WITH the AFL Trade Period set to kick off on Wednesday, the Demons are preparing to add to their list in the lead up to 2021.
But Melbourne may not be as active as some clubs over the next nine days, with a solid foundation already built.
“We have used the draft and trade period to build a list that, although young in some areas, has the majority of roles filled across the ground,” GM of Football Josh Mahoney told Melbourne Media.
“Last year, off the back of a poor season, we went to the draft again, trading this year’s first-round pick and added Luke Jackson, Kozzy Pickett and Trent Rivers who all played senior football in their first year.
“Jason Taylor and the recruiting team believed that this year’s draft was going to be impacted by highly talented academy players, that would push draft picks back, which also played a role in the decision to trade our first pick. We have already seen some movement due to Free Agency compensation as well.
“Like every Trade/Draft Period, we are looking to improve our list, we are looking at completing some trades during this period, but you never quite know how active you will be until Trade Period starts."
The Dees look certain to bring in one name this off-season, with North Melbourne forward Ben Brown announcing on Monday that he wishes to join the club.
And he will fill a void for Melbourne.
“We think that having two key forwards as targets is our best forward structure,” Mahoney said.
“Sam Weideman is developing very well and shouldered a big load this season and needs support.
“Tom McDonald has filled that role for us as a big bodied tall forward, but due to injury and form, hasn’t been able to get back to his 2018 form.
“We’ve had discussions with Tom about how we can get him back playing to his potential – whether that is some changes to his program with us or potentially a new start at another club.
“Those conversations have been respectful and ongoing and we will make some decisions over the Trade Period.
“Only relatively recently Ben Brown became available as a trade option.
“Ben is a proven goal kicker, who has played the role of a key forward for a number of years.
“Ben nominated us as his preferred club and we will look to complete a trade over the next two weeks.”
While the Demons won’t be seeing too many big names depart, a couple of players will be seeking greater opportunities elsewhere.
“We have had two players ask for trades, Braydon Preuss and Mitch Hannan,” Mahoney said.
“Braydon has been with us for two years and has worked hard under Max Gawn and Greg Stafford to develop his game.
“He now has the confidence that he can take on the responsibility of the number one ruckman and the Giants are keen to give him that opportunity.
“We offered a contract to Mitch Hannan, but a longer-term offer and the potential for more senior opportunities from the Western Bulldogs, has resulted in Mitch asking for a trade.
“With Braydon leaving, we will be in the market for a ruck/forward during this period. We have had a number of conversations with potential players and will be looking to add a player of this type over the off-season."
While the Demons missed out on securing wingman Isaac Smith last Friday, they won't be putting too much emphasis on landing a similar type of player.
“Last year we added some outside run to our list with Ed Langdon and Adam Tomlinson," Mahoney said.
“We did make an offer to Isaac Smith, who was unique in what he offered.
"His experience, leadership, premiership success, run and being an Unrestricted Free Agent made him a good option for us.
“Apart from Isaac, we are not targeting outside run specifically during this period.
“We’ll back in a number of players we have on our list currently, and give more opportunities to the likes of Oskar Baker, James Harmes, Jayden Hunt and Adam Tomlinson who can all play a similar type of role.”
The club is now in a strong position to bolster its list when things get underway on Wednesday morning, with all workings going to plan behind closed doors.
And of course, there will always be rumours circulating during this time, with hypothetical trades thrown in the mix, but Mahoney urges fans not to get too concerned by the whispers they hear.
“Obviously there’s lots of things discussed, not only during Trade Period but well before the period starts as well,” he said.
“We’ll only talk as a club if we have something to say and we think that is something important for our members to know – whether that be we’ve secured a player, or an important decision has been made.
“We’ll keep people as updated as much as we can through this period.
“There are going to be a lot of scenarios thrown up on the whiteboard, and as we do every Trade Period, we’ll try to walk out at the end knowing our list is stronger and that we’ve given ourselves a good opportunity to be better as a team again next year.
“We see our greatest improvement coming from our current list of players, as they continue to develop their own games and roles by playing and training together.”