Another AFL Trade Period has come and gone, and as usual, it was the flurry of action in the final hour that made the arduous days of listening to the babble on NAB Trade Radio seem worthwhile. Actually, scratch that – the entire first week was rather pointless, and to be honest, absolutely boring.
Clubs postured and stalled, only to come together at the end and pull the trigger on deals they mostly had in mind since day one.
Hodge went to Brisbane, Ablett to Geelong, and Lever to Melbourne. However, a few surprises bobbed up along the way too.
Josh Schache got his ticket back to Melbourne and will now be a Bulldog, Lachie Weller became the first to want to go ‘home’ to the Gold Coast, albeit for a very high price, and the on-again, off-again Bryce Gibbs trade from Carlton to Adelaide finally got some traction.
The Good - ESSENDON
Essendon exorcised all of its trade demons by walking away with everything it wanted from the period. It bolstered a finals list with Bulldog outcast, Jake Stringer, Gold Coast speedster, Adam Saad and GWS mid, Devon Smith. Whilst some will question the defensive capacity of that trio, and how they’ll fit into an Essendon team that allowed the opposition to score more than any other side in the eight this season, John Worsfold's team have excelled in adding considerable firepower to their attack.
The Bombers lost midfield grunt in the retiring Jobe Watson, and outside run in Brent Stanton, but the additions from this trade period more than make up for those losses. Stringer and Saad are 23, and Smith is 24. They’ll be entering their peak years now, and will be in the red and black for many years.
Hats off to Adrian Dodoro. Many doubted he could pull off all three moves. He stayed the course, did not blink when staring down the Western Bulldogs, and took home everything the Bombers wanted from the period. Essendon will not have a draft pick until the third round, but their work this off-season is done. Time to enjoy a break.
The Good - PORT ADELAIDE
Port Adelaide did their work early, and did it well. Signing on with the Power are Jack Watts, Steven Motlop and Tom Rockliff, to push the Power right into contention.
They may have lost Jackson Trengove, Jarman Impey and Matthew Lobbe, but their net-gain is substantial. Rockliff is a relentless worker, and Motlop can be a match winner on his day. Watts will add a touch of class playing high half forward, where his delivery inside fifty will have Charlie Dixon licking his lips.
Port will not have a selection in the draft until the third round either, but they have bolstered their list, losing only fringe players in the process. They are eyeing a premiership and a lot of how far they go to achieving that goal will depend on the contributions of their new recruits.
The Good - CARLTON
Stephen Silvagni worked it all out this season. Like most GWS talent, Matt Kennedy is a known quantity to him, and he got his man. He also picked up Darcy Lang and a nice back up to Matthew Kruezer in Matthew Lobbe.
The real win for Carlton was successfully moving Bryce Gibbs to Adelaide. In a deal that (eventually) made everyone smile, Gibbs got to go home, Adelaide got their classy outside mid, and the Blues received a current and future first picks. Yep, even at 29 years of age, Gibbs was worth two first rounders.
The Blues now sit poised to make a big splash at this year’s draft, holding picks 3 and 10, making it one of the most prosperous trade periods in history for the Blues
The Bad - COLLINGWOOD
It’s hard to ascertain what Collingwood was up to this trade period. Quiet for most of it, the Magpies popped up on the last day to pick up unused Swan, Sam Murray.
Pundits have cited a very tight salary cap (probably due to the idiotic signings of Wells and Mayne last year) as the reason for Collingwood’s relative inactivity, but it’s more likely that they’re loading up for a tilt at Gold Coast star, Tom Lynch this time next year.
Maybe the Pies see more in Murray than Sydney has to this point, or maybe it’s just another baffling off-season move by Collingwood.
The Bad – GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
It’s about time GWS had a poor one. The AFL’s pet team lost Devon Smith, Matt Kennedy and Nathan Wilson and didn’t appear to gain much in return. They did receive pick 11 for the fleeing Smith, however this creates a foreign situation for the Giants; 2017 marks the first year they will not have a single pick inside the top ten in the national draft. No high draft picks for GWS… what is the football world coming to?
Kennedy and Smith played no part in the Giants finals series this year, but Wilson did, and will be missed. The Giants did stave off an approach by St Kilda for Adam Tomlinson, but they did not add to their list at all.
The Ugly- THE JAKE LEVER SITUATION
The mood around Lever departing was bad enough, but the petulance of the Adelaide representatives over the trade period only added to the situation. Whilst it is completely understandable to be annoyed that a young player you’ve put time and effort into was leaving, the Crows and their captain basically made asses of themselves in the days following Jake Lever’s decision to head to Melbourne.
They would put it down to playing hardball, but early on, the Crows were coming across as the sort of team no one would want to play for.
Luckily, they were redeemed. Their demands for Charlie Cameron were met, and they finally acquired Bryce Gibbs in a move that benefitted both them and the Blues (though in two years, if Adelaide do not have a flag, it will appear to be weighted heavily in Carlton’s favour).
The Ugly – NORTH MELBOURNE
If Collingwood were bad, the Kangaroos were atrocious. They lost Sam Gibson and picked up… no one. During the latter part of the season, they tried to lure both Josh Kelly and Dustin Martin to the club, only to see them re-sign with their current teams.
North then decided to clear out the list, moving Gibson on, as well as Aaron Mullett. Strangely, they opted to re-sign 34 year-old Jarrad Waite who was only capable of ten games in 2017. The Kangaroos have pick four in the draft, and would want to give their supporters something to get excited about, as they have neglected to do so thus far this off-season.
The Western Bulldogs’ grabbing Josh Schache late could be either a masterstroke or a dud. He enters a forward line with Travis Cloke and hopefully Tom Boyd. Expecting a Bulldog resurgence in 2018, it’ll be a real challenge to break into that side and maintain his place.
The Fremantle Dockers stated they wanted Pick 2, and refused to move on it. They got it. Lachie Weller is a real talent, but some would question whether he’s worth such a high price. If you’re Gold Coast, and have been prone to players walking out to “go home”, having a young player genuinely want to come play for you is a dream situation. On paper, maybe Weller would not appear to worth so high a pick, but for the Suns, it might be the best trade they’ve made. Win-win on that one.
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