Brandon Zerk-Thatcher requests move to Port Adelaide, Esava Ratugolea, Ben McKay

Port Adelaide is poised for a mighty backline boost via the trade period, with a second key defender reportedly requesting a move to the top-four club.

7 News Melbourne journalist Mitch Cleary on Wednesday morning first reported Essendon’s Brandon Zerk-Thatcher had requested to be traded to the Power.

Zerk-Thatcher remains unsigned beyond this season, but as he doesn’t qualify for free agency, a deal between the Bombers and Power would have to be struck during next month’s trade period in order for his wish to be granted.

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The 25-year-old has chosen the Power after speculation Hawthorn also had interest in him.

It comes after multiple reports last week indicated fellow key defender Esava Ratugolea had told Geelong of his wish to also move to Port – 12 months after he was denied the same move.

Ratugolea and Zerk-Thatcher’s requests almost certainly rule the Power out of the race for North Melbourne’s Ben McKay, who’s widely expected to exercise his free agency rights, with Sydney, Hawthorn and Essendon in the mix for the key back’s services.

Brandon Zerk-Thatcher of the Bombers. Picture: Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

The Power have also been linked to out-of-favour Melbourne ruck Brodie Grundy, although the Swans are now considered the front-runners for him.

After being drafted out of Sturt with Pick 66 in the 2017 draft, Zerk-Thatcher became an integral member of Brad Scott’s Bombers backline this season, playing 22 of a possible 23 games.

The Bombers remained somewhat hopeful of retaining Zerk-Thatcher if they missed out on McKay. But there’s a strong chance now neither player will be at the club, with the Swans and Hawks considered more of a chance to acquire McKay.

The Bombers had a deal in front of Zerk-Thatcher for months, but it’s understood they weren’t optimistic he would stay.


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