'It annoys the living daylights out of me'

Rory Sloane set alarm bells ringing in Adelaide and across the AFL on Thursday with comments regarding his 2018 free agency, but Richmond footy boss Neil Balme wants everyone to take a chill pill.

 

Sloane, 27, is out of contract at the end of the 2018 season and, as an unrestricted free agent, a move home to Victoria or elsewhere is a simple proposition.

"I'm not going to put a timeline on this sort of thing," Sloane said on FIVEaa.

"It's a contract I will have to think long and hard about with (wife) Belinda. Coming to the end of my career, you certainly have to look at what's best for yourself."

Sloane went on to confirm he would consider his options at the start of next year, because "any earlier is probably a bit silly".

The vice-captain also qualified his statements with praise for his current situation: "We both love Adelaide and absolutely enjoy our time here."

Rory Sloane. Pic: Getty

The Crows lost this year's grand final to Richmond before a busy trade period that saw young defender Jake Lever head to Melbourne and midfielder Bryce Gibbs secure his long-desired move to Adelaide.

Balme's premiership-winning Tigers had their own contract situations to manage in 2017.

Dustin Martin was chased hard by North Melbourne, with St Kilda also showing interest, before he re-signed in the final days of August.

With conversations about Sloane already underway, Balme said he would like to see the AFL embrace anti-tampering rules seen in American sport.

"It'd be great opportunity for the AFL to do something proactive and help people here," he said on SEN.

Neil Balme. Pic: Getty

"In the NFL if you're a free agent player then the clubs and players don't make comment until deals are done, which makes enormous sense to me."

The NBA's rules are so strict that they warned Los Angeles Lakers legend and president Magic Johnson over his comments on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night TV show regarding a potential target.

Norm Smith Medal winner Martin was far from alone as an AFL player peppered with questions about his future this year.

Lever, Gibbs, Gary Ablett and Tom Rockliff dealt with similar situations, and Balme believes it all stands to detract from the very reason players are up in lights to begin with: their football.

“It grates on me ... It annoys the living daylights out of me,” he said.

“We are talking about Rory Sloane, and what a wonderful young man he is, and wouldn’t we all love to have him playing for our team, but he’s playing for Adelaide and why don’t we have some respect for that?

“Instead we are saying he’s put off talks therefore he must be coming home.”

The twist in Balme's comments is the show's host, AFL great Kevin Bartlett, declared Sloane "is gone".

"He’s out of Adelaide come the end of the 2018 season. That’s all that can be gleaned from his famous words yesterday," Barlett argued.

"Sloane’s manager Ned Guy is now Collingwood’s list manager, and I’d be flabbergasted if Eddie McGuire and his football department are not working on a godfather deal right now."

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