Future of unsigned free agents unclear

Geelong's George Horlin-Smith is the only unsigned free agent certain to change clubs after the door shut on the 2018 free agency period on Friday.

Coast to coast: Geelong's George Horlin-Smith is off to the Suns.

Coast to coast: Geelong's George Horlin-Smith is off to the Suns.Credit:Pat Scala

The popular Horlin-Smith, who won the Cats' best clubman award last Thursday night, is set to join Gold Coast; however, the Suns are likely to trade for him rather than sign him as a free agent in order to protect the compensation they received when they lost Tom Lynch to Richmond.

Jordan Roughead remained in limbo after West Coast decided they would not recruit him to replace premiership ruckman Scott Lycett, opting instead to secure St Kilda's Tom Hickey.

The Bulldogs premiership player was still likely to find a new home, but his destination remained uncertain on Friday.

Collingwood is expected to stick with Tyson Goldsack after he made a miraculous return from a knee reconstruction to play finals, while premiership forward Jarryd Blair was still some chance of being picked up late in the trade period or as a delisted free agent.


Geelong's Dan Menzel has struggled to attract the two-year deal his management is seeking, despite his status as one of the game's most gifted goalkickers, and it remains unclear whether the Cats will make him an offer as they are happy at the moment to wait and see whether he finds any suitors.

Tom Liberatore is almost certain to remain a Bulldog, while premiership Eagle Mark LeCras is weighing up his future after his season culminated in a flag.

Popular Hawks Ryan Schoenmakers and Brendan Whitecross are both waiting to see what eventuates in the player movement period, although Schoenmakers appears more likely to remain with Hawthorn than Whitecross, who helped the Box Hill Hawks to the VFL premiership in 2018.

Richmond's Lynch, Fremantle's Reece Conca, Port Adelaide's Lycett, Geelong's Luke Dahlhaus and Carlton's Alex Fasolo were the only free agents to change clubs during this year's free agency period.

Peter Ryan joined The Age in 2017 having covered AFL as a senior reporter with AFL Media.

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