Geelong are weighing up whether to pursue Sydney utility Gary Rohan and have communicated their interest to the Swans.
The Cats have been in contact with Rohan’s management, although they have not yet spoken to the player, as they consider their options for trading and the draft.
It is unclear what the Cats would have to give up for Rohan, who is contracted until the end of 2020 but is considering a return to Victoria, if they decide to go ahead and acquire Rohan, who played for the Geelong Falcons in the under 18s prior to being drafted in the first round of the 2009 national draft.
Assuming Rohan could be traded for a draft pick, one benefit for the Swans would be that they open up some room in what has been a perennially tight salary cap. Their total player payments are expected to be improved markedly if, as seems likely, Dan Hannebery is traded to St Kilda on a long-term deal. Hannebery is among the highest-paid players at Sydney and contracted for another three seasons.
Should Rohan join Hannebery in leaving Sydney, the Swans might then have enough room a needs-based acquisition — a luxury that they haven’t enjoyed since Lance Franklin arrived on a huge deal and the club lost its cost of living allowance and was barred from trading by the AFL in 2014. They have been interested in Collingwood’s Darcy Moore, who is out of contract, with the Pies having had a two-year deal on the table since early this year.
Geelong are expected to land Western Bulldogs’ midfielder Luke Dahlhaus as an unrestricted free agent on a four-year deal.
Geelong’s stance on Rohan is likely to be shaped, not only by the draft cost, but also the position the Cats take on whether they need to renew their list via the draft with young talent, or if they wish to continue to mix drafting with trading.
Geelong hold pick 11 in the draft, but do not have a second-round pick, having traded that to the Suns for Gary Ablett. The Cats have two third-round picks — their own and Richmond’s (part of the Josh Caddy deal) and Gold Coast’s fourth-rounder (Ablett trade).
Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said on Monday that the Cats would consider changing their list-management strategy, as they analysed their position in the wake of a disappointing elimination final loss.
‘‘We have to decide whether we continue to do both [trade and draft] or err on the side of one more than the other, or go back to simply drafting kids,’’ Cook told SEN.