THE Geelong Football Club says it is unlikely to be in a position to snare out-of-favour Melbourne utility Jack Watts during the AFL trade period.
The Cats remain interested in luring the 26-year-old to Simonds Stadium but their current lack of high draft picks looms as a severe obstacle to obtaining his services for 2018 and beyond.
Geelong list manager Stephen Wells said yesterday that after conversations with the Demons and Watts’ management, doing a deal for the 2008 number one draft pick looked improbable.
“It’s good Jack has some interest in Geelong as one of his potential suitors and we certainly are interested in Jack,” Wells said.
“But we certainly haven’t committed to Jack. We haven’t offered him a contract or committed to trying to do a trade for him.
“We’ve met with Jack as an information gathering exercise and (after) my conversations with both Jack, Paul Connors and also with the Melbourne Football Club … we have to say at the moment we’re unlikely to be able to do a deal for Jack to come to Geelong.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t see something change in that regard in the next week or so but we haven’t offered Jack a contract at this stage.”
Geelong’s chances of securing Watts, who toured the club’s facility on Tuesday, may yet change over the course of the next week as several Cats players’ futures become clearer.
Restricted free-agent Steven Motlop is yet to make a decision on his playing future and is understood to be weighing up offers from both Port Adelaide and Adelaide.
Daniel Menzel in a similar position and has attracted interest from both South Australian clubs and with Geelong hoping to gain an end of first round pick as compensation for losing Motlop, there is a chance the Cats could boost their draft position through free agency.
Small forward Darcy Lang, who is out of contract with the Cats, has toured North Melbourne and may also draw a reasonably strong pick.
Lang’s manager, Scott Lucas, said the 21-year-old was pragmatic about his chances of playing on with Geelong next year.
“He has been aware for a long period of time that they have had a number of players, of which Darcy is one, out of contract and list spots are really tight,” Lucas said.
“Up until now there hasn’t been a contract forthcoming … and at the pointy end you sit down with your player and discuss the pros and cons and we think there will be a really positive outcome.”
Wells said both Menzel and Lang could yet stay at Geelong if neither was able to find a new home elsewhere.
But with a combination of late first-round and second-round picks, Geelong may be able to get creative to improve its position and satisfy Melbourne if Watts is still available.
Wells also said while early discussions with Gold Coast had been positive regarding Gary Ablett, there was a bit still to be done to land former Cat.
However, he ruled out a trio of young stars who had been publicly linked to the Suns as part of a potential deal to bring Ablett home.
“Mitch Duncan, Jake Kolodjashnij and Nakia Cockatoo won’t be a part of any deal to get Gary Ablett to come to Geelong,” he said.