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The 2015 trade period revisited: The Suns trade themselves out of two superstars

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26th April, 2020
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This was the year both the trade period and draft were turned on their heads.

Future draft pick trading came into play in 2015, as did the points system for draft picks – meaning clubs had to look out for rival bids on their academy or father-son selections.

As such, it led to a bumper trade period, with 35 deals getting done this year compared to just 19 in 2014. Who came out on top? I’m here to deliver definitive verdicts.

This series has looked at every trade period since 2010 so far, so check out the full series to revisit earlier articles.

Given the draft order got put through the blender thanks to academy and father-son bids, I’ve again listed the actual pick each club received in the trade as opposed to the indicative one reported at the time.

Trade 1

West Coast received: Jack Redden
Brisbane received: pick 21

The Lions managed to fetch themselves a decent reward for the loss of Redden, nabbing pick 17 (which became 21 after all the academy hocus pocus) after seeing Elliot Yeo walk for pick 28 just two years earlier.

Bizarrely they opted to send the pick North Melbourne’s way for Ryan Bastinac as opposed to taking it to the draft. Given the state of their list at the time, I really can’t back that decision.

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Redden is in career-best form after a difficult first two seasons at the Eagles, while Bastinac tapered off badly after a strong first year with Brisbane and was delisted last year.

Winner: West Coast

Trade 2

Geelong received: Patrick Dangerfield, pick 50
Adelaide received: Dean Gore, picks 11 and 33

Adelaide were never going to win this. Wayne Milera has shown glimpses from pick 11 and still has oodles of time, but Dean Gore never debuted and pick 33 was used to trade for Troy Menzel, who played just four games.

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Dangerfield’s resume speaks for itself.

Winner: Geelong

Trade 3

Geelong received: Lachie Henderson
Carlton received: 2016 first-round pick

The first-ever trade for a future draft pick. The Cats got only two good seasons out of Henderson before he was struck down by injury and ultimately delisted, whereas the Blues flipped the pick onto GWS in a trade that got them Lachie Plowman (as well as three other Giants) and the draft pick used on Harry McKay.

Winner: Carlton

Trade 4

Fremantle received: Harley Bennell, pick 27
Gold Coast received: picks 20 and 38

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How’s this for a headline that aged like milk in the sun? “Harley heads home as Freo loads up for 2016 flag assault”. That’s what afl.com.au went with at the time. Oh boy.

Bennell of course managed just two games in a truly miserable stint at the Dockers, although it has to be said they didn’t give up that much to get him.

Pick 27 Darcy Tucker is marginally ahead of pick 20 Brayden Fiorini, with the trajectories of their respective careers likely to be what decides the winner.

The Suns gave pick 38 back to the Dockers at the end of the trade period for their 2016 second-rounder, which they used on Pearce Hanley.

Bennell didn’t work out at all, so the Suns take the lead for now but, as I said, Tucker vs Fiorini is what this deal will end up being.

Winner: Gold Coast, for now.

Trade 5

West Coast received: Lewis Jetta
Sydney received: Callum Sinclair

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As it stands, this is the most recent straight player swap and, the way the AFL’s going, it could well be the last.

The Swans deserve a fair bit of credit here. Still under the thumb of the trade ban and with Jetta requesting the trade, getting a genuine best 22 player back in return is superb negotiating.

Sinclair has been very important both in the ruck – thanks to Sam Naismith’s injuries – and up forward for Sydney, while Jetta’s reinvention as a rebounding defender with the Eagles has been integral to their success too.

The 2018 premiership tips this in West Coast’s favour for some, but both players and clubs are in a better place thanks to this deal, so I’m splitting the points.

Winner: genuine win-win

Callum Sinclair Sydney Swans AFL 2017

Callum Sinclair has been better for Sydney than people realise. (Mark Metcalfe/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Trade 6

Melbourne received: Jake Melksham
Essendon received: pick 30

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After ASADA wiped out his debut season with the Demons, Melksham returned with the two best years of his career in 2017 and 2018 before injury cruelled 2019.

Melbourne are in the lead for now, but pick 30 Mason Redman burst onto the scene last season and could well turn the tide before his career’s done.

Winner: Melbourne, for now.

Trade 7

North Melbourne received: Jed Anderson, picks 37 and 39
Hawthorn received: picks 19 and 55

It was a bit of a risk for North to hand over pick 19 for someone who’d played just ten games at that point. As serviceable as Anderson has been – and he appears to still be on the way up – he hasn’t quite justified the price just yet. The Kangaroos did manage to turn picks 37 and 39 into four selections, but only one of those players is still with the club.

The Hawks, on the other hand, landed Ryan Burton with pick 19 – someone I think they’ll seriously regret trading in a few years – while pick 55 was (via another trade with GWS) turned into Blake Hardwick.

Winner: Hawthorn

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Trade 8

Richmond received: Jacob Townsend, pick 120
GWS received: pick 70

Both clubs made a mockery of the new draft system a bit here. Picks 70 and 120? Come on. You get no points for guessing they were both passed on.

The Giants essentially donated Townsend to the Tigers, with his 16 goals in five games in 2017 enough to make him a cult hero.

Winner: Richmond

Trade 9

Adelaide received: Curtly Hampton
GWS received: 2016 second-round pick

Hampton managed just 12 games for the Crows in two seasons. That’s not a good enough return for an established player.

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The Giants were able to use this pick as ammo to land pick 2 in the 2016 draft.

Winner: GWS

Trade 10

Brisbane received: Tom Bell, pick 47
Carlton received: picks 26 and 60

Another pick Brisbane would have been better off taking to the draft. Bell only played 20 games in three seasons, while pick 47 Sam Skinner has pulled the jumper on once.

The Blues take the points here, with pick 26 being turned into Charlie Curnow via another trade.

Winner: Carlton

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Trade 11

Brisbane received: Josh Walker and Jarrad Jansen
Geelong received: 2016 third-round pick

This one I can stomach a bit more – a low-risk, medium-to-high reward deal. Walker was adequate in his four years at the Lions, although there’s daylight between 23-goal campaign in 2016 and the other three. Jansen played just eight games.

The Cats with their selection took Esava Ratugolea, who at just 21 years of age should land them the points eventually. Josh Jenkins’s arrival does make this year interesting for him, however.

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Winner: Geelong, eventually.

Trade 12

GWS received: Steve Johnson
Geelong received: 2016 fifth-round pick

If Stevie J hadn’t hit Josh Kennedy high in the 2016 qualifying final, we would have had a different premier. That blemish aside, the Giants again benefitted handsomely from a Cats salary dump.

Winner: GWS

Trade 13

Geelong received: Zac Smith
Gold Coast received: picks 45 and 53

Smith managed 44 games for the Cats in his first two seasons but only six over the latter two and is now back on the Gold Coast.

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The Suns didn’t do anything of note with the draft picks, though, so they still lose.

Winner: Geelong

Trade 14

Gold Coast received: Daniel Currie
North Melbourne received: pick 53

Six appearances was all Currie managed for the Suns, while the Kangaroos used pick 53 as part of the Bastinac trade, which netted them quantity draft picks. You heard me. Quantity.

Winner: Nobody

Trade 15

West Coast received: Jonathan Giles, pick 57
Essendon received: pick 54

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One hundred per cent of Jonathan Giles’s Footywire page traffic has come from me doing this series. The journeyman made his final stop here with a nine-game cameo at the Eagles, with four-gamer Kurt Mutimer joining in.

The Bombers landed quite the steal here, however, nabbing Mitch Brown with pick 54. Brown kicked 59 goals in 55 games with the Dons before astonishingly being delisted last season despite finishing third in their goal-kicking tally.

Winner: Essendon

Trade 16

Collingwood received: Jeremy Howe, pick 68
Adelaide received: Paul Seedsman
Port Adelaide received: Jimmy Toumpas, pick 37
Melbourne received: Ben Kennedy, picks 34 and 46

Collingwood clearly walk away the winners here, although everyone did get something out of this.

Howe is a superb floating tall defender and one of the more head-scratching Melbourne offloads in some time, with the Pies giving up only Seedsman and Kennedy to get him.

The Crows can’t be too ashamed either, turning pick 37 into the serviceable Seedsman.

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The Demons and Power look to be out in the cold a bit, with Toumpas and Kennedy well off the pace as far as the established players go, although Port picked up the reliable Riley Bonner at pick 37 and Melbourne managed to con Gold Coast (who else?) into giving them the draft pick used on Clayton Oliver with 34.

Winner: Collingwood

Collingwood Magpies players sing the team song after a victory

Jeremy Howe (R) has been great value. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Trade 17

St Kilda received: Nathan Freeman, pick 68
Collingwood received: 2016 second-round pick, pick 63

Sorry, Saints fans, but you cannot give away a future second-rounder for someone who’s not debuted and delist them after two games. The Magpies flipped the second-rounder to Brisbane in exchange for James Aish, netting them the win as well.

Winner: Collingwood

Trade 18

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Port Adelaide received: Charlie Dixon, pick 45
Gold Coast received: picks 11 and 36, and two 2016 second-round picks
Richmond received: compensation pick (Rhys Palmer)

Good on the Suns for getting creative and securing four pretty good draft picks for their wantaway key forward.

How many of those picks did they trade again? That’s right, all four! How many of those trades worked out? You know the answer.

So, no, Gold Coast did not use this opportunity to build for the future, while the Power got themselves an excellent key forward who’s put 118 goals on the board in four seasons thus far.

The Tigers probably end up the real losers here, however, surrendering two second-rounders to move up to the pick they used to acquire Chris Yarran.

Winner: Port Adelaide

Trade 19

Melbourne received: picks 4, 11 and 43
Gold Coast received: picks 8, 34 and a 2016 first-round pick

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As far as Gold Coast blunders go, this one’s up there.

Let’s give up picks four and 11 to move to pick eight and nab a future first-rounder. Melbourne won’t pick anyone good, right?

Oh, whoops, we just gave them Clayton Oliver.

Well, that’s okay, because we picked up our future Voss-Lappin-Black in… Callum Ah Chee, Josh Schoenfeld and Will Brodie.

Oliver has played 83 games, while the Suns trio has managed a combined 80.

The icing on top is that pick 11 was then given by the Demons to the Giants, who used that very pick to block Gold Coast’s bid on Jacob Hopper in the draft.

Winner: Melbourne

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Trade 20

Adelaide received: Troy Menzel
Carlton received: Sam Kerridge, pick 33

Let’s breeze through some of these ordinary ones.

Forty-one games for Kerrdige beats four games for Menzel.

Winner: Carlton

Trade 21

Carlton received: Lachie Plowman, Jed Lamb, Andrew Phillips, Liam Sumner and pick 10
GWS received: picks 33, 63, 95 and Geelong’s 2016 first-round pick (from Henderson trade)

Plowman, pick 10 Harry McKay and even Lamb (for a while) have made this trade worth it for the Blues.

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GWS get to share the spoils, however, with pick 33 helping them shore up their Adam Treloar compensation, pick 63 netting them important bid-matching capital and Geelong’s first-rounder helping them trade for Tim Taranto’s pick in 2016.

Winner: genuine win-win

Trade 22

Gold Coast received: Matt Rosa
West Coast received: pick 36

Rosa did his time at the Suns, with the Eagles trading pick 36 again and eventually selecting Luke Partington, who is now a professional wrestler.

Winner: Gold Coast

Trade 23

Hawthorn received: Jack Fitzpatrick
Melbourne received: pick 94

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The Demons passed on pick 94, another donation.

Winner: Hawthorn, technically.

Trade 24

Collingwood received: Adam Treloar, pick 33
GWS received: picks 9, 65 and a 2016 first-round pick

Treloar’s taken his game to another level at the Magpies – I thought at the time he was the player GWS couldn’t afford to lose, but that’s been proven incorrect.

Still, the Giants did okay, sending pick 9 Melbourne’s way to secure more bid-matching capital and using the 2016 first-rounder as part of an elaborate plot to land pick 2.

Winner: genuine win-win

Trade 25

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Melbourne received: Tom Bugg, pick 9
GWS received: picks 11, 43 and 64

This is why all the seemingly needless pick swapping is actually quite important.

At first glance giving up Tom Bugg and pick 9 to get pick 11 seems absurd overs although, as mentioned before, it was pick 11 that let GWS block the Suns’ bid on Jacob Hopper at the draft. Pick 43 was one of two picks the Giants had to use to block Richmond’s bid on Matt Kennedy, while 64 was also used to block Melbourne’s bid on Matthew Flynn.

Before you start calling this a GWS win, I’ll note that Sam Weideman was who the Dees landed at nine, so it’s fair to split the points.

Winner: genuine win-win

AFL players Matthew Kennedy and Jacob Hopper of the GWS Giants playing Essendon Bombers

Jacob Hopper (C) was almost a Sun. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Trade 26

Collingwood received: James Aish, picks 34 and 53
Brisbane received: Ryan Bastinac, picks 37 and 39, St Kilda’s 2016 second-round pick (from Freeman trade) and North Melbourne’s 2016 third-round pick
North Melbourne received: picks 21, 31, 33 and 43

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This one’s all in the picks. Aish puts Collingwood in the lead thanks to his 50-game return edging out that of Bastinac’s, but the Lions did really at the draft here.

Pick 37 was used to block Richmond’s bid on Eric Hipwood, obviously a future superstar, 39 was used on Rhys Mathieson (adequate), while the two second-rounders were handed to the Giants in 2016 to land Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry.

The Magpies also sent their two picks to the Giants, getting the rights to a fair few decent second-tier players in Brayden Sier, Tom Phillips and Rupert Wills.

North landed Ben McKay, Ryan Clarke, Mitchell Hibberd and Corey Wagner with their selections. Only one of those players (McKay) is still at the club, and he’s played four games.

Winner: Brisbane

Trade 27

Essendon received: Craig Bird, pick 18
Sydney received: picks 28 and 44

Giving up Bird and a first-rounder to get two worse picks in return seems lopsided, but the Swans turned pick 28 into two picks with the Eagles and that, combined with 44, formed the bulk of their points used to stop Melbourne from pinching Callum Mills.

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Bird was a bit of a disappointment with Essendon and was delisted after just two seasons, while pick 18 wasn’t used very well in the next trade.

Winner: Sydney

Trade 28

St Kilda received: Jake Carlisle, pick 18
Essendon received: picks 6 and 29

While Carlisle hasn’t hit the heights many expected of him at the Saints, he’s been steady in the back six. St Kilda manages to take the win here through superior drafting, however, with pick 18 Jade Gresham holding a handy lead over pick 6 Aaron Francis at this stage of their respective careers.

Pick 29 Alex Morgan never played for the Bombers.

Winner: St Kilda

Trade 29

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Hawthorn received: pick 44
GWS received: picks 55 and 58

Another win-win here, with Hawthorn reeling in a decent pick 44 in Blake Hardwick and the Giants using both picks here to get Harrison Himmelberg out of Richmond’s clutches on draft night.

Winner: genuine win-win

Trade 30

West Coast received: pick 28
Sydney received: picks 36 and 37

The Eagles got only six games out of Luke Partington, while the Swans used these two picks, as mentioned above, to land Mills.

Winner: Sydney

Trade 31

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Carlton received: pick 12 and a 2016 third-round pick
Western Bulldogs received: picks 25, 26 and a 2016 fourth-round pick

The Blues actually had quite a good year on the trade front in 2015. This deal allowed them to pick Charlie Curnow at 12, while the 2016 third-rounder was eventually swung GWS’s way (where else?) to secure Caleb Marchbank, who’s been dependable.

The Bulldogs didn’t do badly here either, using pick 25 to prize Josh Dunkley away from the Swans – the first father-son bid not to be matched – although they fall short by virtue of pick 26 Kieran Collins playing just once.

Charlie Curnow

Smart trading saw the Blues land Curnow. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Winner: Carlton

Trade 32

Richmond received: Chris Yarran
Carlton received: compensation pick (Rhys Palmer)

David Cuningham, taken by the Blues with pick 23, is still finding his feet at AFL level, but Yarran ultimately winds up the biggest trade bust of the decade after playing no games for the Tigers.

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Winner: Carlton

Trade 33

Collingwood received: picks 32, 58, 63 and 84
GWS received: picks 34, 53 and 63

Good trade for both clubs here, with the Magpies landing the aforementioned trio of Sier, Phillips and Wills – they passed on 84 – and the Giants using these picks to match bids on Himmelberg and Kennedy.

Quick note: Both clubs didn’t trade ‘pick 63’; the order of picks just changed that much.

Winner: genuine win-win

Trade 34

Sydney received: Michael Talia, pick 69
Western Bulldogs received: 2016 fourth-round pick

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Talia’s one-game career at the Swans generated a lot of controversy, with the defender investigated (and later cleared) for allegedly leaking Bulldogs game information the previous season, before being suspended after being found guilty of drug possession.

Given the Bulldogs got five games out 2016 fourth-rounder Fergus Greene, they get the win.

Winner: Western Bulldogs

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Trade 35

Fremantle received: picks 38 and 55
Gold Coast received: pick 52 and a 2016 second-round pick

Strange trade for the Suns, who received pick 38 from the Dockers earlier in the trade period and just gave it back.

Amazingly, they probably come out ahead here. Pick 38 Harley Balic and pick 55 Sam Collins played just 18 games between them for the Dockers, with Collins now getting a second crack with Gold Coast.

Willis only played five games before being delisted, but the Suns were able to trade the 2016 second-rounder for Pearce Hanley. He hasn’t been spectacular, but it’s enough to get Gold Coast the points.

Winner: Gold Coast

Phew, that was long one. The task doesn’t get any easier from here, however. Join me on Wednesday as we put 2016 in the spotlight.