Changing Places – Good Move? Bad Move?

It almost seems a shame that we are not long removed from the biggest game of the season, and here I am thinking about player movement and the upcoming trade/free agency periods.

Such is the current AFL landscape, that this is the case, however, I know that many supporters eat this stuff up. For some, whose teams have not enjoyed success, or are looking at bolstering their line ups to make a run at the flag, this is where the moves are made to secure it.

Just look at Melbourne – Lever, May, Brown, Langdon… the seeds of a premiership were planted in their recruitment. Which team will be next?

Quite a few players have stated their intentions in regard to where they’ll be playing next season, and it is either a foregone conclusion (for free agents) or a matter to be worked out by the clubs (for players out of contract, or still in contract) to make it work.

So, without further ado, let’s have a look at what we know, and where it sits on the good, bad, or indifferent scale.




One of the many infuriatingly amateurish “going home” moves sees Dawson looking at joining the rebuilding Crows and leaving a fast-developing Sydney unit, in which he had become a vital component.

Dawson’s intercept, run and potent kicking game is perfect for the modern game, and he will be a weapon off half back fro the Crows. With Wayne Milera also due to return after missing 2021, the Crows’ defence will look markedly different, but you would not expect them to get near the top eight, so in many respects, it is a step backward from Dawson.

But probably a significant step up in wages.




Did Carlton fail to utilise SPS well, or did SPS fail Carlton?

I guess we’ll soon see, as how he goes at West Coast will determine whether he was played out of position (and let’s face it, he was played everywhere!) or whether the issues sit with him.

Petrevski-Seton was playing a small/mid defender before the 2021 season that saw both Adam Saad and Zac Williams jump aboard the since-derailed Teague Train. That left him, once again, as a man without a genuine position, so I can see why he’d be looking for a fresh chance.

How the Eagles choose to use SPS will be one of the things to watch in the pre-season… assuming we get one in 2022. He is a former number six pick (2016), so you know the talent is there. Can Adam Simpson get the best out of him where Carlton couldn’t? Or has his lack of output been more a reflection of where is at as a footballer?




Another “go home” case. Sigh…

Cerra was a perfect fit for the emerging Dockers, and with Brayshaw and Serong, could have formed the nucleus of an outstanding midfield. Now, he heads back to Victoria, and most likely Carlton, to aid them in elevating their group back into the finals.

In terms of positioning, the Blues and Dockers are similarly placed, but with Blues’ most potent weapons seem to leave the Dockers somewhat outgunned. The question is then, I suppose… why have Carlton sucked so badly?

Does a new coach fix things? Does another injection of talent heal that which has been plaguing them for… seemingly ever? Or is Cerra looking to join the merry-go-round at Ikon Park that looks like fun, but in the end, just seems to ?go round in circles

To me, he is leaving stability to join chaos. Maybe things will be different this time as Carlton ushers in the Voss era.




Ivan Soldo will be back for the Tigers to start 2022 and with Toby Nankervis still wearing yellow and black, the opportunities for Chol may have been minimal. ANy way you slice it, he would have been playing third fiddle in the ruck, or third fiddle in the forward fifty, with Riewoldt going around again, and Tom Lynch patrolling the area close to goal.

At Gold Coast, he will still have to play back up to Jarrod Witts, but Chol will be a much more involved and important part of their structure. Up forward, he will be able to work with Ben King to lift a little of the weight on the young forward’s shoulders. However, if we’re being genuine here, thinking that Chol is the answer to alleviating all that King carries would be naive. Chol is definitely no saviour in that regard.

Still, he will be given the opportunity to sink or swim with the Suns.




Comes in as the replacement for the retiring David Astbury (who I always thought sounded like a news anchor) but at two years older than the retiring Tiger, it is clear that Tarrant is here for a good time and not a long time.

Sounds like me on a date, actually.

The Tigers will gear up for a return to finals in 2021 and though there are some shades of Hawthorn 2016 about their goals, if healthy, they have the capacity to make some genuine noise.

“If healthy” will be a big aspect of Tarrant’s 2022. If healthy, he can make a great contribution, but at 32, I am not sure you can expect too much of him. After coming back from a kidney injury in 2021, Tarrant gave North some stability, but it would be fair to state that he was not the same player he was a couple of seasons back.

Tarrant has traded off here – a chance to join a team having a last crack at glory has replaced the romanticism of being a one club player. The jury is out.




Not official yet, but he has apparently had a physical with them, which indicated there is definite interest from both parties.

Finlayson is enormously skilled and a magnificent footballer to watch in flight… but seeing him on the outer at GWS as they made their run to the finals may give an indication that there were some issues that even the chance of a brilliant performance on the park cannot mask.

Often seen as petulant on the ground, Finlayson is a little too inconsistent for my liking, and has made a habit out of going missing too often. I am not sure Port needs someone like that.




Bit of a Richmond exodus, huh?

Maybe not initially, but I can see this turning into a good move in a couple of seasons.

CCJ was highly rated by Tiger fans, but with Riewoldt continuing, the writing was on the wall for him in 2022. Basically, he’d have to rely on an injury to either Riewoldt or Lynch to secure a spot in the team. He’ll get that spot with the Kangaroos, and has the chance to develop a nice little forward trio with Nick Larkey and Cam Zurhaar.

Coleman-Jones has a good pair of hands, and will commend some defensive attention as the second marking forward – a role North sorely lacked in 2021. His presence should allow Larkey a little more room to move, and will be of great benefit to Zurhaar, who has been forced to play the second forward role due to the lack of anyone else capable.

At 22, North will pick CCJ up just as he should be ready to slot into the seniors on a consistent basis.




This one has not been announced as yet, but many are stating it is a foregone conclusion.

Hewett is the workhorse the Blues were hoping Zac WIlliams would be. He plays a defensive midfield role and can also swing into action and win his own footy where required. There was a time I thought he was the understudy to Josh Kennedy at Sydney, but with kids coming through in the midfield, it appears as though the writing was on the wall for Hewett.

He looks like he is set to become the replacement for Ed Curnow when he finally hits the wall – a player that can lock down an opposition mid and release when necessary.

Also, to the couple of Swans fans who gave me the “this is how we negotiate contracts… you don’t know what you’re talking about” lines in regard to both Hewett and Dawson about two months ago, I’ll take that apology now, thanks.




Not because he is leaving the Crows, or anything disparaging about them – sometimes a change is as good as a holiday, and since no one in Victoria is going on holiday anywhere, getting a change in your defence may just freshen things up a little, and Kelly is a pro.

Assuming he goes to the Bombers, he gives them a solid defensive presence that plays accountable footy.




Again, not announced as such, but it is difficult to see Clark remaining at a club that has starved him of opportunity. Sure, maybe it is just a case of him not being good enough to crack the best 22 regularly enough, but in the end, you’ve got to do what is right for you, and had he been a regular part of the Cats side, I reckon he remains a Geelong player.

However, he didn’t, and it looks as though his best bet is at Fremantle, particularly as they will be looking to replace the run that Adam Cerra provided.

Clark should be able to make the wing his own at Freo, and would get every opportunity to do so, as with Blake Acres their other option, he appears to have the leg speed and stamina to give the Dockers some line-breaking run.




Kreuger is expected to leave the Cats and sign with the Pies in order to gain more opportunity. His brief game time in 2021 demonstrated that, when well-supported, he can offer a team a string defensive pillar.

With just two games under his belt, Kreuger is no huge loss to the Cats, but in terms of age profile, they’re losing both Kreuger and possibly th pair of Clark and Charlie Constable. How this positions their list beyond 2022 is anyone’s guess, but to me… it doesn’t look great.

At the Pies, Kreuger will be contending for a defensive position with Darcy Moore, Jack Madgen, and Jordan Roughead, so he will not be walking into that team. He is, however, a handy depth player, and at 22, he has plenty of time to grow with the team as it rebuilds.



Another non-announcement, but obviously out of favour with the Dogs at points this season, particularly the pointy end of the season, which has to hurt.

Lipinski is 23 with over 50 games to his name for the Dogs, but with their current rich vein of talent, has struggled to maintain a place in the side.

What would he bring to the Pies? More importantly, what would he bring to them right now that others are not in the process of bringing? Sure, he may give them a little bit of bite around half forward, but would you throw him in there over someone like McCreery?

Maybe the Pies are looking at a replacement for Josh Thomas, who has yet to re-sign for 2022? If that is the case, Lipinski could be a good get, and you’d think he won’t be stretching the salary cap at all, either.




The signing of Robbie Tarrant at Richmond probably rules them out of gunning for Talia, but the Cats would be in the hunt. And a player of Talia’s merit is worth the punt.

I rate Talia highly – how could you not? However, he has also had a horror run with injury, so he is no guarantee to suit up and make a real difference. The thing here is that Talia is not yet thirty years old, so there is the potential of him being a but more than a one-and-done recruit as the Cats reload for a shot at the flag. He’s not a four or five-year player, either, though, is he?

Might be a bit young for the Cats, though… boom-tish!



BAD MOVE (if it goes ahead)

That’s the word – bad.

I have another word we can use here – why?

Yes, the Suns need a big body to take the heat from Ben King, but I’m not sure what they’re expecting from Levi. He’s 31 and seems to be more akin to the retirement home for average players that Gold Coast was a few years back.

The Suns should now be recruiting players that will have 3-4 years in them in order for the structure to be sound when they are pushing for finals. Casboult is a stop-gap, and not a great one, at that.

And if he heads to Brisbane, he’ll be a stopgap for Eric Hipwood until he returns late in the year.

Daniher, McStay, Casboult, and Hipwood when he gets back? Sorry to say, I know who misses out on a spot if all four are ready to play. That means, Casboult would be recruited to take a list spot for 10-12 games before playing in the twos.



It’s funny – a day or two before the news broke that the Eagles did not want to offer Jarrod Brander another contract, myself and several of the Mongrel writers were discussing his merits, and what the Eagles could extract for him in a trade.

Turns out it won’t be very much at all.

Brander is one of the league’s nowhere men. He has no position of his own, has played forward, back and on the wing with little to moderate success. After four seasons, he has 22 games to his name, and at 22, might be a bit of a bargain pick up, particularly if he is a late bloomer.



Vice captain to start the season and as the Dogs hit the finals, he was nowhere to be seen.

It’s been an incredible fall from grace for Wallis at the Whitten Oval. He played every game in 2020 and kicked 25 goals for the year as an undersized forward and ere we are, a year later, and he has managed just six games for the season.

With a few teams lacking bite around goal, and if we’re being honest, looking for sizzle over steak at times, they could really score a high-quality forward with a couple of seasons left in the tank that gives you a genuine contest every time the ball is in his area.



A bit of a messy exit from the Saints, with the midfielder stating that Brett Ratten didn’t rate him. Ouch…

Had a bit of a redemption moment when he polled 11 votes in the Brownlow, completely out-distancing high-priced recruit, Brad Crouch, despite playing eight less games. A bloke with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove could be a very handy pick up.


There are a few others that we’ll need to cover as things become a little clearer – Charlie Constable, Peter Ladhams, Will Brodie, Josh Caddy, Sam Reid, Jake Melksham, Jack Lonie.. there’ll be plenty more, and we’ll be abreast of them (tee hee) as they come to hand.