The Saints hopes of boosting their ruck stocks for the 2020 season look to be fading as leading targets Todd Goldstein and Sam Draper look likely to sign on with their respective clubs, as reported by AFL.com.au.
St Kilda made a bold four-year offer for Draper earlier in the season, believed to be worth up to $1.8 million, with the Bomber yet to play a senior match as he recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament tear.
North Melbourne’s Goldstein has also been closely under the Saint’s microscope, with the ongoing interest in the Kangaroos’ big man likely to be negated by a two-year deal to keep Goldstein at Arden Street.
While Goldstein is keen to finish his career with North Melbourne, he could walk to a rival club of his choice as he is currently an unrestricted free agent.
Kangaroos coach Rhyce Shaw is also in favour of having Goldstein in his future plans.
“Todd’s been a fantastic contributor to our football club and from my perspective he’s a great player and someone we’d love to have going forward,” Shaw said.
A worrying sign for Goldstein’s future arose on Wednesday when the club announced the re-signing of fellow ruckman Tom Campbell for two more years. North also have high hopes with third-string ruckman Tristan Xerri showing strong signs.
While Essendon are unable to match St Kilda’s lucrative bid for Draper, the club remains confident they can lock-in the young ruckman’s future at Windy Hill.
The Bombers find themselves in red-hot form heading into a crucial point in their season, but continue to fall behind the competition in first use of the ball with current ruckman Zac Clarke playing in the absence of first-choice big man Tom Bellchambers.
Bellchambers is currently battling a calf injury, with Essendon hoping Draper would fit into the clubs future as a pairing and insurance in their ruck stocks, with Bellchambers heading into the twilight of his career.
While the Saints have uncovered a star in Rowan Marshall, the club will remain busy during the off-season as they hope to find a leading ruckman to allow Marshall to spend more time in the forward line.
Longer will be sidelined for the remainder of the season, as he looks to focus on his health and well-being, while Pierce’s rehab is taking on precautions that will likely see him miss the remainder of the year.
Former college basketballer Sam Alabakis is St Kilda’s only other option in the ruck, with the 211cm recruit having only joined the club in October last year.