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Thursday, October 12, 2017

AFL trade period 2017: Melbourne Demons in no rush to complete Harley Balic deal

Melbourne have much higher priorities than securing homesick youngster Harley Balic from Fremantle, but remain confident a deal will be struck later in the trade period.
The Demons this morning completed the acquisition of high-profile defender Jake Lever from Adelaide and are in talks with multiple clubs about off-loading utility player Jack Watts.
Balic took indefinite leave from Fremantle twice this year to deal with a personal issue and returned to Victoria for a period mid-season.
The 20-year-old requested a move back to his home State and has passed medical tests with the Demons.
Any draft picks Fremantle receive for Balic could be used in their bids to secure Nathan Wilson (Greater Western Sydney) and Brandon Matera (Gold Coast).
Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney thought a deal would be done closer to next Thursday’s trade deadline.
“We’re still having discussions with Fremantle at the moment,” he said.
“He’s a player that we’ve spoken to and Fremantle know that we’d be interested in him, but we’ll work through that as the trade period goes.
“We’ve probably got other priorities at the moment, both clubs. We’ll be able to move on that probably a bit later.”
Watts has been strongly linked to Port Adelaide and Sydney, while Geelong distanced themselves from the former No.1 draft pick this week after he had toured the Cats’ facilities for a second time.
Mahoney said Watts was yet to nominate a club of choice.
“There’s a few clubs interested in him and all those clubs are fully aware of what we’d expect if we were to trade Jack Watts,” Mahoney said.
“Hopefully something works out in the next little period.
“Don’t believe everything that gets said at different stages about clubs that are or aren’t interested.
“I think they get involved at different stages.”
Melbourne gave up two first-round draft picks – this year’s pick No.10 and their first pick next year – as well as a future fourth-round pick to secure Lever.
In return, they received 21-year-old defender Lever, Adelaide’s pick No.35 in this year’s draft and their third-round pick next year.
“Jake has been a player we’ve targeted as a priority during this trade period and this is a great outcome for us,” Mahoney said.
“Jake will have an immediate impact on our group – on field as an important member of our defence, but also off the field with his professionalism and competitiveness.
“With 56 games to his name, we see Jake as a long-term player at the Melbourne footy club.”
Lever joined Adelaide as the No.14 pick in the 2014 national draft and was part of the Crows’ grand final team this year.