The Chronicle

Teams jostle for ruck options


TRISTAN Xerri is the newest name on the ruck merry-goround as the potential implicatio­ns begin from Tiger Callum Coleman-Jones’ impending arrival at North Melbourne.

St Kilda is on the hunt for a younger ruckman to partner Rowan Marshall beyond next year, which looms as veteran big man Paddy Ryder’s last in the AFL.

It’s understood the Saints have honed in on contracted Kangaroo Xerri after also showing interest in Western Bulldog Jordon Sweet, who remains without a contract for 2022 and is linked to West Coast.

The Bulldogs have made Sweet an offer to stay, but he was overlooked in the finals for Lewis Young, who has since requested a trade to Carlton. North Melbourne would have to be willing to trade Xerri, who isn’t out of contract until the end of next year.

He averaged 21.5 disposals, 15.5 contested possession­s, 5.5 clearances and 26.2 hit-outs in six VFL games this year, but played only eight matches at senior level, all in the second half of the season.

Todd Goldstein remains the clear No.1 ruck option at the Roos but turns 34 next year, when his three-year contract expires.

Tom Campbell kept 201cm Xerri out of the side up until Round 13 while serving as Goldstein’s deputy.

North has identified Coleman-Jones as Goldstein’s ruck successor and convinced him to cross to Arden St, with a trade set to be brokered with Richmond before Wednesday week.

But that would leave Xerri, 22, third in line in the ruck at the Kangaroos as he enters his fifth season at AFL level.

Several other clubs, including Hawthorn, the Bulldogs, Brisbane, Sydney and even Geelong, are also surveying the ruck market.

The Hawks told veteran Jon Ceglar, who is contracted for next season, to explore his options two years after the Lions tried to lure him from Waverley Park as a free agent.

Industry sources believe Hawthorn would be willing to pay a chunk of Ceglar’s salary to help organise a trade.

The Hawks are among the suitors for wantaway Port Adelaide ruckman Peter Ladhams, who Power officials made clear in his exit meeting was unlikely to leapfrog Scott Lycett to become the club’s No.1 option.

Ceglar, who turns 31 in February, and Hawthorn captain Ben McEvoy, 32, are both out of contract next season, with the Hawks’ only other listed ruckman being five-gamer Ned Reeves.

Hawthorn inquired about Collingwoo­d’s Max Lynch last year as well.

The Swans have renewed interest in Ladhams, a player they’ve asked about previously.

Port Adelaide football boss Chris Davies has made it clear it wouldn’t give Ladhams away cheaply, even though his backended deal peaks next season.

A second-round pick looms as his potential trade value if he is to move.

Brisbane is keen on contracted Cats big man Darcy Fort and has shown interest in Mason Cox and Levi Casboult – given Eric Hipwood’s longterm knee injury – while Ceglar could come into the Lions’ calculatio­ns again.

The Bulldogs and Geelong are other potential landing points for Ceglar.

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