St Kilda coach Ross Lyon says he had a “healthy” exit interview with Jade Gresham, but admits he remains none the wiser as to whether the Saints star will turn his back on free agency.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Monday night, Lyon said “around 20 players”- including Gresham – had exit interviews earlier in the day following St Kilda’s 24-point elimination final loss to the Giants, with more meetings to come on Tuesday.
Gresham, who played all but one of St Kilda’s games this season, remains unsigned beyond 2023 and has attracted interest from rival clubs. The Age on Monday night reported Essendon was “in the hunt” to secure Gresham, but Carlton wouldn’t make a big play for him considering his asking price.
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The Bombers, who have ample salary cap room heading into the AFL exchange period, have also been linked to North Melbourne duo Ben McKay and Todd Goldstein.
Lyon said he had a “really mature discussion” with Gresham.
“We both acknowledge we have a really good relationship,” Lyon told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.
“He’s a restricted free agent. His manager requested we don’t put an offer – we haven’t put an offer.
“We’re aware – and Jade knows we’re aware – he’s spoken to other clubs, which is the mature bit.
“Now it’s a commercial decision for Jade and the club. It’s opportunity, cost really – that’s where it sits. It’s pretty healthy.
“Jade walked out saying ‘we had a really fruitful discussion and he’s optimistic and we’re optimistic’. But where that lands no one knows.”
Gresham after his exit meeting said the Saints were “really keen for me to stay”, but said he faced a big call on his future.
“No doubt there’s interest out there (from other clubs), so I’ve just got to weigh it all up. I’ve really enjoyed playing here (at St Kilda) this year,” Gresham told reporters.
“We’ll sort it out in the next few weeks and sit down with my manager and family and work it all out when the time is right.”
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Lyon said calls on the futures of uncontracted players would come “a little bit down the track”, with the Saints’ list management team to meet in the next two days.
“Those discussions are ongoing. We’ve got a number of players out of contract,” he said.
“It’s really just (in the meetings): ‘How did you feel about your year? How’d you see it?’ We like to let the players sum it up.
“In a real sense, I’d like not to have the exit meetings because we give that much feedback. Everyone knows exactly where they’re at, to be honest.
“A really good coaching program, I’d be shocked if a player didn’t understand exactly the year they’ve had, what they’ve needed to improve on and whether they have or not and probably their status within the playing list.”
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