Townsville Bulletin

Pies are hungry to secure Kreuger


COLLINGWOO­D football boss Graham Wright has started trade negotiatio­ns with Geelong about Nathan Kreuger but admits the Pies still have some salary cap “difficulti­es”.

The Magpies are set to bring in two-gamer Kreuger and fringe Western Bulldog Patrick Lipinski, who has requested a trade to the club as he seeks greater opportunit­ies.

“I’m always a bit hesitant to talk about players who aren’t at your club, but it’s been pretty widely reported that we’d like (Kreuger) to come and they would like to come,” Wright told AFL Trade Radio.

“We feel Nathan is more a forward than a defender. I know he played as a defender this year, but he’s 196cm, he’s got speed, he’s someone who competes really well and for us it was an area of need.

“From an age demographi­c perspectiv­e, he’s a 22-year-old, so we feel he can come in and potentiall­y play a role there and come in and earn a spot.”

Wright said Collingwoo­d would be able to offer Lipinski a regular spot and that he added depth to various positions, including at half-forward and halfback, on the wing and on-ball.

He left the door ajar for both Mason Cox and Max Lynch to return next season – but hinted regular games might be tough for Cox – while Brayden Sier must wait until the trade period ends to learn his fate.

The Magpies’ other out-ofcontract footballer­s are Isaac Chugg, John Noble, Scott Pendlebury, Jay Rantall and Josh Thomas.

There is also the spectre of Darcy Moore, Jordan De Goey and Brayden Maynard being free agents next year, with all clubs carrying the extra burden of salary cap deferrals from the Covid-19 crisis.

The decision to trade Adam Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom Phillips and Atu Bosenavula­gi last year eased the Pies’ financial woes, but Wright said there was still more to do.

“When you’re 17th on the ladder, you don’t want to be having salary cap issues, but that’s certainly something I’ve come into,” he said. “The club was in a position for a number of years there where they had their foot on the till, for want of a better word, trying to win flags.

“It’s certainly feasible that you try and keep that group together and do whatever you can to bring players in to help you get across the line, but that has potential repercussi­ons down the track – and we’re dealing with that a little bit now.”

Wright said making the situation more problemati­c is they were still waiting to hear the exact salary cap figure for next year and beyond.

“We still don’t know what the number is for 2022 today, which is really hard to believe,” he said.

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