WESTERN Bulldogs are yet to lock away their premiership list chief Jason McCartney on a contract extension, leaving him vulnerable to a poaching raid.
The Herald Sun can reveal McCartney’s contract expires immediately following this year’s trade and draft periods at the end of November.
While McCartney is believed to have indicated his strong desire to stay at the kennel, clubs including Gold Coast and Collingwood are both looking to bolster their recruiting teams.
National recruiting manager Simon Dalrymple is contracted for another season with the Dogs and is also considered one of the leading talent identification experts in the country.
Dalrymple has been touted as a likely target for Gold Coast as the Suns prepare to make sweeping changes to their key football staff.
McCartney and Dalrymple and their talent spotters have excelled in recent drafts, despite having one of football’s smallest recruiting budgets.
McCartney, who joined the Dogs in 2012 and was re-signed in 2015, was lauded for his role in helping piece together the Dogs’ drought-breaking 2016 premiership team.
The former North Melbourne and Collingwood key defender secured premiership players Tom Boyd, Joel Hamling and Shane Biggs from other clubs and helped implement a retention strategy to protect their gun youngsters, such as Marcus Bontempelli, from big-money rival offers.
But the architect of the Dogs’ successful list strategy, McCartney, is still facing an uncertain future.
With only one game remaining in the regular season, there has been no movement on his situation as the Dogs prepare to enter another critical exchange period following a disappointing premiership defence.
McCartney is expected to meet with football director Chris Grant for key talks on his future immediately following the Dogs’ season.
They need to defeat Hawthorn on Friday night and rely on other teams ahead of them on the ladder losing to surpass them inside the eight.