Hoppers eye former Saint Jason Gram

NORTH Albury is on the verge of signing former AFL star Jason Gram.

Hoppers’ coach Jason Akermanis told The Border Mail the club was “absolutely” in discussions with the recently sacked St Kilda ace.

Gram, who played 154 AFL matches, visited Bunton Park this week and is in constant contact with the club.

Another former Lion, livewire utility Damian Cupido, also remains on North Albury’s recruiting radar.

Akermanis, who spent two years with Gram at Brisbane before Gram moved to St Kilda, said the Hoppers could do “no more” to get the 2008 Michael Tuck medallist on board.

“Absolutely we’re speaking with him,” Akermanis said. “He came up to check the joint out on Monday.

“He’s still speaking to a club in Shepparton, too, and one or two others, I think.

“We’ve offered what we can offer and now it’s up to him.

“He wants to enjoy his footy again and we think he can do that here.

“He’d be a great addition to our midfield, obviously.”

Gram, 28, recently had his AFL contract torn up by St Kilda for failing to comply with conditions relating to his behaviour.

Akermanis said he sympathised with the flashy wingman.Gram played in three grand finals with the Saints and was their best player in the 2009 decider against Geelong.

“He’s in a similar sort of position to what I was a few years ago,” Akermanis said.

“He probably realises he’s done at AFL level.

“He wants to get what he can out of the game for the next couple of years and just enjoy his footy.”

Cupido, meanwhile, remains a strong chance to return to Bunton Park for a second stint with the Hoppers.

He broke a 27-year-old goal-kicking record in Darwin at the weekend, booting 100 goals in just 13 games with NTFL club Southern Districts.

“Bubba’s still in our sights,” Akermanis said.

“We’re still not sure. He’s not locked his mind in yet but obviously he’s killing it up there.

“He’s still got a lot of good relationships down here and we had a good relationship in Brisbane.

“But, again, until it’s done it’s not done, is it?”

But the 2001 Brownlow medallist, and three-time premiership star, said it wasn’t doom and gloom should the pair not join the Hoppers.

“We’ve got plenty of talent — and are more than happy with what we have got,” Akermanis said.

“We do need another quality midfielder but, who knows?”

Akermanis will take training at Bunton Park tomorrow night.

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