel selection. Didn't have picks, didn't have salary cap.
"But I understand today that as much as the Bulldogs and Carlton believed they were the two suitors, Essendon has been in the background and they are absolutely clear they want in."
While the Bombers loom as an attractive proposition, securing a deal with the Suns for Martin, however, remains somewhat of a hurdle.
Essendon has Picks 29 and 31 at this stage, but Ralph said salary cap space could be the bigger issue - which is why Ralph said any potential trade involving Joe Daniher could prove beneficial for a Martin deal.
"He was really keen to get to Essendon - and no other club (last year)," Ralph said of Martin.
"Imagine Orazio Fantastia, Jake Stringer and this bloke - a wild talent, even if hasn't lived up to the hype - (in the same forward line)."
GUN WINGMAN 'MELBOURNE-BOUND OFFICIALLY'
There's ample good trade developments for the Demons, with Docker Ed Langdon "Melbourne-bound officially" and veteran Nathan Jones "not far away" from signing a new deal.
Langdon, arguably Fremantle's most improved player in 2019, has been linked with a move to a Victorian-based club for many months.
Ralph declared he was set to sign with the Demons once the trade period commenced.
"Ed Langdon is Melbourne-bound, officially. There is an in-principle agreement that they will get that done," Ralph said.
"They (Melbourne) have got picks 2, 20 and 38 and they could split that first pick. If you gave up pick 18 that's about right.
"He skipped Mad Monday, he's in Melbourne - he will get to Melbourne."
And with the Dees set to bring in gun wingman Langdon, they're also set to retain the services of co-captain Jones.
Despite suggestions Jones' career in red and blue was delicately placed after the Demons' initial contract offer was lower than expected, his manager Tom Petroro said a new deal was "not far away".
"I've been in constant dialogue with Tim Lamb the list manager, Josh Mahoney the football manager. There's been stuff we've needed to work through from a whole club perspective and we're getting a lot closer," Petroro said.
"I'm quite confident we'll be in a position to announce something over the next few weeks."
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