Winners and losers from the AFL meat market
It started with a bang. But the AFL Trade Period is quickly running out of steam. Why? Three bloody weeks, that’s why.
As the 18 clubs continue their childish stalemate before activity predictably resumes in a flurry 10 minutes out from the deadline, let’s take a brief look back at what we’ve seen so far. Let’s see which teams have come out on top, and which ones lost out at the trade table.
Collingwood: With the introduction of free agency and all the concerns about the big clubs eating the little ones whole, they were always going to end up here, weren’t they? But to their credit, they’ve done some terrific business.
In comes the big Q-Tip, key forward Quentin Lynch, who joined the Pies as a free agent at the very opening of the window. He might be 29 but he is a proven goalkicker and a clear upgrade from Chris Dawes.
Plonk the Q-Stick next to the recently-resigned Travis Cloke in the forward 50 and Collingwood will have one of the best forward lines in the competition in 2013. As part of the Dawes trade to Melbourne, they got pick 20 – and for Sharrod Wellingham, they got pick 17 from West Coast. Hard not to see that as a massive net profit.
GWS: The expansion club’s fascination with hoarding draft picks continues. Never mind the fact that they’re using the mini-draft in the exact opposite way it was intended.
As a result of their wheeling and dealing with Melbourne and Gold Coast for talented 17-year-olds, the Giants now have the first three picks in the national draft and a total of five of the first 13.
If that doesn’t confirm their future powerhouse status, then nothing will. They also hung onto ruckman Jonathan Giles, who was being courted by Adelaide before his contract stand-off was settled.
With Leon Cameron signed up as Kevin Sheedy’s successor starting 2014, something will have gone wrong if there’s no silverware in the cabinet by the end of the decade. There’s just too much potential.
Hawthorn: Basically, they’ve swapped Tom Murphy for Brian Lake. The former straddled the fence between solid stopper and depth player, and will find a little more room to grow on the Gold Coast. A shift there did wonders for Matthew Warnock last year.
The latter is a proven defender who wants premiership glory before he retires and knows he wasn’t going to get it at Whitten Oval. He cost the Hawks six spots in the draft order. Worth it, you’d say.
Geelong: There’s a reason Josh Caddy was one of the hottest properties on the market. He’s a gun, already. Effectively, 2012 was his debut season, having spent almost all of Gold Coast’s first season sidelined with injury.
To play every single game this year on the back of that is the mark of a young player who has already found his level. Caddy almost represents where Geelong is at the moment – perhaps not a premiership contender yet, but certainly building in the right direction.
Port Adelaide: Harsh. They’re only just here, to be fair. And it’s not necessarily because of the losses of free agents Troy Chaplin (Richmond) and Danyle Pearce (Fremantle). Any Port fan will tell you those two needed a fresh start years ago.
The Power are here because of their inactivity up to this point. With the ink still drying on new coach Ken Hinkley’s contract, there wasn’t a whole lot the club could do but sit and watch all the business happen without them.
Angus Monfries is a nice buy, but there’s a whole lot more that needs to be done in a short period of time to give this tired old list a desperately-needed makeover. The fact that everyone else had a head start is no great help.
Adelaide: Not their fault, but this is one of the disappointing things about the AFL player movement system.
Kurt Tippett was two years away from free agency but he’s been acting an awful lot like one, nominating his club of choice (controversially so) and expecting everyone else to do the legwork to get him there.
If it doesn’t happen, he can declare his salary and slip through to Sydney in the pre-season draft anyway. No worries, Kurt. You can just sense that the Crows are going to get badly burnt in this situation.
There is nothing that the Swans are willing to part with that will make up for the loss of a power forward that, on his day, is one of the best in the competition. Adelaide must accept chicken feed for a player that will soon be worth millions, or watch him walk for nothing.
Vince Rugari is an Adelaide-born journalist who cut his teeth on the sporting graveyard that is the Gold Coast. He fancies the round ball and the Sherrin, and used to be a handy leg-spin bowler before injury curtailed a baggy green push. He is a Port Adelaide fan by birth, as painful as that has been recently. He's now sports editor of The Area News in Griffith, NSW.