Port Adelaide and the Brisbane Lions have completed a pick-swap, which sees the Power gain another pick inside this year’s top 20 at the cost of giving up their 2020 first-rounder.
The Power have obtained pick 16 from Brisbane in this year’s draft, as well as selections 52, 55 and 72, in exchange for giving Brisbane picks 29 and 71 this year, and their first-round pick next year.
The exchange appears likely to have been motivated by the need for Port Adelaide to match a bid for father-son prospect Jackson Mead, which was expected to come in the 20s.
Port would have needed to use pick 29 to match this, but by doing this trade can now instead get three picks in before a bid comes (currently selections 12, 16 and 18), and then match for Mead with later picks.
The trade leaves Port with picks 52, 55, 66, 67, 68 and 71 as late picks of value, which should be enough to successfully match a bid for Mead so long as it doesn’t come earlier than pick 21, which would be very unlikely.
As for Brisbane, they will now enter the draft with pick 21 – gained in a trade with the Gold Coast Suns last year- as their first selection, followed by their newly-gained pick 29, as well as pick 34 also in the second round.
The Lions will now hold two picks in the first round of the 2020 draft, allowing them to either keep stocking young talent onto their list, or perhaps providing them the currency with which to plot a play for a star opposition recruit.
What Port does with its three picks in the 20 will become a big talking point, with the club potentially set to take six first round picks in two years after selecting Connor Rozee, Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma last year, all three impressing in their first season.
Port could look to combine multiple picks, say 16 and 18, to move up the order and snatch a top-ten talent, with Melbourne’s pick 8 and Carlton’s pick 9 both believe to be on the trade table.
They’ve been linked at times to key defender Fisher McAsey who it’s believed has also drawn the interest of Adelaide and Geelong in particular, and local boy Dylan Stephens would appear a naturally good fit.
Perhaps the biggest talking point longterm though will be the future first-round pick they have given up and the question of where in the 2020 order it ultimately falls.
Theirs becomes the third 2020 first-round pick to be traded to a rival club, with West Coast giving theirs to Geelong in the Tim Kelly deal, and Melbourne trading theirs to North Melbourne in a pick swap last month.
We saw the infamous Liam Stocker trade add to the pressure on Carlton coach Brendon Bolton during the 2019 season, and with Ken Hinkley understood to need a finals finish in 2020 to keep his job, we may see a similar narrative develop here.
That said, given the specifics of the scenario allowing Port to now secure Mead for a clutch of late picks, it’s likely both clubs will view themselves as winners unless the Power have a shockingly awful year in 2020.