Geelong's list department is reportedly driving a hard bargain for in-demand defender Esava Ratugolea in the lead-up to October's exchange period.

The forward-turned-key-defender, who showcased his improved intercepting and one-on-one capabilities, requested a trade to Port Adelaide this off-season.

While the Power will be keen to lure the off-contract defender to Alberton this October, it will need to come via trade agreement as Ratugolea isn't eligible to exercise any free agency rights this year.

However, Port Adelaide isn't thought to be keen on parting with a first-round draft choice for the key-position Cat, potentially bringing into question the viability of a possible deal.

Further, according to a Herald Sun report, Geelong could play hardball with the Power if they aren't willing to offload appropriate capital for Ratugolea.

If negotiations get 'really ugly' between the two parties, the Cats may seek an alternative trade partner and send Ratugolea to another club.

The Hawks have previously been linked to Ratugolea, as they are understood to be in the market for a proven key defender this year. Hawthorn has also been linked to likely-departing Kangaroo Ben McKay.


Earlier in the week, Geelong senior coach Chris Scott voiced his discontent with letting Ratugolea go, citing resources spent on developing the tall utility.

“It's a really tough one for me. I feel like our club has invested a hell of a lot in Esava,” Scott said via Fox Footy's AFL 360. 

“Personally, I'm really invested in the guy. I'm still hopeful that his future is at Geelong.

“He's played a lot of games for us when he probably wasn't ready and that's sort of part of the investment. Not just that in terms of the games that he's played but just in terms of us taking a long-term approach in the hope that he would be a much, much better player in the second half of his career than the first.

“So, to let him go is not something I'm comfortable with especially in the current environment where key position defenders just seem to be hard to get and very, very expensive.

“In that context, I'm hopeful he'll be wearing the hoops.”

This year's player movement window opens on October 9, following free agency's commencement on October 6.