Sometimes it’s hard to find news on the fact there are do-or-die finals upcoming this weekend, with the gossipy journalists opting to chase stories that may or may not be there pertaining to the silly season.
Yep, it isn’t far away – the AFL Trade Period will dominate footy headlines as soon as the final siren sounds on Grand Final day. We’ve already got teams who have been eliminated from contention expressing their interest in players at other clubs and reporters salivating over the possibilities.
And let’s be honest, if your club is a little… well, a little bit shit at the moment, you’re salivating as well.
Wear a bib, or something. Try to control yourselves.
Anyway, we are not immune to the scuttlebutt and muckraking around this time of year. Hell, if I had the sway, I may even start a rumour or two, myself. Instead, let’s have a look at the murmurings and see what we can make of them.
KARL AMON WILL JOIN THE HAWKS
“Oh HB… that’s not even a trade….”
Yeah, I know. Thanks for that.
The Hawks will pay a significant amount to get the Mongrel’s Wingman of the Year onboard in regard to his contract, but it is offset by the fact that they are getting him for nothing, as he is a free agent.
The Hawks have struggled at the wing position, with Tom Phillips viewed as someone who was going to own this role (and he has been delisted) and Harry Morrison playing pretty well on the opposite side of the ground. If Amon is permitted to play an attacking role and Morrison the more defensive winger, this could be an inspired pickup.
IZAK RANKINE WILL HEAD TO ADELAIDE
Another getting megabucks to jump ship.
The Suns are upset, after appearing very confident they’d done enough to keep Rankine on their list.
Rankine, long-rumoured to be heading back to Adelaide eventually, pulled the trigger and informed the club late in the season he’d like to head home. This is a huge win for the Crows, who receive a potential AA small forward, but what the Suns attempt to extract in return will be interesting to see play out.
Rankine is a superb player and should command a top ten pick in return. The Crows have little in the way of players who want out, unless Matt Crouch can be used in the deal? With the Suns’ current midfield setup, not too sure they’d be interested, anyway.
JACOB HOPPER WANTS TO HEAD TO THE TIGERS AND WHAT ABOUT TIM TARANTO?
I’m bundling these two together.
Richmond have tabled a seven year deal for Hopper, who is seen by many as the best inside mid at GWS. Injury set him back this season, but the emergence of Tom Green has made him somewhat expendable.
Taranto is an interesting one. His best is very good, but we haven’t seen that since 2019, when he won the GWS B&F.
I’ve heard that the Tigers would be happy to move Ivan Soldo to GWS as part of the move. To that, I say… hahahahaahahahahaha!
Come on, Richmond – I understand starting the price as low as possible, but this is funny stuff. You don’t move a second-string ruck to get a deal like this done. GWS already have Matt Flynn, who looks very good, the human building that is Brayden Preuss, and Kieren Briggs up there to take up ruck duties. They’re a little more shrewd than you’re giving them credit for.
Try harder, Tigers. You can, and will have to do better than this to extract Hopper, given he is under contract. And if you want to add Taranto to the mix, it is going to cost, fellas. Multiple first rounders, here, I reckon.
JUNIOR RIOLI TO PORT ADELAIDE
I believe it was the man who ate all the pies, Xavier Ellis stating that Rioli owes West Coast for sticking by Rioli during his suspension.
Nice try, X.
They don’t call this the football friendship – they call it the football business, and other than showing up and playing, Rioli owes the Eagles bugger all. Sure, you could argue there is a moral obligation for him to repay the faith, but unless there is a signature on a moral obligation contract, that doesn’t mean squat.
What can the Eagles expect in return?
Hmmmm, our resident West Coast fan, Daniel Jon Kershaw, is hopeful that they’ll get good value for him, but Rioli’s record – suspended for two years, continually in poor shape… I wouldn’t be parting with too much to obtain his services. Port should be wary, here. They are buying the dream Rioli is selling, but like most purchases, you really don’t know what you’ve got until it arrives. Second rounder, at best.
DUSTY IS GOING NOWHERE
Everyone knew that. But great work to drag this out to make it a six-week story. Dicks…
WHERE IS DAN MCSTAY GOING?
Shhhh, he’s not talking about it until the Lions’ season is finished, but early reports linked him to the Pies on a five year deal.
Don’t let McStay’s stats fool you – he is a pack crasher and a “get out of jail” marking player that is vital to a team’s structure. If he ends up at the Pies, he will play the long-leading forward role, taking the big marks on the wing and breaking down the defensive zone in the process.
For those who don’t understand the hype around his game, watch the way he gets up the ground to present an option for players coming out of defence – one or two of those garbs in a game are worth their weight in gold.
DOES JORDAN DE GOEY REMAIN A PIE?
He’s not been making headlines for a couple of months – long enough for the Pies to quietly slip a contract back under his nose.
We’ve heard snippets of other clubs testing the waters with de Goey – St Kilda being one – but he strikes me as a Collingwood man. I’d be surprised if he ended up anywhere else.
BRAD HILL TO NORTH MELBOURNE?
Look, Alastair Clarkson knows how to get the best out of Brad Hill, doesn’t he?
Then why did Hill play his best footy at Freo?
Anyway, I often talk about clubs buying the dream. The dream here is that Hill adds some genuine running outside class to North, and provides someone who can hit a target inside 50. The reality is that St Kilda bought that dream and it turned into a nightmare pretty quickly, with teams working out that Hill was completely incapable of winning his own footy, so they’d never allow him space.
Hill has bulked up a fair bit since he played for the Hawks but that has not seen him improve his ability to win the footy. He played mostly off half-back for St Kilda and if he can fill that role for North, he will likely make Aaron Hall a memory pretty quickly. He’ll turn it over a hell of a lot less, as well.
IS OLLIE HENRY EXPENDABLE?
This is one to watch.
Henry was in favour early in the season, but has not played a game in the seniors since Round 17 (I do not count sitting on your arse as the medi-sub and not being used as a game). He’s seen Ash Johnson go past him, has Beau McCreery as a pressure forward in the way, and hasn’t pushed past Jack Ginnivan, either.
The lineup for the Semi-Final saw Henry listed as an emergency. Is the writing on the wall, or is Henry patient enough to wait his turn?
For what it’s worth, teams would would kill for a young player with his skill include the Dogs, the Hawks, the Bombers, the Roos, the Blues, the Crows, and the Eagles. He has options aplenty, depending on whether he wants to leave, and where he wants to play his footy.
WILL AARON FRANCIS HEAD HOME?
A couple of years too late, if you ask me.
Francis turned 25 less than a month ago – these should be his prime years, but a combination of injury, homesickness, and mental health issues have seen him unable to fulfil his potential at Essendon.
Could a trip home light a fire under him and get him to play the type of footy he is capable of?
He is a ripping mark and could play a very good intercept role for either of the SA teams, and given the history outlined above, will not cost a lot.
Well worth the risk.
IS DYSON HEPPELL ON THE MOVE?
It has been reported that Gold Coast are eager to lure the Essendon captain away from The Hangar, with a four year deal (two as player, two as assistant coach), whilst the Bombers have placed a one-year deal in front of their leader.
Heppell played some good footy on the wing this season after moving into defence last year. Whilst he will most likely not provide a Luke Hodge at Brisbane type of role, he certainly cannot be worse than Rory Atkins, can he?
WHERE DOES GRIFFIN LOGUE END UP?
There will be no shortage of suitors for Logue once Freo’s season is over and done with. He is remaining quiet at the moment, but is certain to wander out the door.
Luckily for Freo, they have actually built a list capable of covering for him nicely, so despite it being a big loss in isolation, in the context of the team, he is coverable.
The Dogs are interested, as are North Melbourne, who are really looking at being a major player this trade period.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT BOBBY HILL?
Things have been quiet on the Bobby Hill front after he went in for treatment for testicular cancer, and we wish him all the absolute best in his recovery.
The retuns of Ben Cunnington and Sam Docherty augur well for Hill to do the same in 2023, but where he will do his work remains up in the air. Given his circumstances, I cannot see GWS digging their heels in the way they did following the 2021 season.
Hill requested a trade to Essendon last year but it fell through. Since then, he has been linked to Collingwood, but where he ends up is anyone’s guess at the moment.
As for the Giants, the blow of losing Hill will be offset by the return of Brent Daniels, who missed almost the entire 2022 season due to hamstring injury. I rate Daniels highly – if he can stay fit, his ceiling is pretty high.
AND BLAKE ACRES?
Plenty of discussion about Freo offering a lowball deal to Acres, which may prompt him to look elsewhere.
Carlton have been mentioned several times as a landing spot for the former Saint, with the wing a role where they are somewhat deficient.
Carlton have played Matt Cottrell, Lochie O’Brien, Zac Fisher, and Will Setterfield on the wing in 2022. Having Acres in the mix… he looks like walk-up start in the position.
GRUNDY TO THE DEES?
Wow… a couple of years back, it was Grundy v Gawn as the marquee ruck clash in the league.
Settle down, Eagles fans… Nic Nat was hurt and coming back from a second knee reconstruction, otherwise he’d have been in the mix, but Grundy v Gawn was the heavyweight main event.
And now it looks as though Grundy could head to play in a ruck tandem with his former nemesis.
Is this another of the long-term deals backfiring? Seems that way, doesn’t it? Grundy is contracted until after the 2027 season, so the Dees have to be supremely confident he will get himself right and work into the type of form that saw him obtain AA honours, and it will give Max Gawn a nice rest, particularly with Luke Jackson having one foot out the door.
IS TANNER BRUHN THE POTENTIAL BARGAIN OF THE TRADE PERIOD?
Yep. The team that gets this kid is going to be laughing.
His departure from GWS was always on the cards from the moment he appeared as though he’d been sucking on a lemon when his name was read out in the draft. He has never entertained a contract extension and will find a new home in 2023.
He played his footy for the Geelong Falcons and the Cats’ midfield would love some new blood in the mix. North Melbourne’s new coach has added Bruhn to his wishlist, obviously seeing the oak tree in the acorn, but ay team not taking at least a glance in Bruhn’s direction is not doing their due diligence. He’s 20, has 30 games under his belt and is ready to break out.
WILL JACK GUNSTON FIND ANOTHER HOME?
Brisbane has been mooted as the landing spot for Jack Gunston in 2023 as the Hawks continue to invest in youth.
The Lions are prepping for the exit of Dan McStay and though Gunston is nowhere near a like-for-like replacement, his goal sense could see him become a potent weapon inside fifty, allowing Eric Hipwood to be more of the lead up target to the wings.
As much as I like the role McStay plays for the Lions, a combination of Gunston, Hipwood, Daniher, Charlie Cameron, Linc McCarthy, and Cam Rayner… that is some heavy firepower for the Lions.
AND TOM MITCHELL?
You guys know I am a Hawks man… this makes me a little sad, but Tom Mitchell deserves better than the role he played in 2022. And I hope he finds it elsewhere.
If you buy into the “his disposals don’t hurt” rhetoric, I reckon you’ll be surprised once Mitchell has some quality mids to work with that genuinely complement his efforts. I don’t expect him to have 30+ per game wherever he lands, but I expect him to make those around him better.
And I expect people will notice.
LUKE JACKSON TO FREO?
This has the potential to start a revolving door of trades.
If Jackson heads to Freo, is Sean Darcy happy to share the spotlight? The Freo big man has established himself as a top-five ruckman in the game, and whilst we could see a double-act from the two big fellas, it leaves emerging ruckman, Lloyd Meek completely on the outer.
Meek is still contracted until following the 2023 season, but he has shown enough to warrant a bigger role. With Darcy and Jackson both in the mix, you can guarantee it won’t be at Freo.
If I were the Western Bulldogs, I would be sniffing around Meek like a real bulldog would sniff around another dog’s backside.
BAILEY SCOTT TO GEELONG?
We heard a few whispers the other week that Bailey Scott was a little unhappy with things at Arden Street and may look to head to the Cattery – another place his old man used to play.
Whether the arrival of Clarkson, and any subsequent talks, are able to sway him enough to stay at North remains to be seen, but he is now 55 games into his career and really should be ready to take the next step.
As much as I would like to say he is vital t the success of North, he’s not, and if he walks, they have a plethora of young talent more than capable of filling the role he leaves behind. Don’t sweat this one, Roos fans.
BEN LONG TO THE SUNS?
I have only heard this one recently and I have to say… I like it!
Long is a wrecking ball, whether he plays forward or back and has some of that genuine mongrel you cannot teach in his game.
I like what the Suns are building and if they can get a controlled version of Long’s aggression into their team, he will make a great set of bookends with Nick Holman when it comes to pressure footy.
RORY LOBB TO THE DOGS?
This bloke could be anything… or nothing, couldn’t he?
He has the ability to be one of the more dominant players in the league, but his form is so scattered and the difference between his best and worst is huge. The Dogs may see him as a way of relieving the best ruckman that cannot win hit outs. Tim English, but Lobb doesn’t enjoy playing in the ruck.
He didn’t enjoy playing at GWS, he didn’t enjoy playing at Freo… what makes you think he’s gonna be happy at The Kennel?
There is no way I would overpay for this bloke. None at all, but I am thinking as though I am spending my own money. List managers don’t think that way, do they?
PADDY DOW’S TIME IS UP
He should have asked to head elsewhere two years ago. Now, he is behind Cripps, Walsh, Cerra, Hewett, the janitor, his friend Robbo, and the dude who drops off lunches – I think his name is Matt Kennedy.
Dow needs to get out of Carlton before his window to establish himself as an AFL is completely closed. He is still only 22, but he has gone backwards and needs a new start to step forwards.
He has 63 games to his name and if he is ever going to make his mark, it just about has to be in 2023. Looking at lists that need good, young mids to bolster their lineups, the Cats, North, Hawthorn, St Kilda, Port, Brisbane, West Coast, and Adelaide would all provide opportunities.
Between him and the recently delisted Liam Stocker, an ex-Blue may end up being the 2023 version of Will Brodie.
HUNTER CLARK ON THE MOVE?
I just heard this one floated today – I have to admit, it took me a little by surprise.
A couple of years back, I started doing the A-Grade Ladder. It rated teams on current and potential A-Grade players. I did not list Clark as a potential A-Grader, and well… the Saints fans gave it to me. I take no joy at all in seeing him fail to meet their expectations, particularly as head knocks played a huge part in stifling his development and consistency.
Whilst no destination has been mentioned as yet, the potential for Clark to become a significant player, at just 23 years of age, remains in play.
WHERE DOES JOSH DUNKLEY END UP?
It looked as though he was Port Adelaide-bound, but late mail filtering through says that Brisbane may be poised to make a run at him to bolster their midfield.
Dunkley demonstrated his worth in the Dogs’ Elimination Final loss last week, working hard in the guts to return 23 touches and 14 tackles, but his ceiling is so much higher and he has been stuck behind Bont/Libba/Macrae, Treloar, and possibly Bailey Smith for a while now.
Wherever he ends up, I expect him to quickly move to establish himself as a top-two mid at the club.
So, I doubt I have exhausted all possibilities, here, but things are going to get very interesting in the next few weeks.