Melbourne's Brodie Grundy has gained support from teammate Jake Lever amid a period of uncertainty for the former Magpie, with his Demons peers understanding why the ruckman may be exploring his options for 2024.
Grundy, while contracted to Melbourne until the end of the 2027 season, was reported to have met with fellow finals contenders Port Adelaide in recent days as he weighs up his future in the red and blue.
The 29-year-old is said to have held talks with Power coach Ken Hinkley, as well as All-Australian pairing Zak Butters and Connor Rozee as the South Australian club looks to pry the ruckman back to his home state.
Their interest in Grundy comes as the multiple Copeland Trophy winner finds himself missing out on opportunities at senior level in what has been a frustrating opening season with Melbourne.
Grundy has managed just one appearance since Round 17 and could see a spot in Simon Goodwin's side handed to Tom McDonald this week, with captain and first-string ruckman Max Gawn set to continue to take on the bulk of the workload in a one-man ruck plan.
With the Demons recently conceding the move to acquire Grundy and pair him with their premiership skipper has failed to take off, the chances of the Demons recruit heading elsewhere after just 12 months in the red and blue are increasing.
Questioned on Grundy's situation this week, Lever said his new teammate "hasn't sooked once" in "the face of adversity" as he continues to front up and play a part in Melbourne's flag push.
Lever said he is "proud" of how Grundy has composed him this year and that 'whatever happens, happens' this off-season, with Grundy "a Melbourne person through and through".
"In the end, it's a business world and we understand that," Lever told reporters on Monday.
"Obviously Brodie isn't in the side at the minute, but to Brodie's credit, he has been a Melbourne person through and through.
"The disappointment of getting dropped and then going back to play VFL, you can sit there and sympathise with him, but he hasn't sooked once.
"He comes to training, he wants to get better, he wants to get back in the side. Selection is up this week and there's nothing off the table.
"He's still a Melbourne person right now. I just love the way he's been able to handle this in quite a bit of adversity. To come in and really just put his ego aside, and want to help Max especially.
"He tests Max out every week, he's helped Max over the last couple of weeks. He's someone that comes to training and does his best.
"In the end, whatever happens at the end of the year happens, but right now I'm just proud of what Brodie has been able to do in the face of adversity."
Sydney has also been flagged as a club of interest in the race for Grundy's services, however, the Power have been tipped as the front-runners.
A trade would be needed given the ruckman's contract status, with Melbourne's willingness to part ways with the multiple All-Australian yet to be seen.