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Collingwood is throwing out Adam Treloar. Essendon is throwing dollars and the promise of midfield prominence at Josh Dunkley.
The circumstances of Treloar, Dunkley, Collingwood and Essendon have placed the Western Bulldogs in a strong bargaining position, but also forced them to make choices that they mightn't have bargained on.
That Treloar is undergoing a medical with the Bulldogs means he is open to the prospect of joining them. His preference, we're told, is to be with a club that a) is in Melbourne and b) in the same postcode of premiership contention.
In a quiet moment, as he contemplates his passage from the Giants to Collingwood, Treloar might be wistful about Richmond, the club he spurned, which can be ruled out due to salary cap constraints. Ditto for Geelong, which is busy trying to get Jeremy Cameron and is outside Dan's former ring of steel.
The Saints, who were interested in Treloar if it was possible, are committed to Jack Higgins and wouldn't have much salary cap room remaining and, in any case, don't want to part with their first pick (17).
And so, unless Treloar is willing to consider another club further down the ladder (Melbourne would make some sense if they had room) or one outside Victoria (after spurning Gold Coast), all roads lead to Whitten Oval, where he would be part of a formidable midfield with 'the Bont', Jack Macrae, Bailey Smith, Lachie Hunter and Tom Liberatore.
Could that midfield contain both Treloar AND Dunkley? That's literally a million-dollar question, because it is hard to see how the Bulldogs could accommodate both players without Collingwood paying a hefty portion of that five-year contract worth $850,000-$900,000 per annum.
The Bulldogs are saying that it is possible that they can keep Dunkley, who's contracted for two further seasons, and get Treloar. But it cannot be easy, without a generous payment from the Pies.
How can these clubs manage this three-way trade? The Dogs get one of Essendon's top-eight draft picks – let's assume that the Bombers end up with Carlton's pick 8 for Adam Saad. Collingwood receives a first-rounder from the Dogs, who get Treloar, but with Collingwood picking up some of the tab.
Dunkley is worth more, in draft terms, than Treloar, because he's roughly four years younger (the former turning 24 in January).
Before they address the Treloar question and the logistics of trading for him, the Dogs must ask: are we willing to hold a player who doesn't want to be here? It's the converse of the question Collingwood has posed, namely, can we trade a quality player who doesn't want to be traded?
The Magpies have answered their question. The Dogs do not wish to trade Dunkley, but they will be willing to do so – the calculus will be based on the return; they would want Treloar plus something.
If this theoretical deal happens, Collingwood's subsidy of Treloar's contract would influence the draft pick they get: a top-eight pick warrants a larger payment than pick 14.
There's another little twist for the Dogs-Pies part of the prospective threesome: The Bulldogs know that they will lose their first draft pick – pick 14 or whichever of Essendon's top-eight selections they might gain for Dunkley – due to the certain early bid on their academy star, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.
That gives them an incentive for trading out a first-rounder, either for a player such as Treloar, or for a future pick.
Collingwood, as it happens, is in the same boat with father-son Nick Daicos next year, knowing Daicos will likely consume their first draft pick.
So, it's conceivable that these clubs have an additional reason to trade with each other, with or without Treloar. Their interests could well align on two fronts.
The Bulldogs have both major opportunities here and difficult calls.
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