Melbourne coach Paul Roos says he’d be staggered if key backman Tom McDonald left the club.
The Demons’ defence revolves around the hugely built 23-year-old, who is out of contract at season’s end.
His signature is likely to be second only to high-profile forward Jesse Hogan as the one Melbourne management would like to have on a long-term deal.
Leading young midfielder Jack Viney and highly rated prospects Clayton Oliver, Jayden Hunt, James Harmes and Jake Spencer have extended their contracts this season.
According to a report in Fairfax Media, McDonald has put off talks for now, but Roos said he would be flabbergasted not to see him in the Demons back line in 2017.
“He’s in our leadership group. He seems really committed. He seems to enjoy coming in every single day,” Roos said.
“The encouraging thing is we’ve seen a lot of our players re-signing and committing to the club (but) everyone has different circumstances.
“I would be staggered if it didn’t get sorted out sooner rather than later.”
While Rising Star nominee Oliver’s long-term future is bright, he won’t be part of the team to travel to Alice Springs this week to play Port Adelaide.
The club is exercising caution on Oliver’s thigh injury, given he’s just seven games into his career.
Roos says that approach will be applied to all his young crop.
“It’s something we have to keep on monitoring over the next month until we get to the bye because, being a young team, you never know when they’re going to hit a bit of a wall,” he said.
Roos will bring Dom Tyson (illness) and Neville Jetta (suspension) back into his team for the round 10 match, but ruled out two returning Demons: Jack Trengove, who has missed more than 50 AFL games with a serious foot issue, and Chris Dawes, who is back in the VFL after a calf complaint.
“(Trengove) is not too far,” Roos said.
“You factor in the travel … we want to give Jack a real chance when he does play to be able to play really well.
“We win last week and it’s hard to make changes … (Dawes) is certainly getting really close.”