Essendon has lodged the paperwork to sign Kangaroo free agent Ben McKay on a six-year deal as well as his teammate Todd Goldstein after confirming talks had been held with Port Adelaide wingman Xavier Duursma.
Bombers list manager Adrian Dodoro says the arrivals of the experienced North Melbourne duo are imminent as he also expects Jade Gresham to be successfully signed from St Kilda as a free agent early this week.
Dodoro firmly denied that the Bombers had discussed trading powerful midfielder Dylan Shiel to the Saints as part of a trade for Gresham, calling the 30-year-old “very much a required player”.
It comes as Duursma looms as a fourth target for Essendon over the off-season, but Dodoro said the 23-year-old wingman was yet to request a trade.
“He hasn’t indicated (he wants to join Essendon) … we certainly have spoken to him, and we’ll just see how that plays out,” Dodoro told reporters on Monday.
Port Adelaide football boss Chris Davies said Duursma hadn’t requested a move.
“No request has come from Xavier’s side. If a player ends up wanting to move from our club then we have got a decision to make but right now that decision isn‘t presenting itself,” he said.
“We had a conversation with Xavier at the end of the year to align our expectations of him and also his position in the club. But from there it’s a discussion for the player.
“Does his perspective align with ours and if not there will be a discussion down the track.”
The outgoing list boss, who will be replaced by former West Coast player Matt Rosa in 2024, said he expected Gresham to join alongside McKay and Goldstein as a restricted free agent rather than in a trade.
“(Gresham) has certainly nominated us, and we’re just working through some details and hopefully we’ll have some paperwork in the next 24 hours I’d imagine,” he said.
“There is upside definitely in Jade … he’s not an Essendon player, so I’ve got to be mindful in pulling the cart before the horse.
“But look, he’s a talented player that plays half-forward, on-ball – it’s a need we’re looking to fill, so if we’re fortunate enough to get him, that would be great, but there’s a free agency process and they can match the bid at any point.”
Dodoro said there had been no discussion between Essendon and St Kilda about a potential move for Dylan Shiel, who was limited to 12 games after his season was derailed by a foot issue.
“No – I think Dylan is still very much a required Essendon player,” he said.
He said Essendon had lodged the paperwork to sign McKay and Goldstein on Monday morning, saying the latter’s form would determine how much senior football he plays in his 18th season.
“Goldy has still got the opportunity to play league footy – form will determine it. I don’t think anyone has got a right over the No. 1 ruck spot. IF he’s the best going around and in form, then he’ll get the opportunity,” Dodoro said.
Dodoro said Brad Scott’s preference to play two ruckmen had driven their push for Goldstein after the retirement of Andrew Phillips.
“What gives me confidence is that Brad likes to play two rucks, that’s the way he structures up each week, so it’s part of our DNA as a team that he likes to play two rucks,” he said.
“We just wanted to have a good ruck combination going forward, particularly an experienced ruckman because I think Todd will really help young (Nick) Bryan in running patterns, professionalism and what have you.”
He said Sam Draper’s groin surgery had been successful and he would be available to play in round 1 next year.