AFL trade news and rumours Day 1 wrap: Aaron Francis, Jackson Trengove, Tom Rockliff, Steven Motlop, Jack Watts

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor

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    Only one deal was done on the opening day of the AFL trade and free agency period with Jackson Trengove moving to the Western Bulldogs.

    However, there was plenty of other news to emerge, with perhaps the biggest story being Essendon utility Aaron Francis’ decision to request a trade home to South Australia.

    Francis was drafted to the Bombers at pick No.6 in the 2015 AFL Draft as a versatile tall player capable of playing both forward and in defence.

    However he hasn’t been able to cement himself in Essendon’s best side this year and despite having signed an extension until the end of 2019, has now asked for a trade home.

    He hasn’t nominated a specific club that he would prefer to go to. Port Adelaide have already signalled that they are interested, and the Adelaide Crows will no doubt be keen for him too.

    My take: I said just this morning that the Crows should be having a crack at Francis. Potentially a good get for either SA club, though questions over his commitment are concerning. Dons will surely do a deal – it’ll help them land Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Adam Saad.

    Aaron Francis Essendon tall

    (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Free agency opened this morning, and the Bulldogs lodged paperwork to acquire Trengove before even an hour was out.

    Port Adelaide had the option of matching the offer to the restricted free agent – believed to be a four-year deal worth about $2 million – but elected not to.

    My take: A quality signing for the Dogs. He won’t be their best player, but he’ll add valuable height and maturity to their backline.

    As a result Port Adelaide have been given a second-round compensation pick by the AFL, however, they will have to forfeit it if they sign a free agent of their own, which is expected to be the case.

    Port are believed to be close to signing former Brisbane Lions captain Tom Rockliff, and there was a lot of speculation that this deal to would be completed on the first day.

    However Rockliff’s manager indicated on Friday morning that the paperwork for the deal would instead be lodged next week.

    Rockliff’s deal at Port Adelaide is reportedly worth around $700,000 per season, so will certainly cancel out the Power’s Trengove compensation pick, and will likely deliver the Brisbane Lions an end-of-first-round pick as well.

    My take: Easy come, easy go for Port’s compo pick. Wouldn’t be worried at all about the delay on Rockliff, the deal will get done.

    Jackson Trengove Port Adelaide Power AFL 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    Port are facing some serious competition for the other free agent they’ve put their name forward for though.

    Steven Motlop has reportedly also drawn heavy interest from Port’s crosstown rivals the Adelaide Crows.

    Motlop would be a fairly straightforward like-for-like replacement for Charlie Cameron, whose manager confirmed today is seeking a trade to the Brisbane Lions.

    An intriguing bidding war is on the cards between two fierce rivals if Adelaide’s interest is indeed genuine.

    Motlop has also been linked to Gold Coast and West Coast in recent weeks, but those possibilities are looking less likely.

    My take: I’m a little bit skeptical of how genuine the Crows’ approach is, but if it’s the real deal then they’re every chance to pip Port.

    The other big piece of news for the day is that there’s a new club interested in Jack Watts – Geelong, who have no doubt turned to him following reports that Jake Stringer is leaning towards Essendon as his preferred destination.

    Watts reportedly met with the Cats this afternoon. He’s also being courted by Collingwood, Port Adelaide and Sydney.

    My take: Pushing Daniel Menzel out only to sign Jack Watts seems like an exercise in futility for the most part.

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (75)

    • October 6th 2017 @ 5:10pm
      Rissole said | October 6th 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

      So many conflicted feelings about Francis. Anyone who has seen Franga’s work at VFL level knows he has all the attributes to be a very very good AFL player. It’s a shame that injuries have held his fitness back these last two years.

      However, if we plan on bringing in two solid players and a star player we obviously have to give as well. Although taken at pick 6, we could probably expect something closer to 8-12 in return due to two injury interrupted years. That will give us what we need for Stringer and the other two trades should be manageable from there.

      He grew up a Bomber’s supporter so the home-sickness must be quite strong and understandably so given the loss of his brother. Essendon have probably been aware of this for a while and, despite saying he is a contracted and required player, I’d imagine they tapped him on the shoulder and said the chance to go home is here if you want it but it has to play into the media from your party for the club to keep the trade value as high as possible. Essendon are aware that Adelaide are seeking a young defender with good hands, and are likely to come into a draft pick where his value lies. All three parties could win here so I’m not surprised to see it leak.

      • October 7th 2017 @ 1:57pm
        David C said | October 7th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

        Think you’ll find Francis will be worth closer to an early 2nd rounder due to his injuries/homesickness. Schache was being valued at about Richmonds pick 17 despite being the number 2 pick 2 years ago. If players have issues then their value drops quickly. Stringer is not worth pick 11, Lever is not worth 2 first rounders, Gibbs not worth 2 first rounders, Cameron not worth pick 12 … everybody is asking for too much. Should be an interesting trade period in the last couple of days when these deals fall over the line.

        • October 7th 2017 @ 2:05pm
          Rissole said | October 7th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

          He does have 2 years to go on his contract and therefore they would have to pay over market value. He might be worth 15-20 as an uncontracted player, but they would have to give up more to have Essendon agree to release him from his contract.
          Just like Gibbs last year. Only worth a 1st round pick but Carlton demanded two 1st rounders if they were going to release him from his contract.

          • October 7th 2017 @ 2:50pm
            Ditto said | October 7th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

            I think Adelaide will be prepared to pay
            ‘ over market value’ , Essendon will need draft picks to land Stringer, Smith and Saad (as Josh said). A trade within reason would see them able to achieve this without unduly damaging their current draft position. If a number of players had nominated Carlton as their preferred destination I think you would find that Gibbs would suddenly become more affordable.

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 9:53am
        Pumping Dougie said | October 9th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        Francis might be a pick 6 but more relevant is that he has failed to deliver anything in his first two seasons of footy and unlike Schache who is expected to take a bit of time, he’s not really a key position player (he’s the same height as Stringer), so his lack of performance is alarming. There’s no indication that he’ll make it in AFL yet. So realistically, he’s worth a third round at best.

        And he might be under contract but he has requested to be traded – when you have a player on your books who has been disappointing and he wants to leave, and you have other players wanting to come to your club, then it makes sense to offload him. Both the SA clubs would have reservations about Francis due to his poor start and they know Essendon need some more currency to get their other deals done, so they are more likely to underpay than overpay.

        But if you lost Francis for peanuts and somehow managed to land Stringer, Saad and Smith, then you’d have to be happy. I can’t see those three coming to Essendon without you giving up all this year’s picks plus your 1st rounder next year. And I reckon that’d be worth it because you’d have three ready-made players who would all be in your best 22 and one of them is already a star of the comp at just 23 years of age.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 10:00am
          Don Freo said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          I’d agree with that apart from the injury factor. I think there have been delays in his game time over those 2 years for that reason.

    • October 6th 2017 @ 5:14pm
      Big Pete said | October 6th 2017 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

      Aaron Francis would get great opportunities at both ends of the ground at Port which would clearly show whether he’s more suited as a defender or in attack..

    • October 6th 2017 @ 5:25pm
      Pelican said | October 6th 2017 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

      Thanks for the update Josh. Welcome aboard big Tom Rockliff. Francis or Menzel would be nice. I’m not so sure about Motlop as a fit at Port. The Crows would be a better club for him, or the Suns. Is it true Polek and Rockliff have issues. What do people know about this rumour.

    • Roar Guru

      October 6th 2017 @ 5:35pm
      Cat said | October 6th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report


      • October 7th 2017 @ 11:53am
        David C said | October 7th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

        So, you’re the big silent type CAT?

    • October 6th 2017 @ 5:59pm
      Big Pete said | October 6th 2017 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

      Footballers play to their best when happy with the guys around them..Steven Motlop you have a group of very close mates down at Port that you will fit in extremely well cannot buy that.

    • October 6th 2017 @ 6:11pm
      Dan, Concord said | October 6th 2017 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

      Josh is there something that I’m missing about the way the Crows handle free agency? They seem incredibly childish and behind the times. Watch the way orher clubs and players handle it at least in public.
      Cats re Motlop understand his reasoning and whilst they would prefer him to stay they give him their blessing. They would have known there was a good chance he was leaving pre-finsls.
      Look at Crows response to Lever leaving: apparently senior Crows players asked Pyke to drop him for the finals and then the club has told him not to attend the best and fairest tonight.
      Polar opposites in reactions. It makes sense to me why they choke when they are so worried about who is being mean to them. They are so petty about these things when there are bigger issues to worry about.
      Surely their behaviour would turn other players away from them and you can understand why players want to leave?

      • October 6th 2017 @ 7:01pm
        Basil said | October 6th 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

        I’m sorry, were the Crows childish when they facilitated the best player in the comp to go to Geelong at his request?
        A third year player burning you after heavy investment does stink a little…

        • October 6th 2017 @ 7:50pm
          Freo As said | October 6th 2017 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

          What are you on? Paddy was a freaking free agent. Adelaide was the passive receipient. They had very little say in what happened.

          • Roar Guru

            October 6th 2017 @ 7:55pm
            Cat said | October 6th 2017 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

            Restricted free agent. There is a difference.

            • October 7th 2017 @ 1:12am
              Freo As said | October 7th 2017 @ 1:12am | ! Report

              I said free agent, that can be restricted or unrestricted.

      • October 6th 2017 @ 7:25pm
        Michael F said | October 6th 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

        “Josh is there something that I’m missing about the way the Crows handle free agency?”

        Except Dan, neither Lever or Cameron are free agents (Cameron is still under contract) and both are required players (Leaver was offered a much improved contract, just not as much as Melbourne was willing to play). Neither have been at the club long enough to deserve free agency so I can understand why the Crows are annoyed that they want to leave so soon after playing in a GF. Clearly success isn’t as important to these two players as money and/or going home which displays a lack of maturity on their part in my opinion.

        If you cant see why the Crows are annoyed at their attitudes then you must have blinkers on. I don’t know which club you support (I have a suspicion though) but if two gun players wanted to leave your club like this then I’m sure you wouldn’t be that thrilled about it.

        • October 6th 2017 @ 10:07pm
          Dan, Concord said | October 6th 2017 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

          Ok so I can understand them being annoyed but I still don’t think their reaction is appropriate in this day and age of free agency and trade. They should rise to the occassion and demonstrate they are bigger than one player’s desire to return home or seek better $. Who can blame a person wanting more $ if they can get it or if they would like to be closer to family and friends. It is a huge ask to expect a young man to move away from his support network and be ok with it at such a young age. Most of us would struggle.
          All I’m expecting of an organisation the size of the crows is to handle it with a little more class. There is a good chance without lever having the season he had the Crows wouldn’t have gotten to the GF. Yes it sux that he leaves after the investment they have put in but that happens at every club now. Lions have been burnt multiple times by it but seemcto handle it (sometimes!) better.

          Michael I’m curious to hear who you think I barrack for? Happy to share but would love to hear your guess first.

          • October 7th 2017 @ 9:32am
            Michael F said | October 7th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

            ” Lions have been burnt multiple times by it but seem to handle it (sometimes!) better.”

            And that’s probably why the Lions continue to be a door mat for players who want to go home after a couple of years. I’ve got no problem with the Crows playing hard ball if it sends a message that we’re not just going to be a ‘feeder club’ for the Vic teams like the Lions are. Do you think it’s merely coincidence that they finished bottom this year and in the bottom four for the past four seasons?

            And BTW you were wrong about the Crows telling Lever not to attend their B&F night, it was his manager that told him not to attend.

            • October 7th 2017 @ 1:50pm
              Dan, Concord said | October 7th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

              I have no problem with a team playing hardball. I think teams should play hardball but handle it with class. The Crows should try to get the best deal they can whether it be 2 first round draft picks (I don’t think he is worth that much) or a star player etc. Don’t have senior players going to the coach telling him to drop a player because he hasn’t signed a contract beyond the current season, don’t have the club tell a player not to attend a club function about the season just finished. I have read in numerous articles it was the club who told him but if it was his own manager it was probably because the club told the manager. I’m guessing he was told that Lever would not get a good reception!
              By the way I go for the Hawks. Before you bring up how Hawks fans have reacted to players leaving I want to say that I accept players moving on. I found it hard to swollow that a team that had just played in the gf was able to afford Buddy but I’m still grateful for what he did at the Hawks and I still marvel at what he does at the Swans. It’s going to kill me to see Hodge in Lions colours but good luck to him and his family. He win us 2 gfs of his own boot! My point is that the Hawks seem to handle a player leaving with class.

            • Roar Guru

              October 8th 2017 @ 2:14pm
              Cat said | October 8th 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

              And BTW you were wrong about the Crows telling Lever not to attend their B&F night, it was his manager that told him not to attend.

              No, you are wrong.

              “It’s been a tough week for Jake. He would have liked to have attended and that was his intention but, on the advice of the club, he was encouraged not to go,” [Agent Alex] McDonald said.

              • October 8th 2017 @ 2:58pm
                Ditto said | October 8th 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

                I do think that there must be something going on to get Adelaide’s back up. After all this Lever to Melbourne thing has been the worst kept secret for ages. Per haps Melbourne had previously indicated what they were prepared to pay and now arn’t feeling so generous. Maybe suddenly dropping a few spots at the end of the season has them thinking that they’d be over paying if they stuck to their previous unsaid offer.

      • Roar Guru

        October 9th 2017 @ 10:11am
        Pumping Dougie said | October 9th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

        I kind of like the way the Crows have handled Lever’s departure. They’ve pretty much said, “f.. off”. And fair enough. Footy is a combative, tribal industry.

        It’s one thing to understand a player’s reason for leaving (e.g. homesickness, opportunity, money, team success). But it’s quite another to expect to still be loved by the club you’re turning your back on. Adelaide have every right to let Lever know their displeasure. Judging by Lever’s cheeky, confident demeanour, I doubt it will worry him.

        Of more concern is the rumour Adelaide is offering Motlop big coin, particularly after not offering Lever enough. Lever’s asking price of $750-$800k doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. If the Crows are only paying Sloane $600k in today’s salary cap then they are under-paying him.

        As for your claims of Adelaide choking and this being a reflection of their lack of class, your example of Geelong showing more class rings hollow, given they didn’t progress as far as the Crows in the finals.

        • October 9th 2017 @ 11:27pm
          Dan, Concord said | October 9th 2017 @ 11:27pm | ! Report

          PD we are going to have to agree to disagree. I might have been a touch harsh on the choke comment but they were raging favourites going into the GF. As far as the Cats go they didn’t have the same expectations. IMHO I never rated the Cats that highly this year as the Crows.They were far to dependent on far too few. So just because they didn’t progress as far as the Crows doesn’t mean they didn’t achieve what was expected. The Crows were expected to make the GF and win it. It seems to me there was some cords of discontent (I’m reading between the lines and could honestly have this wrong) and maybe that distracted them from the greater prize.
          I’ll let Caroline Wilson finish off my point:

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