Brisbane has confirmed cult figure Rhys Mathieson is looking for a new home after failing to break into the Lions side in 2023.
The 26-year-old, who is an unrestricted free agent, is yet to receive a contract offer from Brisbane after playing 72 games in eight seasons but only 10 since 2022.
Lions football boss Danny Daly said he had “no doubt” Mathieson would explore a move away as he revealed Brisbane was also in the dark about whether Deven Robertson would choose to stay or move home to West Coast until he re-signed for two more years on Thursday.
“I’m sure that Rhysy (Mathieson), because he hasn’t played a lot of footy this year, might be looking at what else is out there,” Daly told AFL Trade Radio.
“We’ll touch base with him over the next 24 hours and then have a good chat with him … I’ve got no doubt that he’d be trying to see what else is out there at the minute.”
Daly said “the reports were true” that Robertson, 22, had been seriously considering a trade request to the Eagles, who had placed a tantalising offer in front of the midfielder.
“We can’t hide behind that – he had a big decision to make, he was toing and froing. The opportunity to go back home and potentially settle himself into West Coast’s midfield was probably enticing for him,” he said.
“We’re very grateful for him in (staying), and we’ve been very fortunate this year that we’ve had Kai Lohmann stay, Harry Sharp has stayed as well … it’s a great sign for us, and we’re pretty pumped.
“We haven’t (guaranteed Robertson a spot), but he’s up for the fight … he’ll work hard, he’ll get better, he wants to get into our midfield group and I love that about him.”
Daly said Will Ashcroft was “going really well” in his recovery from an ACL injury and on track to return over the mid-season bye rounds next year.
He confirmed the Lions would hone their focus in on securing draft points for Ashcroft’s younger brother Levi, who some experts rank as a contender for the top pick in next year’s draft.
“I think that will be part of our policy in the trade period … we’ll get to work with other clubs and see where it all lands, but that will be one of our focus areas, trying to get as many (draft) points as we can next year for Levi, who we hope picks us,” Daly said.
“I’m not sure we’ll be too active outside of that … obviously we’ve got Tom (Doedee).”
Daly said the Lions medical team were confident the Adelaide vice-captain, who nominated Brisbane as his preferred home on Wednesday, could bounce back strongly from a second ACL injury.
“History showed he’s come back from his last knee pretty well, and our medical team are pretty confident that there’s no reason why he wouldn’t come back from this ACL either,” he said.
“We know that he’ll bolster our backline, he’s a terrific human being as well … we’re hoping by mid-year (he will return).
“He’ll come over and do his rehab and we’re not putting any timeframe on it, but talking to him and our doctors we’re hoping from mid-season to round 15-16 thereabouts.”