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AFL Trades: Is it Bulldogs or bust for Adam Treloar?

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Expert
10th November, 2020
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If Collingwood move on Adam Treloar before the close of the 2020 AFL trade period, it seems increasingly likely that his destination will be the Western Bulldogs.

It was reported on Tuesday afternoon that after days of speculation, Treloar has met with the club and undergone a medical, with results to be known today.

That medical may be the trigger for the Bulldogs to make a decision that could shape the rest of the trade period, putting other deals into motion – or leaving them hanging.

But putting the medical aside for the moment, it’s prudent to ask if Adam Treloar is really the answer for the Bulldogs.

With Josh Dunkley going out, the club are looking for another high-end midfield prospect, but the situation warrants further consideration.

After all, it appears that the chief reason Dunkley wants out is because of limited opportunities to play his preferred inside midfield role, where Treloar would be hoping to play most of his football.

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Trloar is known for having some speed and the ability to accumulate possessions, but he’s still a coalface player, averaging more than five clearances a game over the last five years.

The Dogs say they can offer Dunkley just as much opportunity to play inside midfield as he’ll get at Essendon – but you can only put so many players on the ball.

Josh Dunkley of the Bulldogs handpasses the ball

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

I would be concerned that giving Dunkley that opportunity could mean taking it away from Tom Liberatore and putting his career back into the wilderness, or taking it from Bailey Smith and halting his development.

Letting Dunkley go – disappointing as it is – could be the move that rebalances the Bulldogs’ midfield for the longterm. Replacing him with Treloar could send them back to square one.

That said, this is a Luke Beveridge-coached team we’re talking about here. Treloar might be no less likely to line up as a dour back-pocket defender than in the midfield should he make the move.

Treloar’s salary, too, has to be a consideration. While wages are often exaggerated at this time of year, it’s been consistently reported that his contract is worth $4.5 million over the next five years.

That is, with all due respect to Treloar, more than even the best version of him is worth – factor in his recent trouble with repeat hamstring injuries and it becomes a seriously intimidating price tag.

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Collingwood will contribute some of that but it’s still going to be a significant financial burden to take on, and the Bulldogs, who have an exciting crop of young stars who will be looking for big contracts in years to come, should consider the risks carefully.

Only time will tell if Treloar wears the red, white and blue – and, if so, whether it proves a smart move – but if it happens, it might mean movement on some of the big deals still left on the table.

It would certainly push Dunkley’s trade to Essendon into motion, and getting that done may require the Bombers to finally strike a deal with Carlton over Adam Saad.

North Melbourne’s Jack Ziebell chases Essendon’s Adam Saad

Essendon’s Adam Saad (Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

It’s been suggested that Carlton’s Pick 8 could be the selection that gets Dunkley to the Dons and perhaps might even go all the way to Collingwood, depending on what deals are struck.

Of course, if the Dogs say no deal to Treloar – for reasons medical, financial or anything else in between – those interconnected deals might only be driven deeper into limbo, not to mention likely putting Adam himself in the position of remaining at a club that has tried so fervently to push him out.

With two days left on the clock, 2020 has proven to be yet another trade period where Essendon are one of, if not the most interesting club to follow.

The Bombers could total half a dozen players in and out before all is said and done, and by all reports have been as antagonistic in negotiations as ever.

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They’re demanding a first-round draft pick for Orazio Fantasia but refuse to accept that Jye Caldwell is worth the same, and the requests they reportedly made of Carlton in exchange for Saad were typically outlandish.

Enough hyperbole goes around at this time of year that it’s probably safe to assume some extra spice has been added to those stories – but there’s no arguing that Adrian Dodoro always has and still will drive a hard bargain.

It’s a strategy with some merits. Essendon have certainly managed to extract maximum value from some past trades because of it – getting Pick 5 through the door for Jake Carlisle is one that comes to mind.

But others would make the argument that Dodoro’s confrontational tactics have held Essendon back, preventing them from developing goodwill relationships with others and perhaps missing out on other opportunities because of that.

One good bit of business they got done on Tuesday was bringing across Peter Wright from Gold Coast for the remarkably low cost of a future fourth-round pick.

Wright’s talent is undoubted and the role he plays as a key forward who can pinch-hit in the ruck is exactly what the Dons need – it seems a perfect match on paper.

My concern in that we fawned over similar bargains in recent years when Hawthorn secured the likes of Tom Scully or Jonathon Patton for insignificant picks, only to find out that there’s a reason their previous home let them go so easily.

If Wright can make good on his talent, it’ll be the bargain of the trade period – and we all love goal-kicking key forwards, so fingers crossed that happens.

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In other deals done yesterday, Mitch Hannan and Stefan Martin arrived at the Western Bulldogs, going some way to addressing their needs for a medium forward and some ruck support respectively.

Braydon Preuss looks set to become GWS’s No.1 ruckman in 2020 after joining the Giants, while North Melbourne will hope they’ve pulled out a winning lottery ticket with little-known Lachie Young.

Between the Preuss deal and a pick swap with Adelaide, Melbourne now hold picks 26, 31 and 33 – giving them some significant ammunition with which to approach the Ben Brown deal, or perhaps eye a move up the draft order.