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Gambling a future on a corrupted present: The trade that will sink a club

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Roar Rookie
15th July, 2020
26

The infamous Liam Stocker pick swap between Carlton and Adelaide was possibly the most-followed story of the 2019 season.

Carlton had gambled their immediate future on the belief that prized number one pick Sam Walsh would assist Patrick Cripps in a climb up the ladder in 2019.

A similar trade was made at the end of the 2019 season but has not garnered as much interest. During the 2019 trade period, Melbourne gambled on themselves and traded their future first-round pick to North Melbourne, along with picks 26 and 50 of that year.

In return, they received pick eight, which they forwarded on to Fremantle for picks 10, 28 and a future fourth-round pick.

By conducting these trades, Melbourne essentially backed themselves to regain their 2018 form and rebound back into the top eight.

The trading frenzy that followed saw Melbourne also surrendering their future second-round pick, a move that was completed to receive Ed Langdon. As a result, Melbourne went into the draft last year with picks three, ten and 28.

The young ruck/forward utility Luke Jackson was selected with their first selection, despite Melbourne having the best ruck in the competition in Max Gawn.

Pick eight eventually became 12 after Gold Coast’s priority pick and some matched bids. With it, Melbourne selected live-wire forward Kysaiah Pickett, who has played four of the six games so far this season.

Pick 28 eventually became 32, and Melbourne selected Trent Rivers, who has featured in three games.

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None of these three selections are expected to carry Melbourne like Sam Walsh was expected to at Carlton. Rather, it was the experienced Melbourne players who played in a preliminary final just a season before who needed to rediscover their form.

Unfortunately for Melbourne, they sit 2-3 with a game against Essendon in hand, and their wins have come against improved Carlton (by one point) and Gold Coast (17 points). There were plenty of stages in both games where Melbourne looked like losing, but holding on against both sides have improved their modest start to the season.

When the Essendon game eventually is played, it is expected that Melbourne will lose that game as well, due to the Bombers being the better side, and having a good start to the year, sitting at 4-1.

The Demons still haven’t sorted out their dysfunctional forward line. Sam Weideman played his first game of the season and will hold his spot if Tom McDonald misses with his eye injury. Bailey Fritsch has been Melbourne’s best goal scorer with six in five games.

Simon Goodwin

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The only positive Melbourne can take out of this draft is that of cruel optimism. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, underage and league football has been abandoned for the season, meaning scouts have limited opportunities to view talent this year. Relying on previous seasons for information and footage is fraught with danger.

Melbourne currently hold Hawthorn’s second-round pick, which they received in the Sam Frost trade, and their own third-rounder, meaning top talent won’t be arriving at Melbourne’s shores unless through a trade.

North Melbourne are currently the big winners of that trade, currently holding picks three and four.

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Melbourne need to kick-start their dying season as soon as possible, with a match-up against underwhelming Hawthorn a good chance to start. Otherwise, this year will be another one to forget for Melbourne fans, as will the draft.