Ellis, who received heavy interest from several clubs during last year’s trade period, will have his eyes set on the round one match-up against the Blues after not being selected in any finals matches last year.
The running defender was dropped by Damien Hardwick after just five rounds last year, and had to build up form in the VFL before his eventual return in round 10.
If Ellis was to keep his contract talks on hold, there are plenty of teams who identify areas of weakness that might suit the 25-year-old defender, and entering free agency is not out of the question.
During Richmond’s stellar 2017 season Ellis missed just one game, playing a pivotal role in their back six. Ellis has been training with the midfield group this pre-season, and wants to stamp his name in one of the strongest engine rooms in the league.
The Tigers still believe Ellis is in their best crop of players, declining multiple trade requests for the defender who has served eight years at Punt Road oval.
In other free agency news, it may be slim pickings for clubs in comparison to the previous year, but there are still some handy names entering the market at seasons end.
Since free agency was introduced in 2012, there were a sizable amount of players picked up in their prime (aged 25-26), whereas this year clubs have less options in terms of out-of-contract players.
Hawthorn have been strongly linked to Coniglio, and are known for snaring big-name midfielders during the trade and free agency period, as they did with Jaeger O’Meara, Tom Mitchell and most recently Tom Scully. Carlton also have interest in the Giant’s ball-winner, who will have a lot to consider in 2019.
Out-of-contract Suns forward Sam Day will be eager to build up his value as the number one forward following Tom Lynch’s departure.
Tom Liberatore, who will be 27 by season end, will return from yet another knee injury that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season. The midfielder will want to build form and remove any injury doubt before he is seriously considered as a free agent target.