West Coast has launched an ‘all-out’ assault for one of the hottest young rucks in the game, according to the Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph, who also reports the club have a back-up plan in case their bid for Tim English fails.
But four-time Best and Fairest Power winner Kane Cornes believes the Eagles “cannot responsibly” consider trading for Melbourne’s Luke Jackson given their roster’s dire straits.
On Friday night, the Eagles fell to 1-6 after suffering a 109-point loss at the hands of Richmond – the club’s fourth defeat by more than 55 points so far this season – prompting pundits and fans to turn their to what the Eagles will do in the off season.
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Speaking on Fox Footy Friday Night – and expanding on his sun herald history – Ralph said the Eagles have a keen interest in the 24-year-old Englishman and 20-year-old Jackson, who are both out of contract at the end of the season after being drafted out of Western Australia.
“The Eagles have launched an all-out assault on Western Bulldogs ruckman Tim English – and they have a plan B, too,” Ralph reported on Fox Footy.
“They think English is Nic Naitanui’s successor – he’s 32 next Wednesday, he’s out of contract. (But) I understand he’ll sign a one-year contract at the end of the season
“They (the Eagles) went to Melbourne to watch English, sometimes they think he’s going to say yes to them. Here’s the thing: he’ll meet his management team next Monday. He’s happy, he’s playing pure ruck and he does it well
“I think the strong indication now after postponing the talks is that he will stay at the Western Bulldogs. This would mean that these talks will begin soon.
“So what happens then?” They’ll be putting all their eggs in Luke Jackson’s basket – Melbourne’s third-year ruckman.
“They have the cap space if the deal is back-end, they can offer all the opportunities he wants from 2024, he is extremely close to his family.
“He didn’t make the decision to leave, but he certainly didn’t make the decision to stay either.
“Jackson would get a lot of money anyway, but how would he even get to the West Coast? He won’t get there through the preseason draft, but it could potentially be used as leverage – that’s a long way to go.
“But he hasn’t made a decision, he’s in no rush, he’s certainly committed to staying.”
Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd said last month that Jackson, 20, could be the “hottest property” in the game by mid-season.
But Cornes said it would be irresponsible if West Coast offered Jackson a multi-million dollar contract at what now appears to be the start of a rebuild.
“Are you (targeting) Luke Jackson now considering he’s not a free agent, he’s gonna cost you…two top-10 picks (at least)…and he’s gonna cost you $1 million a year for a player who doesn’t play like a million bucks?” Cornes asked on SEN Times of crisis the Saturday.
“You can’t do this deal responsibly, I don’t think, if you’re on the west coast if you’re rebuilding.
“I wouldn’t do (the) Luke Jackson (agreement) – no way.”
Melbourne champion Garry Lyon said the Demons were “very confident” Jackson would stay – at least in the short term.
“At some point he may return to Western Australia,” Lyon told Fox Footy on Friday night. “But if you’re this young man now in this situation, playing behind Max Gawn who will transition over the next two years, then Luke Jackson becomes the 60-40 (ruckman), a team in a window… my big hope is he would stay, maybe pinch one or two Premierships.
“If he’s going to be offered the kind of money he’s being offered now, another two years on the track under Max on this really good football team – if it’s money, we don’t give him a damn. will offer that more.”