AFL 1st Qualifying Final - Port v Geelong
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Chris Scott, Senior Coach of the Cats speaks with his players before the 2020 AFL First Qualifying Final match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Geelong Cats at Adelaide Oval on October 01, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

It's that time of year. With the bye rounds done and dusted, the rumour mill fires up while the contract news starts to flow. With clubs always looking to strengthen, the work gets underway in earnest in the back half of the season.

Geelong are never far away from the topic of trade or free agency. The club has consistently played finals for almost 15 seasons now and rather than bottoming out, favour constantly trading to continue to challenge.

This year will be no different. Already well-ensconced in the top eight, they are almost a lock to finish top four. Having landed several big name free agents over the years, they will look to do so again.

A number of names have been already mentioned, yet more continue to be linked. This week has seen a number of new names placed on the list of potential recruits.

Earlier in the year, they were linked to Angus Brayshaw, the Melbourne premiership player comes out of contract at season's end. Having won a premiership last season, Brayshaw has quickly gone about putting together his best season in years.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Angus Brayshaw of the Demons handballs whilst being tackled during the round three AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 01, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

His value continues to soar and while he is primarily used at Melbourne as a half-back flanker, owing to the stacked midfield at the Demons, at Geelong he could be afforded the chance to play on-ball full-time.

Likewise, the Cats were mentioned as a potential suitor for Jordan De Goey in what would surely be difficult to achieve under their current salary cap. The De Goey situation shapes as the major saga for this upcoming trade and free agency period.

Perhaps most interesting of them all to date however, has been Todd Goldstein. The Cats have been crying out for a quality ruckman for years, and with Goldstein they would get quality and competitiveness.

Earlier in the year, Goldstein confirmed his desire to play on despite it seeming almost certain he would be on the move. Speaking about the situation in June, he was keen to play on under the right circumstances.

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"I'm definitely keen to play on. But everyone has a line. My family has to be happy for me to continue playing and a lot of other factors come into it, but at this point I definitely think I've got a lot more to give," he told

"I know that my manager Tommy Petroro has got my best interests at hand and he'll present to me what he thinks are my best options. But, at this point, we haven't had any conversations like that so I have no idea what he's thinking.

"I know from now on that any year could be my last year, so I'm just trying to enjoy being in the industry and enjoying every game that I play and doing the best that I can."

The trade talk involving the Cats doesn't end there however. We can now add Tanner Bruhn and James Worpel to the list of potential targets, the Cats are eyeing off an established gun midfielder to add to their midfield mix, according to The Herald Sun. 

Related: New suitor has finger on De Goey pulse

With Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield having carried so much of the burden in recent years, fresh blood could help release them to move forward. The Cats are said to have space in their salary cap still and will no doubt be active this year again.

Worpel shapes as an interesting option, currently struggling to get a game at Hawthorn, his disposal has been questioned. At Geelong he'd likely be utilised as an in-and-under type who can win the ball and feed the outside players.

James Worpel during the AFL match between Hawthorn and St Kilda in Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media)

His ability to play at the level is without question and as a Geelong local, he fits the bill.

Bruhn is a similarly intriguing proposition. Besides his potential, his age profile would be a welcome addition to the Cats.

A highly rated wingman taken at Pick 12 in the 2020 AFL draft, Bruhn has played 24 games at the Giants and was this week linked with a move back to Melbourne.

Speaking about the situation, interim coach Mark McVeigh said the Giants were keen to retain the youngster.

"Those players are emotionally invested in the club though. I love him as a player (Bruhn). He's a very down to earth, fine young man. He has a big decision to make clearly and that's a family decision and we respect that but Tanner Bruhn, I'd love him to stay. He's a player we definitely want to retain."

Related: Taranto opens up on contract talks while young gun's future remains uncertain

Goldstein and Brayshaw present as the most likely options, given they could both be secured without giving up any draft picks, however, as always, the Cats will look at former locals.

Bruhn and Worpel both hail from Geelong, yet would need to be traded for. With the pair being relatively young and capable, neither is beyond the realms of possibility should Geelong decide they want to pursue them.