Nine South Australians the Crows should trade for instead of Bryce Gibbs

Josh Elliott Editor

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    Bryce Gibbs’ hypothetical homecoming trade to the Adelaide Crows looks less and less likely now that Tom Rockliff and Devon Smith have said no to Carlton.

    The Blues have a stated aim of gathering more midfield depth this offseason to support their developing young stars, and both Rockliff and Smith would have fit the bill perfectly.

    Recruiting them would have meant they had some range to explore the idea of letting Bryce Gibbs go home to the Crows, possibly in return for a top-ten draft pick or more.

    Instead, a Gibbs trade would now leave their midfield even thinner. While they might still be able to find some mature bodies – perhaps players like Anthony Miles or Chris Masten – they won’t be of the quality that Rockliff and Smith are.

    For that reason they will probably once again say no to letting Bryce Gibbs go, unless Adelaide are willing to pony up a truly gargantuan trade offer, and that seems unlikely. He’s a contracted player, so that is their right.

    Bryce Gibbs Carlton Blues AFL 2017

    It’s a bummer for Adelaide though, who also have to cop the loss of Jake Lever and Charlie Cameron to their home states.

    The Crows are clearly prickly about this state of affairs. Despite offering plenty as a place to play football, they’ve had rotten luck retaining talent from interstate in years gone by.

    Like Fremantle last year, it’s time for them to lean into the wind and turn their focus to bringing locals home. If Victorians and Queenslanders want to poach their players, well, two can play at that game.

    Adelaide will have plenty of draft pick currency to get deals done with – they’re sure to land two, maybe three top 20 picks for the departures of Lever and Cameron – and who wouldn’t want to come home and play in a team pushing for a premiership? That shouldn’t be a hard sell.

    Gibbs appears to be a lost cause due to his contract situation, but he’s not the only South Australian star playing in the AFL.

    I’ve put together this list of nine local talents Adelaide should consider trying to lure home in the next two weeks – or perhaps in 2018 and beyond.

    These suggestions are purely hypothetical – I’m not saying they’ll happen, or that they’re even realistic. But there’s nothing wrong with the Crows making a phone call.

    James Aish
    Age: 21.
    Contract status: Unconfirmed.
    Trade value: Second-round pick.
    Realism level: Plausible.

    In his four-year career to date Aish has spent two years at the Lions and two years at Collingwood. He was a regular at Brisbane but hasn’t been able to cement himself as a Magpie.

    Safe to say things aren’t going the way he might have hoped, but he was one of the very best as a junior and is young enough to bounce back. He wouldn’t cost too much in terms of salary or trade value and would surely be open to a move after playing plenty of VFL this year.

    Caleb Daniel
    Age: 21.
    Contract status: Contracted until the end of 2019.
    Trade value: First-round pick.
    Realism level: Very unlikely.

    Everyone’s favourite pocket rocket, already a premiership player at the Bulldogs –
    he’d be hard to budge certainly, but could play a really valuable role the Crows adding another layer of midfield dynamism and goal-kicking ability.

    Caleb Daniel Western Bulldogs AFL 2017

    Luke Dunstan
    Age: 22.
    Contract status: Contracted until the end of 2019.
    Trade value: Early second-round pick.
    Realism level: Unlikely.

    Dunstan wowed Saints fans winning a Rising Star nomination in his first game and had an excellent debut season, but hasn’t really managed to progress much further than that and played seven games in the VFL this year.

    His form to close out the season was pretty impressive though. He’s maybe not the most versatile player on earth, but would add some ball-winning depth to Adelaide’s midfield.

    Orazio Fantasia
    Age: 22.
    Contract status: Contracted until the end of 2019.
    Trade value: First-round pick.
    Realism level: Very unlikely.

    Essendon’s Italian stallion had a breakout 2017 and kicked 39 goals for the season. He’s a dangerous forward, but with the traits he has there’s no reason he couldn’t push up the ground in time and play off a wing.

    Crows fans would pretty quickly forget about Charlie Cameron if they replaced him with Fantasia, and with Eddie Betts turning 30 this year there is a need to look towards the future of their small forward department.

    Orazio Fantasia Essendon Bombers AFL 2017

    Aaron Francis
    Age: 20.
    Contract status: Contracted until the end of 2019.
    Trade value: Late first-round pick.
    Realism level: Plausible.

    A high draft pick, but he hasn’t managed to settle into the Bombers’ best 22 in his first two years at the club. With the Dons recruiting the likes of Devon Smith, Jake Stringer and Adam Saad, are they running out of room for him?

    There have been some public questions over his commitment so that is something to be wary of, but never his talent. Could step into Jake Lever’s tallish rebounding defender role, or play forward.

    Sam Mayes
    Age: 20.
    Contract status: Contracted until the end of 2019.
    Trade value: Late first or early second-round pick.
    Realism level: Very unlikely.

    After an excellent debut season Mayes struggled for a few years but really settled into a consistent role and performed well under Chris Fagan in 2017. He started as a forward but has been turned into a defender.

    Daniel Menzel
    Age: 26.
    Contract status: Restricted free agent.
    Realism level: There for the taking.

    Menzel is on the hunt for a new club, with Geelong’s offer to him for next year reportedly a pay cut on what has been a stellar 2017 season. Fremantle are said to be keen on him.

    The Crows could be a good fit though, his brother Troy already plays there. The only question is over his defensive pressure, and whether or not he’s too similar to a player like Mitch McGovern.

    Lachie Neale
    Age: 24.
    Contract status: Contracted until the end of 2019.
    Trade value: Top ten pick.
    Realism level: Very unlikely.

    There was a bit of talk about him possibly moving clubs last year, but this ultimately came to nothing when he signed a three-year extension to stay at Fremantle.

    If the Crows want a mature elite midfielder then he’s the first port of call – and only 24 too. It’d take a huge effort to get him to budge, but a top ten pick (to start with) might tempt Fremantle.

    Lachie Neale Fremantle Dockers AFL 2017

    Matthew Scharenberg
    Age: 22.
    Contract status: Contracted until the end of 2018.
    Trade value: Second-round pick.
    Realism level: Plausible.

    A high pick at the Pies but injuries have prevented him from playing to his full potential so far. Played great footy in the VFL and then played the last six games of the year at AFL level.

    Would potentially be a great stand-in for Brodie Smith who will spend the year recovering from an ACL injury, and then gives Adelaide some options to rotate through midfield and defence when Smith comes back.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.