The Roar
The Roar


Trade week is much ado about nothing

Roar Guru
5th October, 2008
1147 Reads

Sydney coach, Paul Roos, arrives for AFL trade week discussions held at Telstra Dome in Melbourne. GSP Images

If AFL Trade Week was a Shakespeare play it would be called Much Ado About Nothing because, while a lot of hype and speculation is generated, not much usually ever happens. And everything which does happen always seems to take place five minutes before the trade deadline.

The first problem with AFL trade week is the attitude of many of the clubs. If you want to receive something of quality you have to be prepared to offer something of quality in return, except of course if you are trading with Fremantle in which case you can do what you want. So there is this brinkmanship which goes back and forth for a week.

Every year the media writes the same articles… “Will the teams with the early picks trade the picks for established names? How deep is the draft?”

They are like the kids at a high school dance who stand on the sidelines waiting to see who is going to dance with whom so they have something to talk about after.

Something which tends to blur the negotiation process is when clubs announce certain players are up for trade or everyone but x is tradable, but this isn’t the case. They just want to scare these players and put them on notice.

A player can return fire but saying he wants to be traded when what he really wants to achieve is a bigger contract.

The major spanner in the works is the big-name off-contract player. This kind of trade can involve more than two teams and can clogs up everything until they are solved after which they cause a domino effect of sorts.


From Anthony Rocca to Brad Ottens to Jeff White and of course Chris Judd. This year it looks to be Ryan O’Keefe. It’s a double whammy for the club they’re leaving. They’re losing a player and they will be lucky to get 80 cents in the dollar for them.

The West Coast Eagles faced this conundrum last year – be prepared to accept Carlton’s good but not great offer or get absolutely nothing in return?

In recent years Swans coach Paul Roos has stunned people with his honesty policy. He wanted Essendon’s Ted Richards for Pick 19 and people thought him mad. In the three years since, Richards has played 70 games while Courtenay Dempsey who was Pick 19 has played 10. Now the Swans have put their hand up for Essendon’s Andrew Lovett.

When it boils down to it trades are completely random especially if one trades for an earlier pick and can only be judged in hindsight.

What if a team trades one of it’s best players for a top three pick in the draft and then the kid they draft does his knee in the pre-season and is out for the year? No one can foresee that.

Cyril Rioli was selected at 12 in last year’s draft and is now a star and a premiership player. Jarrad Grant went seven places before Rioli in the draft to the Western Bulldogs, was stung by a stingray and didn’t play a game all year. That’s how random things are.

It would be good if there were other trade windows opened throughout the course of the season such as the bye week. A club which is having a good season might wish to shore their run by trading a couple of young guns for someone established from another club. It would also give a club the chance to dump an out of favour player instead of waiting a few more months.


Fans complain about the lack of loyalty in sport but come Trade Week they show their true colours. They don’t care about the players – just the uniform. As Jerry Seinfeld said “all sport is, is cheering for laundry.”

A player they’ve always despised comes to their club and suddenly he is a fantastic player with great skills. A player they’ve always supported leaves their club and suddenly he is a soft receiver.

Don’t forget the real important thing about trade week and later the draft. They throw those football-starved people a bone some five months before the start of the new football season.