With the AFL offseason raging on, and the media needing to fill column inches, talk of a three-game AFL Grand Final series has been discussed.
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Your crystal ball needs to be working well for you to establish which clubs gained the most out of trade week and which clubs lost out.
Given the host of reasons trades take place, some players who requested trades for reasons of homesickness, greater opportunities, the chance to play in finals, the chance to play with friends or family, or the mighty dollar will excel at their new club, but others tapped on the shoulder and advised to move on may suffer a let down or not be a good fit at their new club and not perform as well in their new surroundings.
Whatever the reason for the change of clubs – and there were 42 players who moved – there is no doubt that the club’s top 100 rankings provide some measure of the success or failure of the club’s recruiting. Even at the youngest clubs, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney, there is now sufficient history and data to define the worth of the players recruited or the players who left.
On this basis the two biggest trades involved the No.2 game players at Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney, Tom Lynch and Dylan Shiel. The 2017 premiers welcomed Tom Lynch to Tigerland and in doing so picked up a seasoned 131-game player who had scored 254 goals during his career at Gold Coast. As Richmond already has a highly successful full forward who provides plenty of opportunities to their crumbers, the forward line set-up will require a rethink.
Dylan Shiel’s move to Essendon was an even bigger coup. Greater Western Sydney had managed to keep their list of champions intact, with Devon Smith, who departed for the Dons this year, the only non-current player included in the club’s top 10. By the end of the year Smith held down tenth position, equal with Heath Shaw, but the departure of Shiel and also sixth-placed Tom Scully, who was claimed by Hawthorn, means an exodus of similar proportions to the Suns over the past few years is underway, particularly when you consider the clean-out included No.20 Rory Lobb and No.83 Will Setterfield.
Jack Hombsch, a former Greater Western Sydney player who still ranks 67th, is on the move again from Port Adelaide (No.50) to Gold Coast, and with a moderately successful career at the club, he will find himself in the highly unusual situation of being entitled to a seat at the top-100 game players table at three different AFL clubs by dint of those three clubs being the three youngest in the league.
Steven May (No.4), Aaron Hall (No.9), Kade Kolodjashnij (No.20) and the lowly Jack Scrimshaw (No.95) were other Gold Coast players to depart. Apart from Hombsch none of the other three – George Horlin-Smith (Geelong), Corey Ellis (Richmond) and Anthony Miles (Richmond) – reached top-100 status at their admittedly older clubs and none would be considered at this stage to be part of their former club’s A-team, but no doubt they will add experience and skill to the Suns.
As well as Hombsch, Port Adelaide allowed three other top-50 players to leave, including the highly ranked Chad Wingard (No.25), who will be a real bonus for the Hawks, while Jasper Pittard (No.35) and Jarod Polec (No.49) should be part of the Kangaroos best 22.