Melbourne would be happy to keep wantaway ruckman Brodie Grundy if a trade with Sydney can‘t be reached as the club confirmed talks had only just begun on an exit for the highly-paid big man.
Demons list boss Tim Lamb said talks were still in their infancy as he insisted troubled star Clayton Oliver had not been told by the club to explore his options at any stage since the season ended.
Lamb said management of the four-time best and fairest had fielded offers from rival clubs during a tumultuous past week, but Melbourne had never considered moving on the 26-year-old amid revelations he is battling a number of off-field issues which have frustrated the club.
“At no time did we have a conversation with Clayton about exploring his options,” he said.
“His management did (receive inquiries from other clubs). Yes (they brought those offers to Melbourne), but as I said, I think it was quite clear, the statement that the club put out last Friday, outlines how the post-season transpired with Clayton.
“And I think for us, the best thing moving forward is that we don’t comment any further on that.”
Lamb said Grundy had “handled himself magnificently” in tough circumstances at Melbourne as he was left out of the Demons’ finals campaign.
“We acknowledge it was a difficult end to the season for Brodes, but he handled himself magnificently really, for a player of his calibre,” he said.
“He actually said how much he loves the place in his exit interview, he has said that he would like to get to Sydney … purely that’s a desire to play regular senior footy, which is what Sydney has obviously offered him.
“He is contracted and we don’t need him to go, and if we can’t get a deal done we’re more than comfortable for him to stay.”
Sydney football Charlie Gardiner said early discussions with Grundy had been positive but wouldn’t be drawn on whether the Swans would expect Melbourne to cover some of Grundy’s salary, which is worth up to $1 million a year.
“We’ll be working to get a deal done with Melbourne that works for both clubs and hopefully we can do that,” he said.
“We‘re really pleased that he’s got an interest in coming to Sydney … we need to address our ruck division. We’ve got a young midfield group that we think he will really add to and provide some experience and leadership.”
Lamb said the Demons had been after a “competitive advantage” when they brought Grundy in to partner Max Gawn in the ruck, as he said they would continue to make attempts to give their side an edge in other positions.
“We actually thought it would give us a competitive advantage in what is the closest professional sporting competition in the world, and it worked for a while,” he said.
“So we make no apologies for being really bold and trying something that we thought was going to give us an edge.”
He said Brisbane ruck-forward Tom Fullarton, who is seeking a trade to the Demons, was a “different player” to Grundy and could fit in at Melbourne after being “stuck in the queue” at the Lions.
Lamb categorically ruled out offering Adelaide a player in a trade for out-of-contract forward Shane McAdam.
It came as Crows list boss Justin Reid said “ideally” a Demon would cross to Adelaide in any deal, as the Crows already hold four picks in the top 25 of this year’s draft.
“I’d love to go back to the old days where you do player for player, we haven’t done that for a while,” Reid said.
“Ideally we’d like to bring a player into the club, but we’ve got four really good picks. Certainly the picks don’t really help us at the moment, but again we’ll work through that.”