Pies lash Lions’ strong AFL stance on Aish

Collingwood football chief Neil Balme has blasted Brisbane’s hardline stance on James Aish’s trade request.

The 19-year-old informed the Lions of his desire to play for the Magpies from next year on Thursday, but the club rejected his request, instead offering the choice of a new deal to stay in Brisbane or to go into the pre-season draft where Carlton have the first pick.

“I think Collingwood are way down the list of priorities in terms of what happens here, but where’s the individual’s right?” Balme said of the impasse on SEN Radio on Friday.

“What’s the right thing for the club to do? I mean, what sort of an environment would you be providing if you’re making people stay?

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

Collingwood, who will also try to swing a deal for want-away GWS onballer Adam Treloar, were hit with a similar trade request when first-round draft pick Nathan Freeman told them he would like to move to St Kilda.

“From a club point of view we’d love him to stay, we picked him as a first-round draft choice, we think he’s a good player, he’s had a lot of bad luck with injuries but we’d really love him to finish his journey with us,” Balme said.

“But we’ve got to recognise on the other hand that people have got a right to make a decision.

“You can’t enforce service, in a sense, you can’t say that we’ll make sure that you stay – if he wants to go then you’ve got to accept that he wants to go.

“It’s easy to make the big statements – ‘We’ll make him walk’ or do all of these things – it’s not really the way to engender the right kind of spirit from your players, I don’t think.”

Roles were reversed between the two parties during last year’s trade period when star Collingwood onballer Dayne Beams requested a trade to Brisbane – a move that ultimately came about with the Lions sending picks five, 25 and promising midfielder Jack Crisp to the Pies.

Despite their desire to either retain Aish or make a strong statement by sending him into the draft, Balme said it wouldn’t be in the Lions’ best interests to follow through with the latter.

“And get nothing for him? That’s a really good way to run your footy club isn’t it?” Balme said.

“If they do that wouldn’t surprise me all that much but I’m not sure that’s something that would be such a great thing to do.”

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