Port Adelaide have issued a stern ‘hands off’ to rival AFL clubs circling ruckman Matthew Lobbe ahead of the AFL trade period.
Lobbe, 26, is entering the prime of his career but found himself out of the Power’s side at times in 2015, with Paddy Ryder preferred in the lead ruck role.
With Gold Coast big man Charlie Dixon also hoping to join Port, competition for spots amongst the club’s tall timber will only increase next year but football manager Chris Davies said that doesn’t mean they’ll listen to offers for Lobbe.
“He’s the vice-captain of our club (and) contracted to the end of 2019,” Davies told the AFL’s website. “From our perspective, we’re not entertaining Matthew Lobbe not being at our footy club in 2016, let alone beyond that.
“At the end of the day, competition for spots is not a bad thing. No one should have a walk-in automatic start.
“If we’re able to get Charlie Dixon in, that’s what well have on our hands.”
Dixon has been with the Suns from their inaugural season in 2011 and kicked 41 goals in 16 games this year before informing the club of his desire to join the Power.
Davies said that negotiations between the clubs were progressing well, with Port’s first-round draft pick (No.10) in play as Gold Coast look to maximise their return.
The Suns will have a busy trade period, with Harley Bennell and Zac Smith also looking for new AFL clubs.
Bennell is reported to prefer a move back to his home state to play for Fremantle, while Smith has joined the queue of players hoping to join Geelong.
Port Adelaide staved off recruiting raids from rival Victorian clubs when they signed Hamish Hartlett on Wednesday to a new five-year deal.
The star midfielder mulled long-term offers, reportedly from North Melbourne and the Tigers, before agreeing to stay with the Power until at least the end of the 2021 season.
Port forward John Butcher also accepted a one-year extension to remain with the club.