Andrew Walker, Bryce Gibbs, David Mundy and James Frawley have all been linked in early free agency rumours. And whilst most free agency rumours lack substance at this time of the year, these rumours seem logical.
Hawthorn and Collingwood look to be the two biggest buyers on the market at the end of this year. Both clubs have been ‘destination’ targets for moving players over the past few years, with big names like Josh Gibson, Shaun Burgoyne, Taylor Adams and Darren Jolly backing that up.
The biggest news comes with Fremantle star David Mundy. History remains on Fremantle’s side, as Mundy has stayed with the Dockers, despite previous chases from Essendon. With the ‘purple haze’ so close to a premiership, it’s tough to see him wanting to leave.
Yet his form warrants more money than he could command at Fremantle. Hawthorn has a truckload of cash ready to spend after losing Lance Franklin, while also holding the promise of glory. Collingwood also looms as a potential option for Mundy, as they are reportedly chasing hard for him. With Dane Swan coming close to the end of his career, Collingwood needs another midfield star, especially after losing Dale Thomas.
Andrew Walker has also been linked to Hawthorn. The utility could slot into Jack Gunston’s former agile third tall role as the former Crow steps up to take over Franklin’s role. That role would certainly appeal more to Walker, as the Hawks already have Grant Birchall and Matthew Suckling playing the rebounding roles.
The Blues look to be in trouble this year, with seven of their stars out of contract. Captain Marc Murphy doesn’t look like he’ll move, but that may squeeze out former number one pick, Bryce Gibbs. The South Australian is being linked with a move to the Crows. Adelaide has been linked with Gibbs for several months.
Adelaide looked to snare Gibbs as a father-son draft pick in 2006, but his father Ross hadn’t played enough games in the SANFL prior to Adelaide’s entry into the AFL to make him eligible. The Crows will be looking to lure more talent from the Blues through Gibbs, after recruiting Eddie Betts as a free agent last year.
Yet again, Melbourne looks likely to lose another talented player to free agency. With Colin Sylvia, Jared Rivers and Brent Moloney all swapping clubs in the past two years, Melbourne must throw everything at former All-Australian Frawley. A chance at success could lure him to Fremantle, although they might not have quite enough money to match what he could get at somewhere like St Kilda.