Bombers keen on Ball, wait on McPhee - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bombers keen on Ball, wait on McPhee

13/11/2009 07:20:51 PM Comments (0)

Essendon look certain to ramp up their interest in AFL's hottest property Luke Ball regardless of whether contract hold-out Adam McPhee quits the Bombers.

Coach Matthew Knights admitted his club was eyeing star midfielder Ball, who has left St Kilda and nominated for this month's national draft.

Essendon are looking to Ball as McPhee decides whether to accept a two-year offer with the Bombers or look to a three-year deal elsewhere - most likely at Fremantle.

"We may jump that hurdle (Ball) if it presents itself, but at this stage our preferred option is Adam remains at the football club," Knights said on Friday.

Knights said the Bombers had not yet spoken to Ball, whose preferred destination Collingwood have their first draft selection at No.30.

Essendon could trump the Magpies with either pick 24 or 26, though several clubs with higher second-round or late first-round picks could scuttle that option.

Ball was officially delisted by St Kilda on Friday, clearing the way for him to enter the national draft on November 26.

Knights had wanted a firm decision on McPhee's future by the end of this week.

But the protracted contract negotiations look set to rumble on into next week after the club issued a statement late Friday saying they would continue talks with McPhee.

They have retained him on their second list lodgement which was sent to the AFL, meaning McPhee's only out should he wish to leave Windy Hill is via the pre-season draft next month.

Fremantle would be able to swoop on McPhee with pick three, and he would be able to leave Essendon for nothing.

McPhee did not train with his teammates at the Bombers' first skills session on Friday, asking to be excused until his contract situation is sorted out.

The Bombers want McPhee to stay.

"He's a senior body, an experienced player, and he's played at a high level for a long period. You can't afford to lose those players," Knights said.

"But Adam's got to make a choice what he thinks is best for his football career, and I'm very mindful as a coach another opportunity would open for another player.

"We'd certainly like Adam to stay but he's got to really want to be at the Essendon Football Club."

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