Melbourne list analysis: The Demons who are yet to sign on for 2023

Melboure have 15 players on their list still out of contract including two premiership stars they would be very keen to sign sooner rather than later.

Is it cause for panic, or will it be back to business as usual for Melbourne, soon enough?

Chris Cavanagh looks at the Demons’ list and what changes might be on the horizon.

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Where they’re at

A well-constructed list build helped deliver a drought-breaking premiership for the Demons last year.

Despite a slight mid-season form slump, Melbourne is still flag favourite again this year and have few holes in their list that need filling.

Many of the premiership stars including Christian Petracca (2029), Christian Salem (2026), Max Gawn (2025), Jack Viney (2025), Jake Lever (2024), Clayton Oliver (2023) and Steven May (2023) are all contracted for next year or beyond.

However, there are some big deals left to do for list manager Tim Lamb as the club looks to retain its current squad.

If the Dees want to keep rising star Angus Brayshaw, it will cost them. Picture: Getty Images
If the Dees want to keep rising star Angus Brayshaw, it will cost them. Picture: Getty Images

The Demons are desperate to keep star young ruckman Luke Jackson on the books, as well as the selfless and versatile Angus Brayshaw.

However, both remain uncontracted for next year and Melbourne will have to navigate a tight salary cap to keep them.

A Grand Final hero last year, Jackson is attracting interest from the two clubs in his home state of Western Australia.

The mobile big man is still just 20 years old and has enormous upside as a ruckman and key forward, seen as a long-term replacement for captain Max Gawn.

Meanwhile, Brayshaw’s stocks are continuing to rise by the week, with the wingman having moved to the backline this year to fill in for the injured Christian Salem.

Brayshaw has proven an elite rebounding player in defence, an important role in modern football.

Neither Jackson or Brayshaw will come cheaply, but the Demons will do everything they can to find a way to keep them.

The unicorn Luke Jackson will have no shortage of suitors if he can’t come to terms with the Dees. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
The unicorn Luke Jackson will have no shortage of suitors if he can’t come to terms with the Dees. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

If Melbourne has one missing piece in its current line-up – and any money in the salary cap – a key forward would be the top target.

Ben Brown’s form has been up and down and Sam Weideman has yet to live up to his talent and bed down a permanent spot in the side.

That is why the Demons have expressed interest in Brisbane big man Dan McStay, who is a free agent this year and is considering a move back to Victoria.

If the Demons play their cards right, they could be a dynasty team.

Out of contract: Angus Brayshaw, Daniel Turner, Deakyn Smith, Fraser Rosman, Jake Melksham, Jayden Hunt, Joel Smith, Judd McVee, Kade Chandler, Luke Jackson, Majak Daw, Michael Hibberd, Mitch Brown, Oskar Baker, Toby Bedford

Eligible for free agency: Angus Brayshaw, Jayden Hunt, Mitch Brown, Majak Daw

Could Dan McStay be the big forward the Dees desperately need? Picture: Getty Images
Could Dan McStay be the big forward the Dees desperately need? Picture: Getty Images

Three players the Dees should target

Dan McStay

The Demons could do with a dominant big man up forward and McStay is one of few who are left on the market. The 195cm Lions key forward is a free agent and is weighing up a move back to Victoria at season’s end. Melbourne is one of a few clubs that have significant interest in the 27-year-old.

Karl Amon

Port Adelaide is keen to keep their talented wingman, but the free agent is yet to sign a new deal and is considering a move home to Victoria. There is a salary cap squeeze at the Demons, but if Angus Brayshaw is to leave then the 26-year-old Amon may be able to be fit in. Melbourne has lodged some interest in Amon, who has also been linked to St Kilda.

Oliver Florent

The young Sydney defender is expected to stay where he is, but remains unsigned for next year. Florent is a talented young player who originally hails from Victoria and would be of interest to a few Victorian clubs, including Melbourne, if he was to return home.

Could Jayden Hunt benefit from a change of scenery? Picture: Mark Stewart
Could Jayden Hunt benefit from a change of scenery? Picture: Mark Stewart

Three players rival clubs are watching

Luke Jackson

A West Australian, the signature of the No. 3 pick from the 2019 national draft is set to be hotly contested this year. After playing a starring role in last year’s premiership triumph, Jackson has been a little off the boil at stages this year. However, the athletic ruckman-forward looks a serious player of the future that West Coast and Fremantle are keeping a close eye on.

Angus Brayshaw

A selfless player, Brayshaw has been deployed through the midfield, on a wing and across half back over the past three years and has got the job done with class wherever he has gone. The 26-year-old is one of this year’s highest-profile free agents. The Demons are desperate to keep him, but contract talks stalled earlier in the season.

Jayden Hunt

The rebounding defender got injured at the wrong time last year and consequently missed the premiership. However, the 27-year-old has featured in all but one game for the Demons this year. A free agent at season’s end, Hunt could attract some opposition interest, with his speed a clear weapon.

Originally published as Melbourne list analysis: The Demons who are yet to sign on for 2023

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