It’s probably one of the most exciting times of the year post-AFLW season, along with the Draft. Yes that’s right, it’s the Trade Period – players moving on, draft hands strengthened as all 14 clubs look towards the new season, which actually is looking like it’ll kick off in December this year, it all feels like it’s going so fast.

Last year, I covered the seven biggest winners of the trade period, but this year I’ll look at every club’s movements as they head towards the next phase of the off-season. It’s a big piece, so I won’t waste any more time carrying on here with an introduction.

 

Adelaide

Incoming: Nil
Outgoing: Chloe Scheer
Draft Picks: 17, 20, 34, 47, 63

A pretty easy team to look at here. The biggest thing is losing Chloe Scheer. Whilst it’s great that she managed to get back on the park following missing all of 2020 recovering from that knee injury she sustained in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final, it looks like the Cats are offering plenty that the Crows can’t afford her – whether it’s money, minutes in the midfield or a combination of both, possibly there’s a third thing in there as well, but the bottom line is that the Crows would struggle to match what Geelong was offering.

They’ll enter the draft with five picks, which basically means nothing to them as the Crows hold access to all the talent in the South Australian talent pool and there are quite a few women in the SANFLW that they can look at to bolster their side. It’s easy to look at the team and go ‘there’s not much that needs to be fixed’ but they must surely be looking at life after Erin Phillips, because you know what they say, ‘nothing lasts forever’.

 

Brisbane

Incoming: Nil
Outgoing: Nil
Draft Picks: 18, 35, 50, 64

Well as the reigning premiers, there probably wasn’t much, if at anything Brisbane needed to do other than to get the premiership players to re-commit to the club for another year. Lauren Arnell and Emma Zielke the only two players from the premiership side that won’t be there next season, but the core pieces of the group will all be back and ready to go for two in a row. Craig Starcevich and this Brisbane side have proven over the past five years that anything is possible with this group.

By the time Brisbane get to their first pick, the Suns would have taken up all the best available Queensland players you’d imagine, so I think they’d look at getting the best available talent at pick eighteen – which is the fourth Queensland selection and possibly getting a couple of Academy selections in late.

 

Carlton

Incoming: Jess Dal Pos
Outcoming: Tayla Harris, Jess Hosking, Chloe Dalton, Katie Loynes, Alison Downie
Draft Picks: 10, 11, 23, 26, 40, 58

The Blues were definitely one of the more active clubs in the trade period. Unfortunately for them, they lost more players than they brought in. Jess Dal Pos is a player that will slot right into this side and could provide a few roles – possibly play as a half forward or possibly higher up the ground.

At least they got some value for Tayla Harris, after a long-winding saga about her future in the game was up in the air for quite some time, which meant the Blues could’ve lost her for nothing. What it does mean for the Blues though will mean defensive attention will point towards Nicola Stevens next year, who enjoyed a career-best year up forward.

Chloe Dalton is a big loss for them structurally. Having missed all of this year due to her preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, Dalton’s tough approach to the contest in tandem with her ability to run and use the ball quite efficiently was missed in Carlton’s forward half this season. Jess Hosking requesting out of the club in the final minute of the trade period was the last thing that they needed, but she ultimately got her wish to join her twin sister at Richmond.

Downie and Loynes were virtually handed their marching orders before the last game of the season, but they were great servants of the club. Their departures do say that they’re going to commit to a younger approach for next season. Holding picks 10, 11, 23 and 26 equate to picks 6, 7, 14 and 16 in the Victorian Draft is good to build on, especially with expansion looming, and hell knows what that has in store for the Victorian clubs.

 

Collingwood

Incoming: Sabrina Frederick, Alison Downie
Outgoing: Maddie Shevlin
Draft Picks: 29, 32, 33, 62

A good trade period by the Pies after just missing out on a Grand Final berth. They went for players that will fill in gaps in certain positions. The two big positions that they needed to address was the key forward and the ruck spots, and they’ve done that by bringing in two experienced heads.

The sudden retirement of Sharni Norder and now the premature retirement of Abbey Green to injury meant that Collingwood has very thin ruck stocks. I like Bella Smith, but she’s still pretty raw and will take a few seasons to develop, so bringing in Alison Downie from Carlton as a delisted free agent is shrewd recruiting. She may only be in the team for next season, but it will give them a big body that will compete in ruck contests – that’s better than nothing.

Next season will be a massive one in the career of Sabrina Frederick. Her two years at Richmond yielded very poor results on-field in an individual sense, but I will admit, her efforts at ground level were much better this season than any season she’s had before, so I do believe she’s gonna get better come round one, next season. Maddie Shevlin is a good player, but the Pies were doing well enough without her in the side, although I am a little skeptical about giving away a first-round pick as well in the deal, feels like it pays massive overs for Frederick, but I guess we’ll see here.

 

Fremantle

Incoming: Nil
Outgoing: Evie Gooch
Draft Picks: 14, 31, 38, 46, 60

The only move made from the Dockers is trading away Evie Gooch for a third-round draft pick. It sounds wild to think that it was only in the 2020 season that Gooch played such a strong part of Fremantle’s defensive system. But with the rise of Janelle Cuthbertson to All-Australian this year, and the emergence of players such as Emma O’Driscoll, Matilda Sergeant and Laura Pugh, meant that Gooch became more of a depth option at this point.

They also will be without Ashley Sharp for next season due to pregnancy – all the best to her and her partner – and even though she struggled to hit the scoreboard this season, it opens up a spot in the forward line for the Dockers heading into the Draft. They will have picks 2, 5, 6, 8 and 10 in the WA Draft pool this year and it’s reported that the WA draft is a more shallow one than recent years.

 

Geelong

Incoming: Chloe Scheer, Chantel Emonson
Outgoing: Liv Purcell
Draft Picks: 2, 7, 9, 15, 52

Heading into the trade period, all the focus was on the departure of Liv Purcell after a very poor year by the Cats. Didn’t make things any easier when coach Paul Hood stepped down around the same time. Purcell’s a massive loss for them, a club best and fairest winner last year and was looking well on track again before she went down with that knee injury.

But as we head out of the trade period, I think the Cats have done quite well for themselves, bringing in two players that will be regulars in their best 21 next season. Scheer’s a player that I can see making a big difference to their on-ball brigade – she’s got incredible talent of finding the contested footy and as her 2019 season showed, she can be a very handy option in front of goals.

Chantel Emonson comes across from Melbourne as part of the Purcell deal – she’s an elite runner, which means that she could potentially play down along the wing or at half back. One of Geelong’s biggest deficiencies this year was their ability to hit targets and Emonson has shown that she can use the ball effectively by foot.

The Cats will also walk into the draft with four picks inside the top 15 overall, but in terms of Victorian talent, they will get the first pick of the Victorian stars, as well as the fourth and fifth selections and pick 15 will be the 10th Victorian selection. Oh, and Nina Morrison will be back in the side next season as well, so there’s much to look forward to at the Cattery.

 

Gold Coast

Incoming: Vivien Saad, Claudia Whitfort
Outgoing: Nil
Current Draft Picks: 1, 6, 8, 30, 51

Some interesting list changes all around for the Gold Coast Suns, bringing in a pair of players that fit either their list demographic, or fill in a key need. They did also put up picks six and eight up for trade, but no one was answering the call – which isn’t the worst thing in the world. However, there are a few delistings in there that make me question what it is exactly that new coach Cameron Joyce is doing with this team?

With Viv Saad, the Suns get themselves a player that will aid Lauren Bella in the ruck. There’s no questioning what Bella can do and her status as one of the brightest rucks in the comp has a lot of merit to it, but what happens if she goes down with injury? This is a smart acquisition not only in terms of depth, but it could also help Bella get acclimatized to playing a couple of other roles around the ground.

Claudia Whitfort is only 21, so it does help the Suns with a player that has both experience at senior level and has still got plenty of room to grow and become a solid piece to their next push for the premiership. They’ve got the first three picks in the Queensland talent pool, so they’ve got every chance to continue to build on that squad from the ground up.

It’s this reason that I can see why they delisted Leah Kaslar – she’s on the back-end of her playing career at 35, but the delistings of both Jordann Hickey and Paige Parker still remain a mystery to me, as I’m sure it remains a mystery to many.

 

Greater Western Sydney

Incoming: Chloe Dalton, Jasmine Grierson, Katie Loynes
Outgoing: Jess Dal Pos, Elle Bennetts, Aimee Schmidt
Draft Picks: 37, 56

The Giants are probably one of the biggest winners of the Trade Period, bringing in three players that should help them get over the hump that they’ve found themselves in over the past few years. This season was a bit challenging for them, but they still found themselves at the middle of the road, with the inability to generate scores and show class with the ball still a concern.

They lost both Dal Pos and Bennetts to Victorian clubs as well as Aimee Schmidt to West Coast which will hurt to some extent, but they did bring in three players that I think can cover and help the Giants get that next step in. Dalton gives the Giants not only another scoring avenue to goal, but her tenacity towards the contest means that she will add plenty of pressure around the stoppages as well.

Loynes was virtually the steak knives in the deal, but she will add a lot of grunt in the midfield and may help Alyce Parker add that next layer to her game that will truly make her great – scoreboard impact. I’ve liked Grierson’s ability to float in as an intercept third tall defender at North over the past few years – I think she’s a little underrated, it could help out some of the other defenders cover the loss of Bennetts’ run and carry with the footy.

They will enter the draft with two picks later down the order, but as they only have access to the NSW/ACT region the picks won’t matter too much to them, but they would want to hope they make the most out of those two picks.

 

Melbourne

Incoming: Tayla Harris, Liv Purcell
Outgoing: Chantel Emonson
Draft Picks: 42, 44, 49, 61

Much like last year when the Demons traded away established players to get early picks in the draft, Melbourne have gone the full-send at the trade table, making their intentions known that they won’t be messing around in the next few years.

Their premiership chances will hinge on what sort of impact Tayla Harris can make on this team next season. This year was far from her best and that’s common knowledge, but we all know what her best football can bring – pack-crashing, contested marking and is capable of hitting the scoreboard consistently. Tegan Cunningham has retired, so it means it’ll be a three-pronged key forward attack of Harris, Jackie Parry and Alyssa Bannan – quite young, but also quite capable.

The knee injury to Liv Purcell earlier in the year means that she will most likely not feature in Melbourne’s 2021/22 campaign or if she does feature, it won’t be until very late in the piece. But she’s an excellent contested-ball winner and clearance extractor – once she’s fully fit, that midfield brigade of Paxman, Mithen, Hanks, Gay – possibly Zanker – and now Purcell means that the Demons midfield bats extraordinarily deep.

Their first pick won’t be until the third round and by then, most of the exciting young talent will be taken off the board, but their track record of picking up players either late in the draft or through overseas has been good in recent years – Shelley Heath pick 44 in 2018, Parry pick 54 in the 2019 and Gab Colvin pick 77 in the same year and all three have become staples in this team over the past couple of seasons.

 

North Melbourne

Incoming: Nil
Outgoing: Vivien Saad
Draft Picks: 13, 19, 28, 45, 59

Not an eventful trade period for the Kangaroos in comparison to some others, but I think they’ll head into the new season very buoyant about their chances. They couldn’t get a deal done for the Western Bulldogs’ Kim Rennie, which means that the Roos will have to rely on her availability on Draft Night to get her in the blue and white – which I have no doubt that they will get their woman on the night.

Losing Viv Saad to Gold Coast as well means that their ruck stocks are left quite thin at the time being and I’m pretty sure Darren Crocker and the crew at North Melbourne like the idea of Emma King playing more as a key forward than a ruck option. King’s a great contested grab and a good kick for goal, but I’m not sure if her as a key forward is the way.

The Saad deal means that North get an extra draft pick in the top 20 and that’s not a bad spot to be in for the Roos, who have had an abundance of talent at their disposal since coming into the league – picks 13 and 19 equate to picks 9 and 12 in the Victorian part of the Draft.

 

Richmond

Incoming: Maddie Shevlin, Poppy Kelly, Jess Hosking
Outgoing: Sabrina Frederick
Draft Picks: 5, 16, 55, 57

I liked Richmond’s trade period this off-season – much like last season, they kept themselves busy and brought in more experience to help their younger brigade of players and as a result, season 2021 was a much more competitive year for the Tigers. What they’ll be pleased about is that they will still have two picks inside the top 20 come Draft night as well. Pick five will land them a quality top-three Victorian talent and pick 16 equates to pick 11 in the Victorian draft.

They re-arranged their ruck department but ousting Alice Edmonds and bringing in Poppy Kelly, who should provide solid back-up to Gabby Seymour, who showed lots of progress this season – she’s got the athletic attributes to be a presence up forward as well as the ruck, where she was promising for the Saints last season.

Maddie Shevlin will add a lot of run and drive in a few positions around the ground, making her a handy acquisition after losing Frederick to the Pies in the same trade, whilst adding Jess Hosking at the last minute was not just a shock to the footy world, but a big win for the Tigers as she will add more run around the ground – she was quite handy in the forward half for Carlton this year.

A couple of interesting delistings as well – They will recommit to Akec Makur Chuot in the AFLW draft, but chopped Phoebe Monahan, just over a year removed from her having her best season in the competition as well as Em Harley and Cleo Saxon-Jones – two key forwards that have been super impressive in the VFLW this season.

 

St Kilda

Incoming: Nil
Outgoing: Poppy Kelly, Claudia Whitfort
Draft Picks: 4, 12, 36, 39, 48, 54

Overall, a very disappointing draft for the Saints. They were slated to offer Ebony Marinoff massive money to get her to defect from the Crows, which she eventually turned down and re-signed at Adelaide for a further two years.

She would’ve been massive for their on-ball brigade which is still critically young, but now the focus goes to the draft where they have picks four and 12 – which equate to picks two and eight in the Victorian Draft – A midfield core of Georgia Patrikios, Tyanna Smith and someone like Charlie Rowbottom would be bloody salivating for Saints fans.

They will however need to address their ruck stocks at some point through the Draft as well, trading away Poppy Kelly in a bit of a strange deal as I thought her 2020 season was pretty promising for someone still relatively young and developing. Rhi Watt had a good year in ruck and could probably hold it down for another few seasons, but they would need to look at rucks for the future.

 

West Coast

Incoming: Evie Gooch, Aimee Schmidt
Outgoing: Nil
Draft Picks: 3, 21, 24, 41, 53

My initial reaction to West Coast’s trade period is a pretty positive one. A bit like the Tigers, I thought their season showed big signs of growth in the side and over this off-season, they added in two players that have got a lot of experience at senior level and should slot right in to their best 21 come next season and will have three of the first four WA-based selections in the Draft as well.

Their scoring still is a worry, but they got a bit out of both Grace Kelly and Imahra Cameron this year and I expect the acquisition of Aimee Schmidt from the Giants to help them out a bit. She’s a fair height at 173 centimetres and also is quite quick and agile. Her efficiency in front of goal has been problematic in recent years, but I think she will have no problem generating scores and getting involved if she gets a good run at it.

Evie Gooch coming across from rivals Fremantle will help bring a lot of stability to the defence that is steadily becoming one of the more underrated strengths of this team. Tayla Bresland was a good get for them last year and she showed plenty in the games she played. Chantella Perera has battled on tremendously in her first two years as a key defender, but she can’t do it all herself.

 

Western Bulldogs

Incoming: Elle Bennetts
Outgoing: Nil
Draft Picks: 22, 25, 27, 43

As a Bulldogs supporter, this was a trade period that I have mixed thoughts about.

Let’s start with the acquisition of Elle Bennetts – it’s a very good get and one that I think will add plenty around the middle part of the ground. Bennetts has showed a lot in defence in past years, intercepting and providing run and carry, but I think she evolve into a strong wing role for the Dogs, where her run and use of the ball can be put to good use.

As for the draft picks – trading away the first round pick for a couple of second rounders is a little head scratching, but picks 22, 25 and 27 do equate to picks 13, 15 and 17 in the Victorian Draft and that’s not a bad little draft hand to some extent. Their original pick – pick 11 would’ve landed them the seventh Victorian selection in the Draft, but they wouldn’t have got their three picks now if they didn’t do the deal – who knows what’ll happen come the Draft.

The Dogs would like another goal-scoring option if they can find one this far down the line, otherwise I think the list is actually in good shape.