Essendon GM of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro says he's confident the Bombers can bolster their small-forward stocks after missing out on Giants goalsneak Bobby Hill in the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period.
Despite having a year left on his contract with GWS, Hill expressed his desire to move to Melbourne for family reasons midway through the trade period, nominating Essendon as his club of choice.
While disappointed not to strike a deal with GWS counterpart Jason McCartney, Dodoro said the Bombers had moved on.
"I got wind of it a couple of weeks ago that there may have been something about to happen, but I didn’t take it seriously until Friday when [Hill's manager] Colin Young said to me that Bobby was definitely on the move to Melbourne and had met with Collingwood. We thought that if he’s met with Collingwood, we’ll certainly be part of the conversation. We had a conversation with him and he said he wanted to come to the Bombers," Dodoro told SEN 1116 on Thursday.
"Jason [McCartney] was honest throughout the whole period. He made it pretty clear they were really hesitant to do anything, so you have to accept their decision.
"These things happen. When you’re contracted, you can’t just automatically get the deals done. When you sign contracts, you have to remember that you’re bound to them.
"I wouldn’t say we’re really disappointed, but it would have been nice to have got him. There’s not that many [small forwards] around at the moment. We spoke to [former Crow Tyson Stengle] Stengle as well, Bobby and a couple of other boys. We’ll go to the draft now. We’ve got a first-round draft pick and hopefully we can find one through the national or rookie draft. It’s an area we’d like to bolster over the next year or so."
While the Bombers couldn't nab a small forward in the trade period, they were able to fill a need at the other end of the ground via the acquisition of Jake Kelly in the free agency period.
The hard-running defender joined Essendon as an unrestricted free agent, having played 110 games across seven seasons at the Crows and finishing seventh in the club's best-and-fairest count this season.
Dodoro said Kelly, who has proven he can play an effective shutdown role on small- and medium-sized forwards, had been on the club's radar for some time.
"We went into the trade period wanting to find that medium defender who could play a specific role. We specifically targeted Jake and it was great to get him done early in the free agency period. We then thought from there we’d be pretty quiet and wanted to improve our draft hand, but things obviously changed with Bobby Hill," he said.
"Jake’s going to be terrific for us. He’s going to add some real steel for our back half."
Clubs will be able to trade picks up until and during the NAB AFL Draft, which is slated for mid-November.
Dodoro said he expected "natural movement" in the exchange of draft selections, with Essendon determined to improve its draft hand.
The Bombers currently holds picks Nos. 11, 51, 56 and 87.