The Known-Unknowns Of The AFL Trade Period

So we covered the known knowns here.

Now it’s time to cover the known unknowns… or the unknown knowns.

It’s one of those two.

As Richmond fans are still celebrating their second flag in three years, the rest of the footy world has seemingly moved on quickly, and some are a little reluctant to delve into the murky waters that await their teams.

Adelaide is having a clean out, and Essendon are shocked by revelations of both Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia looking at greener pastures. Geelong is in a titter over the imminent departure of Tim Kelly, which has led to some amazingly ridiculous commentary from both those in the media, and even the Geelong list boss, Stephen Wells (see below).

So as we near the AFL’s silly season, and gear up for a plethora of players changing clubs, let’s have a look at some of the talent that are being floated as possible trades.


This has been a rollercoaster already, hasn’t it?

He’s on his way to Carlton… no, wait on – Sydney have him under contract and will keep him if the Blues don’t pony up pick nine. But hang on, he’ll play anywhere in Melbourne because he’s been so miserable in Sydney due to family situations in Victoria. He was considering walking away from footy… oh my!

Kind of makes the Swans look a bit asshole-ish if they don’t allow him to leave, huh?

Of course, you’d have to believe all the stories being written about the situation to subscribe to that course of events. The Blues are also in the hunt for Jack Martin, which really muddies the waters in terms of what they can and can’t do, and even a player like Charlie Cameron “only” cost Brisbane pick 12.

Is Papley worth more than Martin? Is he worth more than Cameron was? At 23, Papley has a lot of footy ahead of him. He is a known quantity in the AFL landscape and has threatened to break games open without ever really doing it consistently. His standout game of the year came against West Coast in Round 12 when he slotted five goals to go with his 27 touches (both career highs) and that alone would be enough to have plenty of teams interested.

So, if not Carlton, then who? North Melbourne is cashed up and still has the remnants of their WARCHEST! The western Bulldogs are on the rise and with a cool couple of million handed back by the retiring Tom Boyd, may be able to find some coin, however the potential additions of Alex Keath and Josh Bruce may eat that up.

Essendon? If they’re going to lose Fantasia (I’ll get to him), Papley is an upgrade. Hawthorn? Paul Puopolo is getting on, but with Jonathon Patton and Sam Frost reportedly on the way to Waverley, is it a little too much.

So, Carlton it is? Better pony up that number nine pick, then. It’s overs for mine, however.


Gold Coast wants a first rounder for Martin, who is out of contract and has the ability to walk into the pre-season draft if a deal cannot be struck. His preferred destination is Carlton, but with them also chasing Tom Papley, the Blues will either have to give up next year’s first pick, or get Gold Coast to agree to something significantly down the order – the Blues’ next pick is at 41, and there is no chance in hell that is all Martin is worth.

This is what you’ll hear from Carlton – “He’s unproven. Has only ever cracked 30 touches in a game once. We’re buying potential as he has delivered very little in his time at the Suns.”

This is what you’ll hear from Gold Coast – “He is very important to us and is coming into his prime. He was a pre-draft selection and we rate him incredibly high. Only a first round pick will do.”

What it all means – Martin has under-achieved at Gold Coast. He has all the ability in the world, but his drop off this season was significant. His first seven games of the season reaped 21.43 touches per game, but that reduced drastically to see him average 15.55 over his next nine games. I watched plenty of the Suns’ games this season, as I do all teams, and I reckon this bloke is a downhill skier. I hope the Suns can score a first rounder for him, but if I were in charge up North, I’d take a future second and a current third.

If Carlton are not willing to give up a future first,. I reckon the Suns buckle on this and trade for what Martin HAS produced, which is little, instead of what he could produce, which is plenty. I just don’t think we’ll see Martin as the player many thought he would be.


Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Earlier this season, I mentioned in an article that Fantasia was going to ask to be traded at the end of the year and Essendon fans started shooting me down.

And here we are.

Fantasia may just be one of those blokes who is never happy. Without a manager after six years in the game, and averaging his lowest amount of touches since his rookie year, Fantasia has looked disinterested in just about every contest I’ve watched him in this season.

I’ve been told that Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti is better with Raz in the side, but I’m not sold on it. He has looked like a player with his foot out the door all season. You think about it – what has been the three highlights of his season?

A crap hair-dye job, confusion over the pronunciation of his name, and being pinched a lot by Ben Stratton. That’s it!

So what will the Bombers want for him? They’ll either want a quality player – Sam Powell-Pepper would fit nicely into a team that doesn’t have any midfield bulls, or a draft pick. They’ll give us the “Orazio is a required player – we have him as part of our long-term plans.”

And what will you get from Port? “We’re interested in Fantasia as a solid contributor to our team. We believe a second round pick should suffice.”

Given his current form, I reckon Port are closer to the mark than the Bombers. Fantasia has been horrible this season, and if he genuinely wants to go, the Bombers should be driving him to the airport. Given their base is at Tullamarine, it’s not that big a trip. A second rounder is probably not good enough for what Fantasia is capable of producing, but it is definitely enough for what he produced this season.


No one saw this one coming, and I reckon Bomber fans would be fuming about the guy they’ve been waiting on, and banking on to find fitness and form, wandering out the door. His reasons are his own, but the Daniher name is gold at Essendon (until now) – it would be like a member of the Kennedy family leaving Hawthorn to play for… oh… that actually happened.

The Bombers are going to want two first-rounders for Daniher, and had he been able to get on the park more than 50% of the time over the past two seasons, perhaps that asking price would be justified. As it stands, the Swans are taking a bit of a risk in taking on a bloke made out of glass.

So, what’s a fair price for him? Are the Swans buying 2017 Joe Daniher, or the 2018-19 broken-down version?

It’s a similar position that Richmond found themselves in last season when they were chasing Tom Lynch, only they were able to sign him and “only” had to part with cash for the privilege. The Swans are parting with their future if two first round draft picks are on the cards.

Unless they can add a player of note, pick five has to be in play here, and it is a very attractive carrot. However, if they can somehow wrangle a first rounder from Carlton for Papley (pick nine) the Bombers would be all ears if someone like, say… Tom McCartin was involved.

But are two picks inside the top ten too much to risk for Daniher? Particularly if he is still having issues with his health?

I reckon they are unless you’re getting something back. Maybe the Bombers would strongly consider the likes of Papley? How about a pick swap? The Bombers don’t have a first rounder this season, but if they’re confident they can make good on their own high expectations could they part with a future first rounder?

So, in effect, here are two scenarios.

1 The Swans get Daniher and Essendon’s 2020 first rounder. The Bombers get picks five and nine, assuming the Swans move Papley.

Or 2, would you prefer the Swans get Daniher and the Bombers get pick five and Tom McCartin or Tom Papley?

Who says no to that? I’m guessing Sydney! Haha. Personally, I’d make an enquiry or two about Luke Parker.


What a difference 24 hours makes. Crouch wins the Adelaide best and fairest award, makes a speech about “us” and talks about “keeping the faith” and all of a sudden jets have been cooled when it comes to this potential deal?

I don’t think so.

Crouch would be an amazing get for Gold Coast, but pick one and two are far too important for them in the long term than anything Crouch could bring right now. That said, if the Crows could get the Suns to part with a future first rounder, maybe this could work out for everyone? Rowell and Anderson are the prizes they’re eyeing at the moment, and I’m speaking without knowledge here, but all reports are  that these two are head and shoulders above the rest in the draft. If so, the Suns should be moving heaven and earth to secure them and lock them down.

The Suns are happy to part with pick 15 for crouch, but that is nowhere near enough. But are we expecting the Suns to rise past possible 15th next season? Is a future first rounder enough of a carrot to dangle? In effect, the Crows would be getting pick 15 this season, and a pick in the 1-4 range in next year’s draft for a bit of short term pain.

The Suns should hold onto picks one and two at all costs, but with so many young fellas on their list, they may not require another group of ‘stars’ coming through next year. Get on the front foot and deal for next year’s pick. Either that or bite the bullet on Jack Lukosius, who is basically Jack Watt MK II and hand him over to the eager Crows – I reckon he is going to walk anyway.


He’s an interesting one, We hear Hawthorn is interested, then Melbourne, and now Brisbane are apparently interested. I reckon he is doing a great job of shopping himself around and creating a market.

He is superfluous to the Pies with so much talent in the forwardhalf, but could be a game-changer for a team like the Dees, who have now parted ways with Jeff Garlett and could do with some help for a forward line that could not hit the scoreboard meaningfully last season. Think of Tom McDonald, Sam Weideman, Christian Petracca and Jake Melksham with Elliott’s talents thrown into the mix  – that is a potent line up.

The Pies can match any offer Elliott receives, but with the looming re-signing of big fish (Grundy and de Goey) on the horizon, they’d be better off saving their coin to put in front of those two.

So, where does he get to?

Apparently the Hawks are out, but you just never know with them. Melbourne seems a great spot, but Brisbane – on the rise and with such a solid young list, would have to be tempting. Outside Charlie Cameron, their forward line is unreliable. Hipwood is prone to be up and down, McStay can’t walk and fart (or mark and kick goals) at the same time, and McCarthy is hit and miss as well. Adding Elliott would see a string marking small forward, and a nightmare forward 50 matchup, particularly with Cameron commanding so much attention.

The head says head up to Brisbane, but I think we’ll be seeing Elliott remain in black and white next season. He is a Collingwood man, and despite his injuries, they stuck by him.

Others to consider


Unable to break into the Tigers’ premiership team despite 16 games for 2019. I get that they’re all this wonderful team, part of a club and all… he’d have to be considering his options, though.


I just about fell over when I heard the Tigers were in the race for him. Just what they need – another hard at it mid.


I can’t believe his name has come up so often. Locked away at Port until the end of 2022, North are pretty keen on him (as should any club wanting a good key defender). I wouldn’t be allowing him to go anywhere unless a hefty price is paid.


Completely undervalued. Prior to 2019, had 40+ goals in five consecutive seasons. Would make an ideal second forward on a contender.


It’s unlikely, but if the Crows can swing a deal for one of the top two picks from Gold Coast… is a pairing of picks, say two and four too much for the Pies to pass up?


Also on the outer at Punt road, Butler’s stock has decreased dramatically over this past season. Out of contract and would likely be a bargain pick up that could be a difference maker if he can recapture form.

I’m sure there’ll be more as the trade period rolls on. Who will be the star no one is mentioning that ends up in the middle of a deal? And which team will pull out the surprise trade that rocks the footy world?