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The Roar


AFL Power Rankings: 2019 Trade Period

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Roar Guru
16th October, 2019
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The AFL trade period is done and once again the league has been shaken up by a flurry of player movement.

These power rakings aren’t designed to describe which teams were the best performed in the trade period itself, but instead ranking where each AFL club sits in the food chain heading into 2020 after this year’s player exchange.


The reigning premiers only appeared twice in the trade period – with the very first and the fourth-last player movements – sending Brandon Ellis to the Suns and Dan Butler to the Saints.

They lose two premiership talents, but the Tigers are a strong side, and you’d think neither this year’s trade periods nor draft were a big priority for them as they aim to go back-to-back in 2020.

2.West Coast

Involved in exactly one trade of note, and it was a big one.

It’s arguable they gave up a little too much, but Kelly was always going to be expensive, and given that – unlike their West Australian counterparts – they’re in premiership contention at the present, it’s difficult to begrudge them.

Expect them to be at the pointy end next September, yet again.



Losing Tim Kelly sucks, but adding Jack Steven and Josh Jenkins for cheap and holding a good hand at the draft – almost – makes up for it.

Wanted a high price for Tim, and got it, with the Cats among the top teams primed to head deep into finals again… you’d assume.

4.Brisbane Lions

Brisbane’s most pressing issue was their forward line; missing out on Jamie Elliott early wasn’t ideal, but neglecting to fill the need was poor form.

The Lions did acquire some good players – Grant Birchall fulfilling their Hawks veteran quota, Callum Ah Chee and Cam Ellis-Yolmen adding grunt to their midfield, but you get the feeling Brisbane could’ve done a little more.

No top ten picks in the draft this year, either – although that isn’t an awful position to be in for the Lions. I can easily imagine them dropping a smidge in 2020, but the pieces are all there.

Quiet period – something not unusual surrounding the top contenders. Dispatched James Aish to Freo, alleviating some salary cap space and giving them more wriggle room in dealing with the contracts of some higher profile players.


With their only other action coming from welcoming Darcy Cameron to the club, the Pies had a quiet yet fruitful eight days. That means their 2020 aspirations remain steady, and one would think high.

6.GWS Giants

Not a bad trade period that’ll probably benefit them more than anything. Sam Jacob’s addition helps, while the departures of Adam Tomlinson and Aiden Bonar won’t have any irrevocable effect on their structures.

The grand finalists also shrewdly acquired pick 6, so expect to see the Giants work their way into finals again. A second straight grand final may be tougher.

7.Western Bulldogs

They were aready a side to watch in 2020, and a superb trade period only fuels that. Were adamant in not giving up pick 13, and didn’t blink.

Josh Bruce and Alex Keath will help them at both ends of the ground next year: a year in which I’m expecting the Doggies to again poach a finals spot. Or even something more.



The Hawks may have lost a veteran and a young, developing ruck, but it’s impossible not to be amazed by how they slyly (and cheaply) accumulated Sam Frost and Jon Patton from the Dees and Giants respectively.

Frost is handy, but a fit Patton will assist the club in furthering their resurgence up the ladder. Remember, Tom Mitchell is yet to return as well. Expecting good things from the Hawks next year.

9.St Kilda

It’s never easy to manage five players requesting trades to the club. It’s even harder to get all of them in.

While I’m still dubious about the long term effect of giving up what they did to land their targets, they do instantaneously look a better side – particularly with speedy Brad Hill joining.

Expect their draft hand to be bare, but from an initial look, the Saints worked the past eight days beautifully. A finals chance, or thereabouts, in 2020? Yup.


The whispers were abundant, but the gulf of drama in the departures of Ed Langdon and Brad Hill didn’t surprise.


Their eventual departures netted the club some nice picks, with the coming-from-no-where additions of Blake Acres and James Aish going part of the way to replacing the departing duo.

It’s Freo’s fantastic draft hand that’ll benefit the club the most – even if they struggle to adjust to a new coach, and new system, for parts of next season.

11.North Melbourne

North were far from the biggest players this year, but nevertheless popped up on Monday for a pick swap with Melbourne, before popping up again just before the deadline to acquire Aiden Bonar from the Giants.

Nothing too drastic, but they won’t appear in the draft until pick 26, and you have to wonder whether North’s confidence in their current squad is excessively optimistic, or prime for a half-decent season.


Weathered some tiring Orazio Fantasia rumours, and refused to budge on the Joe Daniher request, ending the trade period with only two acquisitions and a cameo in the Tim Kelly trade.

Neither of their new players seems a game changer – and with the club in a bit of flux next year, it’s hard to be enthused about them at the moment.


Tough to place them in 2020, I’m not especially optimistic about finals.

13.Port Adelaide

Added to their draft hand, but a rather dubious trade with the Saints raised the ire of Port fans.

Port Adelaide’s departures were a bit of a mess – Paddy Ryder not so much, but Dougal Howard is a frustrating loss. Young ruck Billy Frampton moved up the road to West Lakes, too.

Although they’ve got the talent to compete, Port’s inconsistency at the trade table is perhaps a precursor of 2020. Ken Hinkley would hope not.


Didn’t get the forward they need, but Adam Tomlinson and Ed Langdon in particular will add pace to the side sorely needing some.

It’s the draft – they hold picks 3 and 8 – where Melbourne will really help their cause.


And they need a resurgence – they’ve sent North their first-rounder for 2020. Expect much commentary around that next year.


They had two big targets. They hit neither of them come deadline.

Carlton started with a bang, welcoming home favourite son Eddie Betts, but the Blues failed to successfully negotiate with Gold Coast and Sydney on the future of Jack Martin and Tom Papley respectively.

I don’t think it’s going to be seriously damaging to their immediate successes next year – I can see plenty of scope for improvement – but Carlton would no doubt be frustrated with their failures.


Adelaide’s had a tumultuous off-season, and that continued through the trade period, with seven separate trades. The trouble is – six of those were departures. There isn’t a whole lot of positives, bar the acquisition of Billy Frampton.

Losing Eddie Betts and Sam Jacobs hurts for sentimental reasons, while the exits of Alex Keath and Hugh Greenwood also frustrate.


The Crows have the fourth pick in the draft, but a solitary draftee won’t do much to assist the fledging South Australians in 2020.

17.Sydney Swans

The Joe Daniher saga was a controversial one, and the Swans’ failing to secure the mercurial – yet injury-riddled – key forward makes their trade period look like a bit of a fizzer.

They did acquire Lewis Taylor, but were overall uninspiring. I can’t foresee any drastic changes to their ladder position in 2020, or to be honest, much room for improvement.

18.Gold Coast

The Suns had a decent trade period. They stuck to their guns on Martin – although that might backfire on them – while bringing some handy, experienced additions, and extending Ben King.

Their draft hand – however artificially inflated – is strong, but despite all the goodwill, it’s hard to expect any drastic rise for the Suns next year. They’re planting many seeds for the future though.