Collingwood will be busy this trade period trying to sort out its list troubles with several stars in danger of being shipped out.
Adam Treloar is the most high-profile player the Pies are trying to get rid of, even though he wants to stay and is contracted until the end of 2025.
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Jaidyn Stephenson was the 2018 Rising Star but has fallen out of favour after a worrying form dip this season, facing the exit door even though he’s contracted for three more years and according to AFL.com.au’s Mitch Cleary, is “digging his heels in”.
Treloar is on a heavily back-ended deal that saw him sacrifice cash in the short-term, with the plan to make bigger bucks later in his contract — but that payday is in jeopardy if he is forced out.
Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph told Fox Footy’s Trading Day Collingwood is holding a “fire sale” because it is under so much salary cap pressure, the Magpies even prepared to pay some of Treloar’s salary next year if he can be moved to another club.
“Quite clearly they are trying to get rid of his salary cap (pressure). There are a lot of clubs around who say, ‘We love him as a player, we just can’t afford that salary’,” Ralph said.
“Right now Collingwood is going to have to go to the market and say we are prepared to pay, call it $200,000 of his deal next year. The reason they want to do it now is because it only gets more expensive in the four years from here.”
Ralph also said angling to punt Stephenson and Tom Phillips shows just how bad a state Collingwood is in.
“They were desperate to get rid of Tom Phillips last year, they knew if he hit some best and fairest triggers he would hit $600,000 (a year),” Ralph said. “They couldn’t get rid of him, he hasn’t hit those triggers, but they are still trying to push him out.
“I just worry about deals for players like Jaidyn Stephenson. He’s a Rising Star winner, at his best people say he could win a Brownlow. He’s had a terrible year, but the fact they are trying to push him out for a contract that is reasonable — that shows to me they are desperate to get rid of cap space.”
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Jaidyn Stephenson has fallen out of Collingwood’s good books.Source:Getty Images
Kangaroos legend David King called Collingwood’s list management a “disaster”, asking how the club could possibly let itself get to this position.
“How you can run aground like this in your list build?” King told Trading Day.
“These figures from the moment they signed to them, they were unhappy with them, Collingwood. It’s in their own hands, their own doing and they are going to pay a price.”
There have also been rumblings the Pies are looking to offload American import Mason Cox, and St Kilda legend Leigh Montagna said handing out back-ended deals — like Treloar’s, where players are paid more in the latter stages of their contract — often comes back to haunt clubs.
“It’s all snowballed to a point where it’s almost too difficult for them,” Montagna said of the Magpies.
In January Collingwood trumpeted the re-signing of ruckman Brodie Grundy on a seven-year extension worth a reported $7 million. He was far from his best in 2020, enduring a disappointing season, and former Pies list boss Matt Rendell said they erred by offering a contract tying Grundy to the club until the end of 2027.
“The Grundy deal, they asked me and I said, ‘No way (would I offer him) seven years’,” Rendell told AFL Trade Radio. “I said, ‘I’m very happy to do five at most’.
“They would’ve been worried about losing him, I think it was Adelaide (chasing Grundy), for the extra two years.
“I’ve gone, ‘So be it. Let’s move on. I’ve got a replacement for you’ and I went and did a lot of homework on it.
“I think it’s fraught with danger. He’s been a star, he never misses, he’s a pro, he’s first in and last out, he’s great for your culture and all that sort of stuff, but I just don’t like how you hamstring your club to a seven-year contract for a lot of money.”
Grundy is one of the competition’s best ruckmen, but did Collingwood pay overs?Source:Getty Images
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