AFL: Bombers move could bring out best of Xavier Duursma

Xavier Duursma’s manager says a change of scenery could help him rediscover his impressive early career form as hopes remain of a trade to Essendon.

The Port Adelaide wingman has managed only 38 games in the last three seasons as his fellow 2018 first-round draftees Zak Butters and Connor Rozee have streaked ahead with their careers.

Duursma shone in his first season, playing 20 games and booting 11 goals as he finished ninth in Port Adelaide’s best and fairest, but has since found it tough to hold down a spot on the wing, as the Power preferred a mix of Miles Bergman, Travis Boak and Willem Drew for most of 2023.

Duursma’s manager David Trotter said injuries had prevented the 23-year-old from fulfilling the promise he showed in 2019, but he was excited by a potential opportunity at Essendon.

The wingman could be part of a trade to bring key defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher to Alberton from the Bombers.

Trotter poured cold water on suggestions Duursma wanted to join Essendon due to the promise of more midfield time.

“(Duursma) is contracted … Port have got a bit of power there in terms of if they want to keep him, they can keep him,” Trotter told AFL Trade Radio.

“There’s been talk of Xav saying, ‘I want to be a midfielder’, I think that’s not exactly the case.

“He knows with his strengths, his running and his outside game that that’s his role, but I think he probably can have more of an impact (at Essendon).”

Trotter said a deal was unlikely to be done “for a few days” but if completed would give Duursma a chance to regain fitness and settle into a more consistent role.

“His body has let him down a lot – we all remember in his first couple of years he burst on the scene, his running power, his aerial stuff, he was super tough probably at 70kg when he came in,” he said.

“We all haven’t seen that for the last year or two enough, and that’s just because of his body.

“I think he’s excited to have an impact on the club and get back to doing what he can do … if he has to go back, he’ll go back, but ideally he’ll end up at the Bombers.”

Trotter, who also manages Brisbane star Hugh McCluggage, said talks would soon begin on a new contract for the “pre-agent” to remain at the Lions.

“Hugh is really happy up there, one kick better he’d be a very happy man! Hughie traditionally in the two or three contracts he’s done hasn’t wanted to do them during the year,” he said.

“He’s really happy up there, I’m sure we’ll start talks, when that happens I don’t know.”

Another client, former Gold Coast top-10 pick Elijah Hollands, continues to eye a trade to Carlton but has been given no assurances a move will be made during the window.

Trotter called his chances of moving to join brother Ollie at the Blues “a reasonable chance”.

“He’ll be at one of the two clubs next year, it’s not like he’s trying to look around and see what’s out there,” he said.

“They’ve agreed to have a chat … it’ll probably be sit down over the weekend and have a chat.”

Trotter said he was confident a deal would be done between Hawthorn and Richmond for key forward Jacob Koschitzke, but the chances of key position utility Elliott Himmelberg joining his brother Harry at GWS had cooled significantly due to Mabior Chol choosing to join the Hawks over the Crows.

He said Adelaide being able to secure Harrison Petty from Melbourne could reopen the door for a deal to be done.

“I think if Chol did choose Adelaide, it would have been a reasonable chance to get done,” he said.

“If (Petty) did happen, it does open up. Elliott isn’t banging his fist on the table saying get me out of here, but he does have an opportunity there where there is a role.”

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