There are some who live for this time of year – the speculation, the rumours and the possibilities of their team securing a big name in the upcoming trade period are enough to get their pulses racing and their heads swimming with thoughts of what could be.
However, truthfully, it just kind of pisses me off.
Just today I have heard that Brad Crouch is both going to Gold Coast and staying in Adelaide. I’ve heard that Tom Papley is wanting to go to Carlton, then that the Swans are very reluctant to let him go, and then that Papley will play anywhere in Melbourne in 2020 because he was miserable in Sydney.
I’ve been to Sydney a few times… I understand how he feels.
Joe Daniher is out the door, but we’ve heard nothing from him, Orazio Fantasia is getting rid of managers like they’re DVD Box Sets, and Dougal Howard is on his way out of Port whilst also being a required player and absolutely staying put.
For every story that states one thing, or radio “expert” that offers an insight, we get an almost immediate counter-point that sets the spinning wheel of the rumour mill turning the opposite direction.
The more I listen, the more I think it is just people talking for the sake of talking (an all-day trade radio show the week before anything can actually happen has a lot of air that needs to be filled).
So, while we continue to wonder about the possibilities the trade period will bring, I prefer to concentrate on what we are pretty sure is going to happen, as per players’ requests being made public. We’ll get to the known-unknowns soon enough, but in the meantime, these are the known knowns.
Let’s look at the impact some of these moves will have.
TIM KELLY TO THE WEST COAST EAGLES
Oh Stephen Wells… today the Geelong list manager claimed the club might even hold onto Kelly if a deal could not be done with West Coast.
Stephen, Stephen, Stephen… let’s get this straight – there is zero chance of you holding onto Kelly if a trade cannot be done. He will walk into the pre-season draft and find his way back to Western Australia whether you like it or not.
Anyway, Geelong will be talking up Kelly’s value and rightfully so, but they are definitely not in the driver’s seat on this deal. Kelly can wander off to the draft and leave the Cats with bugger all – it is definitely in the best interests of the club to secure what they can without making idiotic statements.
Both Geelong and West Coast are playing the game at the moment, and in the end, Kelly will wear blue and gold. There will be two first-rounders involved and maybe some steak knives, but unless a third club gets involved, the Cats may have to settle for two late first rounders.
And what will Kelly bring to the Eagles’ midfield? There is a perception from some that Kelly plays a little on the outside. They could not be more wrong. Kelly wins his own ball at stoppages and hurts with his disposals. He led the Cats in clearances and was second only to Patrick Dangerfield in contested touches. Throw him in there with Yeo, Shuey and Sheed, and the Eagles have a quartet that is capable of ripping games apart.
CAM ELLIS-YOLMEN TO BRISBANE
This is such an underrated move.
Earlier this season I watched Ellis-Yolmen have a realisation. He started puffing out his chest, holding the ball above his head to prevent it from being knocked free, and started wading his way through tackles. It was as though he had an epiphany – these blokes can’t stick their tackles on me! I’m a damn beast!
In was really surprised that Essendon didn’t have a real crack at CEY. He is exactly the kind of big bodied mid their club is lacking to ease the inside burden on Merrett, Heppell and Shiel (and even Smith), and would prevent the need of throwing Stringer onto the ball to demonstrate some strength in the centre bounces.
Ellis-Yolmen will create a path for Lachie Neale at stoppages, and will use that big body of his to crash and bash for the Lions, which players like McLuggage will relish. I’m not sure which announced move I like best yet, but this one is right up there.
HUGH GREENWOOD TO GOLD COAST
Perfect pick up for the Suns, with his ability to stand in tackles and run out entire games a godsend for a club that was struggling with players incapable of doing either. At 27, Greenwood is not one of the two-year, retirement home prospects that clubs seem to be keen to offload onto Gold Coast – Greenwood is ready to play his best footy right now.
You can see him slotting in both on-ball, and off the half forward flank, but it is painfully clear to me that Greenwood can a) play a defensive roll at stoppages as well as anyone, and b) beat his man overhead, particularly when matched up against a mid.
I’ve watched Greenwood for a couple of seasons and felt that he has been played out of position at Adelaide more often than not, and I’m looking forward to seeing him flourish with opportunity aplenty with the Suns.
BRANDON ELLIS TO GOLD COAST
I don’t think any of us would ever term Ellis one of Richmond’s leaders, but the way he fought back into this side, and earned his second premiership medal in the process, indicates that he is a player who knows how to work hard and is willing to put in the effort to reap the rewards.
What Ellis brings to the Gold Coast is a winning culture, and those on the Suns currently would be well-served in listening when Ellis starts talking about what Richmond is doing right.
Ellis will probably have to do a lot more heavy lifting than he did at Richmond. At 26, he should be at his best right now, and his willingness to run all game is exactly what the Suns require.
I’m pleased for Ellis, but in a move that will surely ruffle a few feathers, the Tigers are set to receive a compensation pick for Ellis under the rules of free agency. They will get a nice little pick up as a result of Ellis leaving. Yep, that’s a bit of a joke – kind of compromises free agency as a whole. And that applies to all clubs; not just the Tigers.
ED LANGDON TO MELBOURNE
The Dees are desperate for some run and carry after putting all their stocks in ball-winning mids… which is great until you need someone to run with the footy and actually kick it well.
Will Langdon be the bloke to start spotting up targets inside 50? Langdon averaged over 17 uncontested touches in 2019, loving life when he was given space to put the foot down along the wing.
I’d like to see him with more attacking run, with almost as many rebound 50 disposals as inside 50 ones, but at 60% kicking efficiency, he will have to start nailing targets to give the Dees value for money.
BRAD HILL TO ST KILDA
The Saints just seem to be adding parts here and there without a real plan… I’m sure there is one, but after Hannebery last year, and their pursuit of Sam Draper despite having Rowan Marshall emerging as a genuine ruck over the course of 2019, the Saints come across as a bit of a mish-mash of good players.
Is Brad Hill’s run going to help them turn the corner?
Hill had a career-best season in 2019, averaging over 25 touches for the first time in his career, and whilst many call him a speedster, it is his endurance that hurts teams. Hill is running at the same speed, over the same distance in the last quarter as he is in the first, and given the Saints competed in seven games decided by two goals or less, Hill’s ability to gain distance late in the game will be a huge boon.
PADDY RYDER TO ST KILDA
And what was I saying about St Kilda mish-mashing their recruitment. Two rucks did not work at Port Adelaide, and I can only think that Ryder’s recruitment to Moorabbin is as much to give Rowan Marshall the chance to play forward as it is because they appreciated Ryder’s prowess in the ruck.
It was just last year that Ryder hobbled around with an Achilles complaint, and Saints fans would be hoping he had put that right behind him now. He is able to head forward and clunk marks – maybe where the Port Adelaide ruck duo failed so miserably, the St Kilda version could flourish?
JACK STEVEN TO GEELONG
If you’re a Cats fan, are you worried about this? I don’t think you should be putting the house on Steven making the big difference between prelim final losers and premiers – his recent record does not speak of a player who is ready to contribute at the highest level on a continued basis.
Two leaves of absence due to mental health reasons in 2019, and a less than impressive physical condition upon his return probably means Steven is a nice fourth midfielder and half forward flanker than he is match-winner. Much was made of his 22 touches and three goals, but it was the next week that made an impression on me – ten touches and no goals against the Blues, as Carlton defenders continually used his lack of match fitness to their advantage, running off him and leaving Steven in their wake.
How good Steven is for Geelong depends on what shape he shows up in. If they get the 2017-18 version of Jack Steven, the Cats will have picked up a steal. If they have inherited the 2019 version… well, I don’t suppose they’ve given up too much for him anyway. It’s a low cost investment.
ADAM TOMLINSON TO MELBOURNE
After being linked with St Kilda every off-season in recent history, the Giants are finally waving goodbye to Tomlinson, as he will join the Dees to offer another outside presence with a bit of run.
With Ed Langdon on one wing and Tomlinson on the other, the Dees are hoping that these two will provide the run and carry to aid their midfield, in-and-under crew of Brayshaw, Viney and Oliver.
Is Tomlinson the guy to provide it? I’m not sold. His finals series, playing on the wing for the Giants, was hardly convincing, with his seven touches against the Lions one of his worst outings for the club. To me, Tomlinson looks like a key forward playing a winger’s role. I wonder if he will ever get the chance to play as a lead up forward at Melbourne?
JONATHON PATTON TO HAWTHORN
There are few bigger risks in footy than a bloke who has had three knee reconstructions coming to your club, but the Hawks are big on Patton providing a marking target to ease the burden of Jarryd Roughead’s departure and the expectations placed on Mitchell Lewis.
There is no doubting Patton’s talent – you don’t go number one in the draft for no reason (unless you’re Jack Watts… ouch). Patton has averaged two contested marks just once in his career (2017) and the Hawks will be hopeful he can offer more of the same.
The worry is his knees, and the Hawks go into this hoping for the best, but no doubt preparing for the worst. If Patton goes down again, that’s it – career over.
SAM FROST TO HAWTHORN
This is a good pick up. James Frawley is nearing the end and the Hawks are in need of a big-bodied, athletic defender to take his place. They pinched Frawley from Melbourne years ago, and now they’re looking at repeating the dose.
Frost is highly capable but gets a bit of the Adam Saads about him at points and runs flat out in one direction before realising he’s running into trouble, turning and running the exact opposite direction. It’s the chook with no head syndrome, but when he attacks the ball in a straight line, I wouldn’t want to be in his way.
I can’t see the Dees getting much back for Frost, who has obviously seen the writing on the wall at Melbourne, with both Steven May and Jake Lever looking as though they will be controlling play in the back half.
ALEX KEATH TO THE WESTERN BULLDOGS
Another astute pick up, Keath was mooted as being a possibility for All-Australian early in the season. Keath’s forte is intercept defending, and with Tom Doedee due for a welcome return, the opportunity for Keath to head east beckoned.
The Dogs won’t be coughing up a heap to secure him, but his recruitment will ease the burden on Jackson Trengove and Easton Wood down back and provide a few headaches for opposition coaches trying to cut into the Dogs’ forward fifty.
EDDIE BETTS TO CARLTON
You have to give it to Carlton in terms of their logic. They cut Daisy Thomas from their squad because he is too old, despite the fact he had a pretty bloody good season, and then they’re looking at adding Eddie Betts to the mix…
… who is older than Thomas and coming off a shit season unless you count his two bags of six against the Gold Coast Suns as anything but flat track bullying.
But Betts will be a nice, nostalgic touch for the Blues, and will definitely add a bit of flair to a forward line that struggled to find a consistent small forward.
JOSH BRUCE TO THE WESTERN BULLDOGS
I really like this move by the Dogs, adding Bruce to a young forward set up alongside Aaron Naughton.
I love the way Naughton goes about it, and at 19, his 32 goals for the season were impressive. Still Bruce added 36 snags for the saints, and will take a lot of the heat of Naughton’s shoulders. Add to that the 38 goals of Sam Lloyd, and the late season surge of Bailey Dale with 21 goals, and the Dogs are looking pretty lethal up forward.
Interesting that the Dogs are yet to re-sign Tory Dickson. Maybe it’s because he has a name like a female cheerleader?
Dickson had 24 goals of his own in 2019, but looking at their set up, it’s hard to see where he fits.
SAM JACOBS TO GWS
Geez Sam, if only the Giants could have pinched you for the Grand Final – poor old Mummy got monstered in that one.
This season was the first that Jacobs has missed significant time since getting to Adelaide in 2011 and the Giants would be hoping this year was an anomaly and not the new normal for Sauce.
Jacobs is not going to rack up huge numbers, but he is rarely completely dominated in the hit outs, and that was an area GWS fell down in 2019. As long as he can stay on the park, it’s a huge win for the Giants.
So they’re our known knowns at the moment. They’ve nominated where they want to go and the clubs will do their best to facilitate it, unless they’re free agents and can do what they like… right Cam Ellis-Yolmen and Adam Tomlinson?
In the next day or two we’re going to start diving into our known unknowns, and that’s where the waters get a little muddy. Orazio Fantasia, Joe Daniher, Brad Crouch, Jamie Elliott… we’ll open up a can of worms with those names.