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Draft wrap day 1: Carlton and Crows roll the dice in live trade deal

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22nd November, 2018
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History was made on Thursday night as the Carlton Blues not only drafted Sam Walsh with the first selection of the 2018 AFL draft, but also made one of the first ever deals under the new live trading rules.

The Blues made a bold call by trading their 2019 first-round pick to Adelaide in exchange for pick 19 in this year’s draft as well as Adelaide’s 2019 first-round selection, and then used pick 19 to draft inside midfielder Liam Stocker.

Stocker was widely expected to go to the Richmond Tigers at the next pick if available, but live trading allowed the Blues to swoop in at the last minute and bring the Morrish Medallist to their club.

It will go down in history as the first live trade to involve a first-round draft pick, and will add a little bit of spice to the 2019 seasons of both clubs as we wait to see how their performances next year affect the ultimate outcome of the trade.

The Crows could hold pick 1 in 2019 if the Blues go back-to-back as wooden spooners, but after a busy offseason Carlton will be clearly hoping they can improve their fortunes next year and make the deal look like a canny one.

Sam Walsh

No.1 draft pick Sam Walsh with Carlton captains Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty (AAP Image/James Ross)

It was not the only live trade of the evening however as the Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles made a pair of pick swaps that helped Sydney secure Nick Blakey for the lowest price possible while giving West Coast a nice little upgrade for their trouble.

The Swans traded out their own pick 26 to the Eagles for a 2019 third-rounder before the Blakey bid came, and when it did come – from the GWS Giants at pick 10 – they were able to match it with a clutch of picks in the late 30s and early 40s.

Sydney then traded back in a pick around the same mark, selection No.25 from the West Coast Eagles, sending their 2019 second-round pick to the Eagles in return.

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Effectively what it means is that Sydney avoided having to use their second-round pick to match the Blakey bid (which they would have had to do if not for live trading), and gave the Eagles a nice little upgrade in 2019 to make it happen.

A cheeky little way to game the system if you ask me, and something that I wonder if the AFL anticipated clubs doing when they brought in the live trading rules – it’ll be interesting to see if this is something clubs can still get away with in twelve months’ time.

The top ten of the draft went largely according to script. The Gold Coast Suns selected Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine and Ben King with their three top ten picks, and have two selections inside the next ten tomorrow.

King’s twin brother Max went to St Kilda at pick four, while Port Adelaide landed a local boy in Connor Rozee with pick 5. Then Power went on to complement Rozee with some more dynamic talent in form of Zak Butters at pick 12 and Xavier Duursma at 18.

It was no surprise to see Bailey Smith head to the Dogs at pick 7, but then a minor twist in the tale came when Adelaide put a bid on Tarryn Thomas at pick 8 – the first bid of the night, when all the expectation had been that Blakey would be the first player bidded on.

North Melbourne were happy to match the offer and will await a bid for Bailey Scott tomorrow. Blakey and also Isaac Quaynor through Collingwood’s academy were also bidded on in the first round during the night, with their respective clubs happy to match.

The Crows were probably the first club to really flip the script on draft night by taking Tasmanian midfielder Chayce Jones with their first selection, allowing Jye Caldwell to slip to the GWS Giants at pick 11.

2018 AFL Draft

The top ten picks of the 2018 AFL Draft (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett)

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The Giants drafted three quality midfield prospects, adding Jackson Hately a few selections later and then picking up one of my personal favourites in Xavier O’Halloran with the final pick of the first round.

Adelaide meanwhile added small forward Ned McHenry alongside Jones with their second pick, before trading the third of their three first-round selections to Carlton in the aforementioned deal that got Liam Stocker to the Blues. The Crows have an early pick still to come tomorrow.

Jordan Clark and Riley Collier-Dawkins both proved to be sliders of a sort – Clark landed at the Geelong Cats, while Collier-Dawkins was picked up by Richmond.

Going in the other direction was Sam Sturt – also one of my favourites – who capped off his meteoric rise up the order by being taken as a first-round selection by the Fremantle Dockers.

Ely Smith too was a bit of a bolter, a late invitee to the draft and ultimately selected by the Brisbane Lions with pick 22.

The draft will continue tomorrow from noon AEDT, with a number of players who were considered potential first-round selections still left on the table.

Ian Hill, Luke Valente, Curtis Taylor and Jez McLennan are some who could be snapped up early tomorrow, while the likes of Rhylee West, Kieren Briggs, Connor McFadyen and Will Kelly are all likely to attract bids somewhere in the second round.

The overnight break will give clubs the chance to take stock of what happened in the first round and perhaps discuss some pick swaps. West Coast, who have the first pick of the day tomorrow, may get a few early morning calls from suitors keen to snap up one of the talents left on the board.

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Pick Club Player
1 Carlton Blues Sam Walsh
2 Gold Coast Suns Jack Lukosius
3 Gold Coast Suns Izak Rankine
4 St Kilda Saints Max King
5 Port Adelaide Power Connor Rozee
6 Gold Coast Suns Ben King
7 Western Bulldogs Bailey Smith
8 North Melbourne Kangaroos Tarryn Thomas
9 Adelaide Crows Chayce Jones
10 Sydney Swans Nick Blakey
11 GWS Giants Jye Caldwell
12 Port Adelaide Power Zak Butters
13 Collingwood Magpies Isaac Quaynor
14 GWS Giants Jackson Hately
15 Geelong Cats Jordan Clark
16 Adelaide Crows Ned McHenry
17 Fremantle Dockers Sam Sturt
18 Port Adelaide Power Xavier Duursma
19 Carlton Blues Liam Stocker
20 Richmond Tigers Riley Collier-Dawkins
21 Brisbane Lions Ely Smith
22 GWS Giants Xavier O’Halloran