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The 2011 trade period revisited: How the Hawks whiffed on Lachie Neale

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Editor
16th April, 2020
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Welcome back to another AFL trade period retrospective.

On Wednesday, we started this series off with a look at 2010. Spoiler alert: Gold Coast were flubbing trades left and right before ever running through a banner.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll take a look back a trade period from last decade, designating a definitive winner and loser in (almost) every trade.

2011 was another odd year, with the GWS mini-draft and their suite of compensation picks muddying the waters even more.

Geelong were fresh off their third flag in five seasons, with first-year coach Chris Scott at the helm for the most recent one. “Cats fans will never get sick of him,” we all thought at the time.

Trade 1

Richmond received: Steven Morris, pick 15
GWS received: Pick 14

I’m giving this one to Richmond, but straight away you can see why things have gone much better for Greater Western Sydney over the journey than for the Suns. Seriously, if you haven’t read Wednesday’s piece, check out the calamitous errors Gold Coast were making.

In this case, the Giants surrendered workhorse Steven Morris to the Tigers to improve their draft position by one. GWS took Devon Smith at 14 and Richmond took Brandon Ellis at 15. Neither side would be unhappy with this deal in hindsight, but Smith doesn’t surpass Ellis to the point you can call this trade completely fair.

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Winner: Win-win, but points narrowly go to Richmond.

Trade 2

Collingwood received: Jamie Elliott, Mnarty Clarke, pick 67
GWS received: Pick 25

Okay, this one didn’t go nearly as well for the Giants. Jamie Elliott has gone on to become a superb small forward, GAA star Clarke was allowed to make his return to the Magpies after an Irish sojourn, while pick 67 ended up being used on underrated ruckman Jarrod Witts.

The pick GWS got here ended up getting slung around a few more times and all they eventually got out of it was Jonathan O’Rourke.

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Winner: Collingwood

Trade 3

Hawthorn received: Jack Gunston, picks 53 and 71
Adelaide received: Picks 24, 46 and 64

Very hard for Adelaide to come out ahead here. The Crows have lost more than their fair share of players due to homesickness over the years and, behind Patrick Dangerfield, Jack Gunston’s departure has proven one of the toughest pills to swallow.

Adelaide did okay, using pick 24 to get another deal done and picking up Cam Ellis-Yolmen at 64, although pick 46 Nick Joyce never played a senior game. Hawthorn, for their part, used pick 71 in an ill-fated trade you’ll read about later, while only getting two games out of Alex Woodward and pick 53.

Still, you can’t care too much about blunt steak knives if you’re walking away with Gunston.

Winner: Hawthorn

Trade 4

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Gold Coast received: GWS mini-draft pick 1, pick 31
GWS received: Pick 4, Compensation pick (Gary Ablett, traded from Geelong in 2010)

If Jaeger O’Meara – the first mini-draft selection – was still in red and gold, this could’ve been a win-win. Unfortunately, he’s not and it isn’t.

O’Meara’s four seasons at the Gold Coast were enough for me to give them points over Geelong on Wednesday, but it’s not enough to win them this trade as GWS used pick 4 on Will Hoskin-Elliott and were able to swing the compensation pick Melbourne’s way two seasons later to secure Josh Kelly in that year’s draft.

What happened to pick 31, you ask? It got bundled alongside two other picks so the Suns could move three whole places up the draft order, of course.

Winner: GWS

Trade 5

St Kilda received: Ahmed Saad, Terry Milera, pick 25
GWS received: Pick 20

Not much to write about here – although who remembers Ahmed Saad’s absurdly long ‘walk-ups’ for goal? He actually had a decent career ahead of him before an energy drink-related doping ban.

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Saints get the points here by virtue of nabbing Seb Ross at 25, with this being another link the trade chain that saw the Giants pick O’Rourke ahead of several future stars the next season.

Winner: St Kilda

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Trade 6

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GWS received: Compensation pick (Rhys Palmer)
Fremantle received: Pick 20

As above, this was another deal the Giants orchestrated in the fateful O’Rourke quest, while the Dockers got an adequate player out of the deal in Hayden Crozier.

Winner: Fremantle

Trade 7

Adelaide received: Luke Brown, GWS mini-draft pick 2
GWS received: Pick 10, compensation pick (Phil Davis)

It’s important to note here that the Giants were ineligible to pick players from their own mini-draft – the AFL required them to trade the picks off in the hopes they’d bring in more established talent.

With that asterisk out of the way, this is still a decisive win for Adelaide. Brown has been a handy contributor in the back six for some time at West Lakes, while their mini-draft selection – Brad Crouch – is a genuine superstar.

The Giants didn’t do disastrously – turning the compensation pick into Lachie Plowman and Aidan Corr a year later – but Liam Sumner at pick 10 was a bit of a bust.

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Winner: Adelaide

Trade 8

North Melbourne received: Will Sierakowski
Hawthorn received: Pick 58

Another win for North on a technicality here. Sierakowski managed just seven games in his Kangaroos career, but the only thing Hawthorn did with the pick they received is use it in a disastrous trade later on.

Winner: North Melbourne

Trade 9

Richmond received: Ivan Maric
Adelaide received: Pick 37

For the first time in this series we’ve got a genuine win-win. Maric was superfluous to requirements at the Crows with Sam Jacobs arriving the previous season, with the big Croatian going on to have a fine run at Richmond before retiring in 2016.

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Adelaide were able to flip pick 37 one trade later to St Kilda and nab Tom T. Lynch, who’s been excellent too. Yes, Lynch has arguably had a bigger impact at the Crows than Maric did at the Tigers, but this wasn’t a straight swap. Both clubs got precisely what they were looking for, so they both get the points.

Winner: Genuine win-win

Trade 10

Adelaide received: Tom T. Lynch
St Kilda received: Pick 37

Again, splitting the points here as the Saints were able to pick up Jack Newnes with their draft pick. Newnes – now with Carlton – was remarkably consistent in the middle during his time with St Kilda, performing about as well as you can expect from a late second-rounder.

Bryce Gibbs Adelaide Crows

Tom Lynch (R) has been great for Adelaide. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

It’s hard to imagine Newnes or Lynch ever breaking through at their ‘old’ clubs, so this one goes down as a win-win too.

Winner: Genuine win-win

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Trade 11

Port Adelaide received: Brent Renouf
Hawthorn received: Pick 33

Looking back at these makes me marvel at how simple trades used to be. If this deal went down in 2019 there would have been at least three more draft picks – all 40 or above – changing hands.

In any case, Port got dudded here. Renouf managed only 16 games in his three-season stint with the Power, while the Hawks picked up Brad Hill with pick 33.

Winner: Hawthorn

Trade 12

Melbourne received: Mitch Clark
Brisbane received: Pick 12

This didn’t really work out for anyone. Clark, who dealt with serious mental health issues throughout his career, only played 15 times in two seasons for the Demons before heading over to Geelong.

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The Lions used pick 12 on Sam Docherty, who ended up demanding a trade back to Victoria barely five months after making his debut. Again, we’re going with the rule that spending a high pick on an established player puts more onus on you to make it work – so Melbourne loses this one.

Loser: Melbourne (Brisbane don’t win, though)

Trade 13

Brisbane received: Jordan Lisle
Hawthorn received: Pick 29

Jordan Lisle played 23 games in four seasons, while Hawthorn simply flipped pick 29 in the very next trade for virtually nothing in return.

Winner: Brisbane, but it really doesn’t count.

Trade 14

Fremantle received: Picks 29, 58 and 71
Hawthorn received: Picks 38 and 56

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Here we go. Perhaps the biggest – and only – trade blunder Hawthorn have made since, well, ever. Even then, it’s more a case of iffy drafting on their part than anything.

The Hawks shipped three picks away and traded one of the two they got back in another deal, netting Jordan Kelly – who never debuted – at 38. The picks they sent Freo’s way saw the Dockers nab Alex Forster (ignore that), Lachie Neale and Cameron Sutcliffe (in that order).

Just imagining triple-premiership era Hawthorn with Lachie freakin’ Neale waiting in the wings is enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies. Would they have ever stopped winning?

Lachie Neale

Lachie Neale in brown and gold? It nearly happened. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Had Freo nabbed local boy Elliot Yeo – who was taken one pick after Forster – this could have been absurdly lopsided. Dockers win, regardless.

Winner: Fremantle

Trade 15

Hawthorn received: Jarrad Boumann
GWS received: Pick 56

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Boumann played two games for the Hawks, while pick 56 Tom Downie managed nine for the Giants. In case I haven’t made my point clear, Hawthorn could have drafted Lachie Neale.

Winner: GWS, just.

Trade 16

GWS received: Chad Cornes, Dean Brogan, pick 69
Port Adelaide received: Pick 49

Remember when we all looked at the significantly older talent GWS were bringing in and thought there was no way they’d be as good as the Suns? What a time.

This was smart trading from both sides. The Giants got veteran presence for their crucial first year, with the picks both teams received being used to close smart deals elsewhere.

Winner: Genuine win-win

Trade 17

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Port Adelaide received: Brad Ebert, Pick 45
West Coast received: Pick 28, 49

West Coast were in a tough spot here, forced to ship a homesick young gun home and they didn’t really get enough back. The fact Port only needed to send a late first-rounder and a pick they got from GWS for two players they were going to delist would’ve made them the winner regardless of who ended up getting drafted.

Them nabbing Brendon Ah Chee at 45, while the Eagles spent 28 on Fraser McInnes, is just bonus points – even if Ah Chee is now with West Coast.

The Eagles did use pick 49 well later on, but Ebert has been such a gun for Port – they clearly won this one.

Winner: Port Adelaide

Trade 18

Collingwood received: Peter Yagmoor, pick 50
Gold Coast received: Pick 47

The Magpies got just eight games out of Yagmoor and pick 50 Jackson Paine. They don’t lose this trade, however, because Gold Coast predictably used pick 47 later on in the week as the steak knives in yet another horrid trade.

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Winner: Unbelievably, Collingwood.

Trade 19

Sydney received: Mitch Morton
Richmond received: Pick 79

Sydney Swans premiership player Mitch Morton. He kicked two goals in the decider as well, in the span of four minutes to end the second quarter. Powerless to stop the Morton Machine was Hawthorn.

The Tigers ended up passing on pick 79 anyway so, unless Morton burned down the Sydney changerooms, they were never going to come out ahead.

Winner: Sydney

Trade 20

GWS received: Luke Power
Brisbane received: Pick 69

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Another solid trade for the Giants here, nabbing a veteran with a glittering CV in exchange for a very late draft pick. The Lions used it on Mitchell Golby – who actually wasn’t bad for a pick 69 – but I reckon the lessons Power taught the GWS midfield are still in effect today.

Winner: GWS

Trade 21

West Coast received: Josh Hill
Western Bulldogs received: Pick 49

The Bulldogs picked up Daniel Pearce (not Danyle Pearce of Rising Star fame) with pick 49, who only managed five games.

Winner: West Coast

Trade 22

Brisbane received: Dayne Zorko, pick 47
Gold Coast received: Matthew Warnock, pick 34
Melbourne received: Pick 52

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That’s right, Gold Coast had the rights to a kid called Dayne Zorko – a Queensland zone selection – and shipped him away in their pursuit of Matthew Warnock. You can’t make this stuff up.

Dayne Zorko poses during the Brisbane Lions AFL team photo day

Was almost a Sun. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The Lions made out like absolute bandits here, giving pick 34 to their local rivals (who traded it!) and getting a future club talisman in return. The draft picks Brisbane and Melbourne aren’t worth a mention; the headline here clearly is another catastrophic Suns stuff-up.

Winner: Brisbane
Loser: Gold Coast

Trade 23

Brisbane received: Ben Hudson
Western Bulldogs received: Pick 70

Big Benny Hudson polled the only two Brownlow votes of his career in his one-year stay at the Lions, with the Bulldogs using pick 70 to promote Luke Dahlhaus off the rookie list.

Winner: Western Bulldogs

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Trade 24

Gold Coast received: Pick 26
Geelong received: Picks 32 and 34

So, after landing pick 34 for shipping off Dayne bloody Zorko, the Suns packaged that up with their existing second-round pick to move six places down the draft order. Wait *checks notes*, no, they traded pick 26 as well. The kicker? They traded it for a compensation pick that they wouldn’t use until 2013. What on earth was going on inside that war room?

Geelong picked up future Fremantle duo Joel Hamling and Shane Kersten which, in most other scenarios, wouldn’t be a win. But it is here.

Winner: Geelong

Trade 25

Gold Coast received: Pick 24
Adelaide received: Picks 27, 31 and 68

Now we see the Suns’ master plan in action. Give up three picks to move three places up in the draft and use that new selection to acquire Henry Schade. Masterful, just masterful.

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The Crows, of course, used the pick the Suns gave them on a marginally better player in Sam Kerridge, while trading the other two for an excellent return.

Winner: Have a guess.

Trade 26

Sydney received: Tony Armstrong, picks 35 and 68
Adelaide received: Lewis Johnston

Neither player went on to do a hell of a lot here, with Armstrong managing 15 games in two seasons for the Swans and Johnston just 10 in four seasons for the Crows. Adelaide have to take the loss given they badly overpaid to get their guy.

Winner: Sydney

Trade 27

Sydney received: Tommy Walsh
St Kilda received: Picks 35 and 68

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Injuries cruelled Walsh’s stint with Sydney. He was actually a late withdrawal from the first game of their successful 2012 finals campaign, paving the way for Mitch Morton to earn a medal, while a serious hamstring injury the next season was what saw Tom Mitchell subbed on for his debut.

Pick 35 Daniel Markworth never debuted for the Saints, but Beau Maister’s 21 games from pick 68 see them win this one.

Winner: St Kilda

Trade 28

Adelaide received: Josh Jenkins, pick 41
Essendon received: Pick 31

Everyone loves to rag on Josh Jenkins, but he was a model of consistency during his time at the Crows and was one of a very small group who didn’t regress horrifically after the 2017 grand final defeat.

Josh Jenkins

Josh Jenkins, during his time with the Crows. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

In any case, the tall forward couldn’t crack into the Essendon side as a rookie and Adelaide proved to be the big beneficiary. Mitchell Grigg at pick 41 sweetened the deal a bit too, although the Bombers aren’t completely red-faced here as they scored Jackson Merrett at 31.

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Winner: Adelaide

Trade 29

Gold Coast received: Compensation pick (Nathan Bock)
Richmond received: Pick 26, compensation pick (Nathan Krakouer)

If you’ve been following along, you’ll probably already know this trade. Gold Coast ended up using this compensation pick two years later on Jack Leslie, while the Tigers turned their compensation pick into Kamdyn McIntosh the next season – which makes up for Todd Elton being taken at 26.

Winner: Richmond

And so another trade period retrospective goes into the books. Tune in on Monday for a revisit of 2012’s player movement period.