An active trade week is on the cards
What is going on here? Trade week begins today and we’ve already got Brock McLean moving on, Barry Hall hanging out at the kennel, Josh Gibson and Shaun Burgoyne looking almost Hawthorn-bound and even Brendan Fevola has made it onto the market.
Last year, only six players moved clubs in the trade period. The big, blockbuster trade that pushed the 2pm deadline to its utter limits was – wait for it – Robbie Warnock moving from Fremantle to Carlton!
This year, you can already name five likely trades before the week has begun.
And that’s without having to throw in the ruckmen that could be moved on, like Darren Jolly and Mark Seaby, to name a couple. Or names like Andrew Lovett and Bradd Dalziell, or the host of others discontent at their current clubs.
So put away your free agency protest plans, forget the annual whinge over player movement and go grab that copy of the AFL Prospectus you bought in March purely because you thought you had a chance of winning Dream Team this year.
Because it’s trade week, just not as you know it.
McLean’s move from Melbourne to Carlton in exchange for a first-round draft pick is likely to be the first trade rubber-stamped. Hall’s move from Sydney to the Western Bulldogs could follow, although it doesn’t appear as though an agreement has been struck between clubs just yet.
Moving the likes of Essendon’s Lovett – who is seeking out for the second year in a row – and Brisbane’s Dalziell – who wants to return to Western Australia – may be dependent on what other trades take place.
The same can be said for Fremantle’s Marcus Drum, who appears Victoria-bound, and Richmond’s Andrew Raines, who wants to head back to Queensland. St Kilda’s Luke Ball is another that could be thrown into the mix, depending on what’s being offered.
As for Hawthorn, well, they are a club that can certainly talk the talk. But following on from last year’s failed attempt to nab Ryan O’Keefe from the Swans, you have to wonder if they can walk the walk.
They are in need of a key defender and Gibson tends to fit that bill. North’s new coach Brad Scott has confirmed that he won’t be around next year, and although saying no deal had been reached, president James Brayshaw conceded a week ago it was “highly likely” Gibson would be a Hawk next year.
The acquisition of Burgoyne appears less certain. The Port Adelaide midfielder has nominated Hawthorn as his club of choice, but the deal must be sealed both financially with the player and trade-wise with Port, and other clubs continue to circle.
Of course, the headline-maker this week will be Fev.
He might go to Collingwood. He might go to Brisbane. He might be the subject of an elaborate “this really is your last chance” message and end up staying at Carlton. His situation might put a lot of other deals on hold as clubs wait to see what happens.
Right now, it’s all a bit murky. Rumours have been flying all over the place about where he’ll end up. Who knows how this one will play out?
And as if things weren’t complicated enough, fans must accept the other uncertain aspect of the week ahead – the trades we don’t yet know about. Nobody saw the McLean-to-Carlton move coming, who’s to say there aren’t more deals in the works right now?
One thing that is known for sure is that this trade week is offering something that those in recent years haven’t. It’s called a sense of excitement.
Maybe it is the apparently-shallow draft. Maybe everyone is scared about the Gold Coast. Maybe everyone is scared that the Gold Coast’s access to 17 year-olds is the reason for the apparently-shallow draft.
Whatever it is, trade week hasn’t been this anticipated for some time. I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens.
Michael DiFabrizio is completing his journalism degree. As an AFL writer, he has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009, and appeared in The Age and on ABC television and radio. Follow Michael on twitter @mdifabrizio
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