As expected, the final day of trading resulted in some frenetic activity in which 16 players changed clubs.
Considering only 14 had changed clubs over the whole of the trade period, it shows how important the art of brinkmanship has become as all clubs try to strengthen their position and all players try to maximise their livelihood.
The winners and losers of the free-for-all that has become an important part of the football calendar won’t be known until the careers of the imports (and exports) are established at their new clubs and the improvement of the sides as a result can be measured.
One thing is certain: all clubs will need to improve to remain competitive but it is impossible for all to improve their positions on the ladder and, as a result, some clubs and their supporters are going to finish the 2020 season disappointed with the results of this trade period.
As a statistical historian I am generally not greatly interested in those who have been unable to make an impression on the top 100 games and goals lists of their current club but I understand that many of them are young enough to achieve success and longevity at their new clubs – particularly if it is a newer club where the bar to become an elite player at the club is much lower.
Adelaide’s Cam Ellis-Yolmen and Alex Keath were both on target to become top 100 game players for the Crows next season, but appear to be the only two possible additions to the top 100 lists at all clubs that have been traded this year.
Unlike the supporters of the clubs that missed out, I am happy that some trades failed to take place.
I am pleased that Joe Daniher will be at Essendon again in 2020 and look forward to him climbing from his current position as the Bomber’s 28th most successful goal scorer into a top 20 position, which he can achieve with a successful season next year.
Likewise, I look forward to Tom Papley again being a constant goal-scorer for the Swans and moving into the top 40 of all time at the club, an achievement that would put him into the top three per cent of the more than 1400 players who have represented the club.
On the other hand, I am disappointed that Josh Bruce has moved on. As one of the twin towers at St Kilda, he was in a tight battle with Tim Membrey for the title of leading current goal-kicker at the Saints. Only one goal separated them at season’s end and both were poised to become top 20 goal-scorers at the club next season.
Time moves on, however, and a position among the elite at any club depends on them remaining fit, in form, loyal and valued at their current club.
As full-time professionals with a limited time span in the game, no one should deny them the opportunity to make the most of their skill. And none of us would forgive our club for not trying to induce the best players possible to play for them.