The left-field AFL trade targets nobody is talking about – but should be

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    It’s around this time every year that the trade rumour mill starts going into overdrive, particularly around the big-name free agents such as Rory Sloane, Tom Lynch, and Jeremy McGovern.

    I’ve compiled a list of ‘left field’ trade targets – players who are out of contract at the end of this year who could, and should, be of interest to other teams.

    Ryan Clarke

    In his third season on North Melbourne’s list, and having played 32 games, Clarke is developing into a first-choice best 22 player.

    This season, he is averaging 18 disposals, four marks, and two tackles per game over 11 games. His main strength is his endurance, which stands him in good stead later in games, and allows him to get to contest after contest.

    He’s out of contract but hasn’t really been mentioned as a trade target thus far. Several teams would benefit from his running capacity and ball-winning ability, particularly Carlton and Essendon.

    Clubs he’d suit
    Anyone looking for endurance runners to complement their game style. Adelaide has Sam Gibson for the moment, but could be a valuable mentor to Clarke in the coming years, and he’d certainly help out Patrick Cripps at Carlton.

    Jayden Laverde

    Laverde has been limited to only six games this year due to injury and lack of form. It’s his fourth year on the Bombers’ list, and he’s yet to play more than nine games in a season, having been plagued by injuries during his time at the club.

    He’s shown clear glimpses of his talent – he was drafted as an explosive, big-bodied midfielder, which is currently Essendon’s main deficiency. However, his lack of durability makes it hard to assess his value.

    I’d be surprised if the Bombers didn’t look to give him a one-year extension in the hopes he can get his body right because, at his best, he’s talented enough to make an impact in every midfield in the competition.

    Clubs he’d suit
    Laverde has star factor, so teams like Carlton and St Kilda, who are really looking for that, would likely find him appealing.

    Aaron Hall

    He’s now played 103 games and looks to be entering the prime of his career, however Hall’s lack of defensive accountability has seen him dropped to the NEAFL several times this year.

    At his best, he’s a creative, versatile player who amasses the ball in the midfield – in his two best seasons in 2016 and 2017, when he really established himself in the competition, he averaged around 26 disposals per game, over 17 and 19 games respectively. He’s only played six games this year though, and appears to be on the outer with new coach Stuart Dew.

    A new start at another club, where he’d be given the freedom to play to his strengths, but where he can also focusing on working on his defensive efforts, could bring out the best in him.

    Given the Suns’ midfield woes, they will be reticent to let him go for lower than a second-round pick, but may not have a choice given he’s been on the outer this year.

    Clubs he’d suit
    Really depends whether clubs think his ball-winning abilities outweigh his lack of defensive play. He’d suit anyone looking for a ball-winning midfielder, so Carlton, Essendon, and St Kilda are likely in the mix here. He’d also work well at Hawthorn, adding a bit of spark and versatility to a solid midfield with Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell.

    Aaron Hall kicks the ball for the Suns

    AAP Image/Dave Hunt

    Kieran Collins

    Key defender Collins finds himself in an interesting position contract-wise, given the Bulldogs drafted Aaron Naughton at the end of last year, brought versatile tall Jackson Trengove across from Port Adelaide, and also have Fletcher Roberts, Marcus Adams, Zaine Cordy, and Easton Wood in similar roles.

    He’s in his third year on the list, but has played only the one game, way back in 2016. In his draft year, Collins was rated one of the best one-on-one key defenders in the pool, and could thrive given an opportunity at another club.

    Clubs he’d suit
    Adelaide, Collingwood, Geelong, Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide, and Sydney all need to develop key defenders over the next few years.

    Jay Kennedy-Harris

    He’s been on the outer at Melbourne for the last few years, but he’s speedy and skillful. He needs to kick more goals for someone in his role (he’s averaged only 0.4 per match over his career), but he could benefit a team looking for someone with game sense and speed up forward.

    Having observed him play many times during his TAC Cup season with Oakleigh, in 2013, he was consistently the smartest player on the ground, and his ability to read the play and create space was second-to-none.

    Clubs he’d suit
    Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, GWS, and Saints all lack skilful small forwards who can also play on a wing, and he’d add some nice depth in this area.

    Jack Scrimshaw

    The jungle drums have been beating around Scrimshaw wanting to move back to his home state of Victoria. He’s yet to re-sign with the Gold Coast, and is yet to play a game this year (although that’s partly due to injury issues).

    He played four games last year, and showed promising signs – as a taller wingman, he’s going to take time to develop, and so may be a project player for a club for the next few years.

    However, he was taken at pick seven in the 2016 draft, and was one of the most talented players in his draft year, so there is definite upside. Given he’s only played four games, he’d likely come cheap, too.

    Clubs he’d suit
    Carlton, Essendon, North, Saints, Hawthorn, and Richmond could use a bigger-bodied, versatile player. The latter two, in particular, could allow him time to develop over the next few years.

    Kieran Lovell

    Lovell was drafted with a view to replacing Sam Mitchell in the Hawks’ midfield. The small, tough midfielder has been in good form in the VFL, however he can’t seem to hold down a spot in the AFL team. His two AFL games came way back in 2016, making his future at Hawthorn uncertain.

    He was the Hawks’ first-round draft pick in 2015, but would likely come cheap, given his lack of games. He would suit a team looking to bolster its midfield – like Mitchell, he’s small, at 174cm, but also has fantastic game sense, and is an excellent decision-maker. After three years in the VFL, he’s ready to come straight into a senior side, and could have a big impact next year.

    Clubs he’d suit
    Adelaide, Carlton, Essendon, Gold Coast, Melbourne, and Richmond could all use a tough, smaller midfielder. Melbourne, in particular, would benefit from his defensive edge.

    Luke Partington

    Partington is another player who was taken in the 2015 draft who’s been unable to crack the senior side. He’s played six games, all of them coming at the back end of last year, including the elimination final against Port Adelaide. He’s a solid, skilful midfielder, and, while still finding his feet at AFL level, would likely be a reliable ball winner in most teams – he’s currently averaging 27 disposals per game in the WAFL this year.

    My sense is that the Eagles rate him, and would be loathe to part with him, but would likely do so if it means him having more opportunity elsewhere.

    Clubs he’d suit
    He’s originally from South Australia, so Adelaide and Port should both look at him. Outside of that, most clubs looking to improve their midfields should be interested.

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    The Crowd Says (71)

    • Roar Guru

      July 11th 2018 @ 8:46am
      Paul Dawson said | July 11th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Ryan Clarke I’d love to have at Brisbane, if he could be persuaded.

      Laverde seems a bit injury prone, always a lottery recruiting someone like that.

      I am not sure whether or not Aaron Hall has a bad attitude in general or just because he’s trapped at the Suns. Very much a luxury player for a team that has plenty of grunt and wants polish. Reminds me a bit of Kane Lucas or Chris Yarran, and comes with similar risks.

      Jay Kennedy-Harris should go to North Melbourne. He’d be fantastic there.

      If Scrimshaw gets drafted at 7 and goes for a 3rd rounder that says all you need to know about the worthlessness of the draft these days.

      I imagine the Eagles supporters would be filthy if Partington left

      • Roar Guru

        July 11th 2018 @ 12:51pm
        gameofmarks said | July 11th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

        Absolutely we would.
        The kid is a ball magnet in the WAFL.
        He was given a crack in the WCE side last year, but played on the HFF which is the hardest position on the ground.
        Also, we know it is rare for recruits to come into the side and light it up.
        They usually play 2-3 games to get a taste for the pressure and pace of the game then get dropped back to the twos.
        If and when they get a second chance in the ones, they make a better account of themselves.
        Parto hasn’t had his second chance yet.
        But I expect he will make a good fist of it when he does.
        Just not many opportunities in the midfield at the moment.
        Just look at Sheed, he can’t get a game in the midfield.
        He might get a crack if Masten loses some form.

    • July 11th 2018 @ 8:46am
      Dan, Concord said | July 11th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      Great article Maddy. Maybe next article could be on expanding on this and what it would take to trade said player to said club?

    • July 11th 2018 @ 8:54am
      George13 said | July 11th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      “He’s yet to re-sign with the Gold Coast”

      Jack Scrimshaw actually extended his contract until the end of 2020 together with his fellow draftees Bowes and Brodie.

    • Roar Guru

      July 11th 2018 @ 8:55am
      DingoGray said | July 11th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      A lot of players suited to Carlton, Essendon and St Kilda…….

      As for the names listed, Collins was one that prior to being drafted thought would do well in AFL environment.

      Wouldn’t hate the idea of the Lions giving him a Crack. Hey he couldn’t be any worse than Jack Frost

      • July 11th 2018 @ 12:26pm
        IAP said | July 11th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        The author has failed to mention that Collins has been limited by injury troubles. I suspect that he’s the likely replacement for Morris when he retires.

    • July 11th 2018 @ 9:08am
      IDER said | July 11th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      Carlton do not need developing players they need experienced solid performers for a period of say two seasons to compliment the younger talent coming through.

      Mundy, MacKay and Miles would be a good match.

      • Roar Guru

        July 11th 2018 @ 10:21am
        JamesH said | July 11th 2018 @ 10:21am | ! Report

        Or McVeigh. Basically anyone decent whose name begins with ‘M’.

      • Roar Guru

        July 11th 2018 @ 10:58am
        Steve J said | July 11th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Mundy won’t, Freo will sign him up on another 12 month deal, and then possibly one more.

        If they want experienced players from Freo …. well Johno and Ballas will be off at the end of the season, along with Danyle Pearce and Lee Spurr

        • Roar Pro

          July 11th 2018 @ 11:07am
          Downsey said | July 11th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          I rate Johno so much as a leader in the backline. If his body can keep it together I hope he gets another year at Freo.

          • Roar Guru

            July 11th 2018 @ 4:43pm
            Steve J said | July 11th 2018 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

            Ross has pretty much said Johno and Pearce are gone.

            Johno’s body may keep him out of any talk of going elsewhere.

            Ballas and Spurr seemingly have the rest of the season to pay for an extension.

            • Roar Pro

              July 11th 2018 @ 7:09pm
              Downsey said | July 11th 2018 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

              Yep, that was bad timing. Just moments after posting the Lyon comment came out… :/

      • Roar Guru

        July 11th 2018 @ 4:53pm
        Peter the Scribe said | July 11th 2018 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

        Well they went with two Shauns in the 2006 draft and then handed them both to Richmond along with Yarran of course.

    • July 11th 2018 @ 10:12am
      Aligee said | July 11th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      Aaron Hall, suits a team on the up or already there, would add the X factor.

      Would suit WCE and replace Le Cras.

      Would even suit Richmond.

      • Roar Guru

        July 11th 2018 @ 10:22am
        JamesH said | July 11th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        I reckon he would be a great fit for Hawthorn.

        • July 11th 2018 @ 11:56am
          Aligee said | July 11th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          Yep them as well.

          Watched him regularly a couple of years ago, great player when he has confidence, when a team is playing well he will be a star in it.

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