As each year
rolls around, AFL trade week sees brinkmanship in player trades and contract
renewals becoming more sophisticated as clubs try to play hard
ball on new deals and players and their agents resist being squeezed.

Undoubtedly the
biggest name being touted for a possible trade in next week’s meat
market is Brisbane’s midfield champ Luke Power, who – if team mate
Jason Akermanis has the right mail – is keen to return to his home
town of Melbourne, with Collingwood leading the chasing
pack. But he’s just one of an unusually
large number of big name players currently in the mix.

Lance Whitnall
believes Carlton’s currently tabled salary haircut is too
severe, and has the comfort of knowing any number of clubs will happily pay him
considerably more to leave.

Surprisingly, Hawthorn
ruckman Peter “Spida” Everitt, currently enjoying career best form in his twilight years,
fancies a move to Sydney to help Darren Jolly fill the void left by the
retiring Jason Ball. He’s also a proven
media performer which would also be a decided asset for the Swans – and he
might just get to share in that premiership feeling in 2006.

The Kangaroos are hoping they can cut a deal
for another required Hawk, full-back Jonathan Hay, and of course there’s still
the dubious prospect of club champion Shane Crawford leaving Hawthorn,
all of which suggests worrying signs for coach Alastair Clarkson. Another emerging dispute involves West Coast
needing to upgrade its offer to gun defender David Wirripunda.

Each year there’s no shortage of big names in dispute
with their clubs
over money or length of contract, but more often than not the trade week
wheeling and dealing sees the big names staying put. Still, this might
just
be the year when the mould is broken and some big name deals will
actually get
brokered.

Peter Fray

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