Jack Gunston is looking at a move back to Victoria after just one season with the Brisbane Lions. Image by Russell Freeman/AAP PHOTOS
  • Australian rules football

Gunston seeks Hawthorn return, Saint lands at Dons

October 13, 2023

Brisbane forward Jack Gunston has requested an AFL trade back to Hawthorn, while wantaway St Kilda goalsneak Jade Gresham has landed at Essendon.

Gunston has spent just one season in Brisbane after joining coach Chris Fagan at the Queensland club as a free agent.

The pair previously worked together at the Hawks, where Gunston was a key player in the club’s hat-trick of premierships.

Gunston has one year left to run on his contract with Brisbane, who on Friday confirmed the 31-year-old’s desire to return to Hawthorn.

“While understanding Jack’s situation, as a contracted player the club is assessing its position and will work through its options,” the Lions said in a statement.

Jack Gunston during his playing days with Hawthorn.
 Jack Gunston (left) played his best football in Victoria with Hawthorn. Image by Brendon Thorne/AAP PHOTOS 

Gunston sensationally stepped away from Brisbane’s senior side to complete a separate training block midway through this year.

He returned for rounds 17-22 but was overlooked at selection for the finals as the Lions ultimately fell four points short of Collingwood in a thrilling season decider.

Gunston, who turns 32 next week, started his career with Adelaide in 2010 before moving to Hawthorn, where he became an All-Australian (2018) and won a best-and-fairest award (2020).

The 242-game veteran led the Hawks’ goal-kicking three times.

St Kilda's Jade Gresham has joined Essendon.
 Jade Gresham joins Essendon after 136 games for St Kilda across eight seasons. Image by Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS 

If Gunston returns to the club, he will again work under former premiership teammate Sam Mitchell, who is entering his third year as leader of Hawthorn’s rebuild after taking over the coaching reins from Alastair Clarkson.

On Friday, Gresham became the third free agent this season to land at Essendon, joining former Roos duo Ben McKay and Todd Goldstein.

The 26-year-old has signed with the Bombers on a three-year deal.

“I believe we can do something special and I’m happy to be a part of the journey ahead,” Gresham said.

The No.18 pick from the 2015 national draft played 136 games for the Saints across eight seasons, including 23 this year.

As compensation for losing Gresham, the Saints will receive a pick at the end of the first round (currently pick No.21)

It means they now hold picks 13, 21, 34 and 55 at the draft.

In other trade news, Melbourne shored up its big-man stocks by snaring Brisbane’s Tom Fullarton in exchange for pick No.47 – the selection the Demons received after Brodie Grundy joined Sydney.

Fullarton played 19 games at the Lions over the past four years, and he kicked 30 goals and averaged 15 disposals a game in his 18 appearances for Brisbane’s VFL side this year.

The Western Bulldogs axed premiership midfielder Toby McLean from its list on Friday.

The 27-year-old played 102 games over nine seasons, with knee reconstructions in 2020 and 2021 proving to be a huge blow to his career.

North Melbourne signed former Sydney key defender Toby Pink as a delisted free agent.

Pink, 25, joins the Kangaroos after helping Glenelg win the SANFL premiership this year.

Fremantle are reportedly eyeing Collingwood’s future first-round draft pick as part of a deal to grant energetic forward Lachie Schultz his trade wish to join the Magpies.

West Coast are expected to edge out Fremantle in the race to secure Hawthorn small forward Tyler Brockman.