Deadline day: Dons get Duursma in final minutes of…..

Essendon and Port Adelaide are adamant relations have not been strained between them after a relatively simple trade was only agreed to with 30 seconds remaining before the deadline.

Contracted Power wingman Xavier Duursma was forced into a nervous wait to see where he would play in 2024 after the Bombers refused to hand over a future second-round pick as part of a swap sending defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher to Alberton.

Bombers list boss Adrian Dodoro said with less than a minute before the deadline Essendon remained in the dark about whether Port Adelaide would accept its final offer, but he said there was no bad blood between him and rival list manager Jason Cripps.

“I think (the deal was struck) 30 seconds before the deadline. We had to hold our nerve – we kissed and had a hug afterwards, but it was close,” Dodoro told reporters.

The veteran trade aficionado, who has entered a transition phase for his role at the Bombers with former West Coast player Matt Rosa, called the future second-round pick Port was pursuing “the future of the club”.

Adrian Dodoro says Essendon would have walked away from its trade for Xavier Duursma if Port Adelaide had continued to demand a future second-round pick. Picture: James Elsby / Getty Images

Adrian Dodoro says Essendon would have walked away from its trade for Xavier Duursma if Port Adelaide had continued to demand a future second-round pick. Picture: James Elsby / Getty Images

“We would rather have walked away than to give up the future of the club, so in the end, we got there,” he said.

He said a trade processed minutes earlier sending Massimo D’Ambrosio to Hawthorn had helped to arm the Bombers with enough draft picks to satisfy the Power.

“Up until we did the paperwork, I rang Mass and tried to convince him to stay, but his heart was to leave the club, so we honoured his wish and we wish him really well,” he said.

“We’ve got some collateral that we can use, and it helped us get some deals done tonight.

“We’ve brought in four players, so I think we’re going to have better depth than we’ve had for a little while, and Mass probably saw a better opportunity at Hawthorn.”

Dodoro said veteran midfielder Dylan Shiel “was never leaving” Essendon and again quashed suggestions St Kilda had made a serious play for the left-footer.

“Dylan is a quality person, highly respected at our club, and once he gets over a few little niggling injuries, I see no reason why he can’t have a great year,” he said.

Brandon Zerk-Thatcher will fill one of Port Adelaide’s key defensive posts next season along with Aliir Aliir and fellow recruit Esava Ratugolea. Picture: Kelly Defina / Getty Images

Brandon Zerk-Thatcher will fill one of Port Adelaide’s key defensive posts next season along with Aliir Aliir and fellow recruit Esava Ratugolea. Picture: Kelly Defina / Getty Images

Port Adelaide football boss Chris Davies said securing Zerk-Thatcher had taken far longer than the club had expected, but the Power were thrilled to secure all four of the targets they identified leading into the trade period.

“We’re really happy, we came in having four players committed to our club to want to get in,” he said.

“Very early on, we felt like we were going to be able to achieve it, but clearly it took a bit longer than what we had hoped.

Davies said the Power felt they were “going to be better” next year after targeting specific weaknesses he said exposed them in the finals.

“I don’t think your list is ever finalised, we would still be looking at our list and saying maybe we’ve got to develop some depth across different positions, but there’s no doubt that bringing in two rucks and two key backs will fill needs that we had towards the end of this year which were exposed when the games got big,” he said.

Originally published as ‘30 seconds left’: Port Adelaide runs Essendon trade down to deadline

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