The race for Melbourne’s out-of-favour ruck Brodie Grundy has taken an intriguing twist.
Port Adelaide’s coach Ken Hinkley and young stars Connor Rozee and Zak Butters met with Grundy in a bid to lure the big man back to his home state of South Australia.
But the Sydney Swans are now in the box seat after talking up a lifestyle outside of the AFL bubble.
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Speaking on Channel 7’s Talking Finals, 7NEWS reporter Mitch Cleary confirmed Port was out of the Grundy race.
But the club looks set to secure fringe Western Bulldogs ruck Jordon Sweet, with Sweet requesting a trade to the Power on Wednesday.
Cleary also said the Power were targeting Essendon’s Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Geelong defender Esava Ratugolea.
Essendon has a contract before Zerk-Thatcher but he has also requested a trade to the South Australian club.
“It means now Grundy is all but certain to head to Sydney,” Cleary said.
Talking Finals host James Brayshaw believed Grundy and the Swans were a neat match.
“Good fit, I reckon, Sydney,” Brayshaw said and Essendon great Tim Watson agreed.
Cleary said: “(Grundy will be) out of the footy bubble of Melbourne and I guess Adelaide’s a fishbowl as well.
“So Brodie Grundy looking like he’s heading to Sydney having met with Port Adelaide and the Swans in the last few weeks, it looks like the Power have now fallen behind the Swans.”
Grundy was forced out of Collingwood at the end of last year due to salary cap issues. He moved to Melbourne for the 2023 season but his ruck partnership with Demons skipper Max Gawn has failed.
Grundy has been playing in the VFL while Gawn has starred as a solo ruck. Melbourne have suggested Grundy could get back in the team if he improved his forward craft, but the All-Australian big man has so far been unable to impress as a forward.
Grundy, 29, is now set to join the Swans, whose lead tap man Tom Hickey has retired.
The Swans also have money to fit Grundy in their salary cap after the retirement of Lance Franklin.
Part of Sydney’s pitch to Grundy included work-life balance and the ability to relocate his partner’s physio (in emergency units) work.
Sweet, who has played 11 AFL games in two seasons but is off contract, covets more game-time. He is second-choice ruck at the Bulldogs behind star tall Tim English.
“The club was keen to retain Jordon having had a contract on the table for the majority of the year however the ruckman has a desire to return to his home state,” the Dogs said in a statemen.
“The club will now work with Port Adelaide to facilitate a suitable trade.”
Port’s desire to recruit Sweet could also spell the end of Scott Lycett’s time at Alberton – the 30-year-old managed only four games last season and 13 so far this year amid frequent injury battles.
The AFL’s trade nine-day period officially begins on October 9.