While the fourth day of the 2019 AFL trade period may not have had a large number of trades, we did see one of the biggest birds fly the nest with Tim Kelly finalising his long-awaited move to West Coast on Wednesday.
Kelly, who unsuccessfully requested a trade to the Eagles last season, finally got his wish as Geelong and West Coast agreed on a deal that sees the 25-year-old star midfielder get to Perth to be closer to family.
In the end, it proved to be a somewhat complex three-way trade that saw Essendon improve their hand in the second round of this year’s draft as well.
The Cats received picks and 24 from the Eagles, alongside their 2020 first-round selection, while also securing pick 37 from the Bombers. West Coast locked in Kelly, while also getting Geelong’s third-round pick next season and pick 52 from Essendon, who walked away from the deal with picks 33 and 57.
Kelly, who finished fifth in this year’s Brownlow medal count, then locked in a six-year contract with the Eagles worth approximately $5 million.
But any hopes fans had that this monster trade would be the one to get the wheels turning on the trade period were soon disappointed, with Geelong list manager Stephen Wells claiming his club and St Kilda were some ways apart on working out a deal to get Jack Steven to Kardinia Park – the trade many saw as the second domino.
While Wells didn’t elaborate, it appears the Cats and Saints disagree on Steven’s value. The 29-year-old is a four-time best-and-fairest winner with St Kilda, the most recent being in 2018, but struggled with mental health issues throughout this season and only played seven games, while averaging under 20 disposals per game for the first time since 2011.
It’s been widely speculated a second-round draft pick would be enough to get Steven over, with that pick then setting up Zak Jones’ requested move from the Sydney Swans to the Saints. Whether St Kilda believe Steven is worth more, or whether the Cats aren’t prepared to offer that much, is yet to be revealed.
The only other trade that looked like happening was the return of Eddie Betts from Adelaide to Carlton, with The Herald-Sun reporting the clubs had agreed on a deal that would get the four-time goal of the year winner back to Princes Park in exchange for Pick 47.
But that deal stalled at the last minute as the clubs were reportedly yet to work out what portion of the 33-year-old’s salary would be paid by which party next season. It appears the compensation the Crows will receive will be directly tied to how much of his contract they absorb in 2020.
Earlier in the day it was American Mason Cox making the headlines following yesterday’s bombshell that Essendon had approached Collingwood about acquiring the big man for cover should Joe Daniher depart for Sydney.
Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro came out early this morning and dismissed the report, but The Age’s Sam McClure dug in and insisted his scoop was correct. The plot thickened when it was reported that Collingwood had actually approached the Bombers over the deal, trying to offload Cox’s salary, before it took a turn for the bizarre when Cox himself dismissed all the speculation as fake news on Twitter in a hastily-deleted tweet.
The Magpies are facing contract armageddon next season, with Brodie Grundy, Jordan de Goey, Darcy Moore, Scott Pendlebury, Brody Mihocek and others all coming off contract at the end of the year, so looking at potential salary dumps seems likely – watch this space.
Another club facing a contract headache next season is Greater Western Sydney, and it may have been made worse today after Jeremy Cameron’s manager revealed today the Coleman medalist was content to wait until the end of 2020 before starting contract negotiations.
Other details to emerge over the course of the day were the revelations that Port Adelaide were encouraging Dougal Howard to seek a trade, rather than the 23-year-old requesting one. There is reportedly disagreement at Alberton over which end of the ground he’s best suited to play at.
Fremantle and Sydney both eased off in their pursuits of North Melbourne’s Mason Wood, with the young forward’s existing contract reportedly worth much more than either club was willing to pay him.
Greater Western Sydney’s Aidan Bonar is also reportedly seeking a move to Victoria in search of greater opportunities.