Port Adelaide is prepared to play hardball on the future of Wagga footballer Dougal Howard in the AFL trade period.
Howard ended weeks of speculation on Wednesday night when he informed the Power of his preference to be traded to St Kilda.
The Saints, North Melbourne and Essendon were all keen to secure Howard's services after he was encouraged to explore his options elsewhere at his end-of-season exit meeting at Port Adelaide.
But the Power have since backed away from that move with Port Adelaide's general manager of football, Chris Davies, stating that Howard is a required player at the club.
"Dougal is aware that he is a highly valued, required player at Port Adelaide," Davies said in a club statement.
"Given he is contracted to the end of 2022, the club will only entertain a trade with St Kilda if it is in our best interests to do so.
"We will discuss the situation with the Saints but if a suitable outcome for our club cannot be reached, Dougal is well aware that he will remain a Port Adelaide player in 2020."
Howard's manager, David Trotter, said they are hopeful that St Kilda can strike a deal with the Power.
"That's over to the clubs now," Trotter said.
"Dougs understands he's got three years left on his contract at Port so if St Kilda can't come up with something that satisfies Port, he understands that he will be back there next year but we're hopeful that the clubs can work something out that's beneficial to both."
Howard is one of the most promising young defenders in the AFL but fell out of favour at Port Adelaide this season as he was swung forward.
The 23-year-old was shocked by the Power's move after only signing a three-year contract extension last December.
Trotter explained there were a couple of reasons that attracted Howard to St Kilda.
"He knew a couple of the boys there...from the Giants Academy days," he said.
"He thinks they've made some good changes off-field, that they've got a core group that are pretty young that he reckons can build over the next five to 10 years."