Geelong have confirmed there is external interest in contracted Tall Esava Ratugolea, with the Cats containing talks with the key-position talent despite stating he's set to remain at Kardinia Park for 2023.
But a change of tune was heard when Mackie spoke on Trade Radio on Tuesday morning, with the three-time premiership defender revealing that while the club are keen to keep Ratugolea, the two parties are in ongoing discussions around what his future looks like.
"Esava is an interesting one," Mackie said.
"We've put games into Sav and he's been a big part of our succession plan forward of the footy. Throughout the year as a bit of a circuit breaker we sort of threw him behind the ball and he showed some really good signs as a key back.
"Clearly blokes like Sav, six years into the system, just wanna start playing footy and we've had that discussion with him and we continue to try and map out for him how that would look for him.
"He's a contracted player and no doubt the coach loves him, we love him, but totally understand that he's trying to work out where he is going to play his footy. We're pretty clear on how that looks."
When questioned on rival interest, Mackie said questions from clubs on Ratugolea's services weren't unfamiliar, having staved off the advances of others for most of the Fijian's career.
"There is interest in him, but there has been (interest) for five years too," Mackie revealed.
"He's a player with the attributes that he has and the size that he is... those guys are few and far between and that's a reason why we'd like to keep him."
The Irishman has spent the past two years back in his home nation after leaving the Bombers, but is now considering a switch back down under with Geelong and Brisbane among those seen to be weighing up a move for the 26-year-old.
Mackie revealed that while discussions with McKenna have been parked, the Cats are opento rekindling those conversations.
"We've spoken to (McKenna) throughout the year, albeit a while ago," Mackie conceded.
"We've had a discussion about him, he can come on as a rookie list player, so that's attractive.
"There hasn't been much discussed about Conor for a little while. We have spoken throughout the year (and) I'm sure we'll pick up that conversation with where he's at and what he's thinking."
McKenna played 79 games for Essendon between 2015-2020 as a viable half-back flanker.