Geelong and Essendon have reinforced their interest in potential recruit Jack Bowes, who would come packaged with pick No.7 as part of a deal with Gold Coast.
Bowes has two years remaining on a heavily-backended contract, with the Suns looking to offload his salary by trading him out alongside a lucrative draft selection.
Several Victorian clubs have expressed interest in the 24-year-old, but the Cats and Bombers loom large as potential destinations for Bowes, who would play a midfield role at his new club and is set to decide on his future within the next 24-48 hours.
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Jason Horne-Francis requests trade | 00:48
Cats list manager Andrew Mackie said the club’s interest in Bowes went back well before this trade period, with Gary Ablett Jr flagging Bowes’ potential during his second stint at Geelong, which ended at the end of 2020.
“We’ve met with him, he’s a ripping kid. We feel like he’d be a great fit for us,” Mackie said.
“Hopefully in the next couple of days we know more, but we’ve interested in Jack for a long time – we’ve known about him for a long time, clearly since his draft year.
“We had some good intel off Gary Ablett when he came back and you track guys who aren’t playing or getting experience in the AFL side. Clearly through this year we’ve been wanting to add to our midfield.”
Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro said his side had also been keenly monitoring the Queenslander.
“Jack is one we’ve been tracking for the last couple of years. We had some really good discussions with Jack,” he said.
“Obviously he’s got some options but we’d certainly like to get him on board.
“The draft pick would be nice to have but we’ve actually tracked him for two years as a player who can play inside-mid and has got a lot of scope to develop into an elite AFL midfielder.”
Gold Coast is set to lose two former top-10 draft picks this trade period, with the other being Izak Rankine, who has requested a trade to Adelaide.
Suns list manager Craig Cameron said the moves, while not ideal from a talent perspective, were the right ones for the club in the long-term.
“We’ve got to a phase in our strategy where we’ve brought in a lot of high draft picks in the last four years,” he explained.
“What’s really important for us going forward is to be able to build a team by bringing in a free agent or being able to trade a player in.
“We’ll secure an early selection through Izak, so what we really need to do is engineer our player payments to a stage where we’ve actually got the space to bring some players in.
“At the moment, we need space more than we need a number of early picks.”
Cameron added Bowes was “disappointed” he wouldn’t be able to do more in the Suns’ senior side, but quickly became “excited about trying to find a place where he can try and play inside mid”.