Greater Western Sydney has been advised by a rival club's recruiter to be ''very, very careful'' about how it uses this year's No. 1 pick, as it emerged the Giants had not ruled out trading it to acquire Lance Franklin.
Gold Coast list manager Scott Clayton, who helped assemble the bulk of Brisbane's players in the 2001-03 premierships, has told his Giants counterpart, Stephen Silvagni, the draft was the ''lifeline'' for clubs looking to secure elite talent.
But former Hawthorn coach Peter Schwab, the last coach to trade for a No. 1 pick, said the Giants should give up the prized pick for Franklin.
The Giants have stated their willingness to place all their draft picks on the table, but Silvagni warned rival clubs it would take a ''super, super deal''.
''But if we don't, we're quite happy to keep [it],'' Silvagni said.
The Giants, however, are desperate for elite talent around the 24-25 age group to complement the young list they have built.
They have already stated their interest in Franklin, the headline act out of this year's free agents, and could even use their No. 1 pick to trade for him despite the widespread assumption they would attempt to acquire him through free agency.
Using free agency would allow the Giants to secure Franklin plus at least one other star player by trading pick one.
''Anything's possible,'' Silvagni told a Giants corporate luncheon.
''It might be free agency. If he does decide to be a free agent it might be a trade situation. We just don't know. I guess it's still too early in the season to give you the right answer.''
Silvagni said he had already fielded inquiries from two clubs about securing the No. 1 pick, which is tipped by many to be used on highly rated young forward Tom Boyd.
Schwab was emphatic Franklin was worthy of trading the No. 1 pick for. ''Do it if you can, absolutely,'' Schwab said. ''If you get Franklin I'd do it.''
But Clayton believed the Giants would be paying an unnecessarily high price by trading for Franklin. He said he would prefer his club to mine young stars through the draft and use free agency to net the big names. ''I think you've got to be very, very careful giving away pick No. 1 in an AFL draft, the currency of that is extraordinary,'' Clayton said.
''Draft picks are our lifeline so you need to be very, very careful.
''It's made a little bit more complicated with free agency. You're best to look at that space and keep your pick. Every decision, there's implications.
''You've only got a finite amount of money and finite number of spots on your list. At a minimum you'd be wanting players who will be around for a long time, not in their late 20s I would have thought.''
Clayton said the 2001 deal which saw Fremantle relinquish the top pick to Hawthorn, who acquired Luke Hodge, was an example of why clubs should hold on to their pick. ''Clearly, Hawthorn smashed that deal,'' Clayton said.
''You're not going to be on the bottom for long, it might the last one. I can't think of one example where someone has traded a really early pick and they've won.''
Meanwhile, Carlton hit an early snag in its bid for pick one after Matthew Kreuzer, who had been speculated as trade bait, stated he wanted to remain a Blue.