Much has been written about Collingwood’s dumpster fire of a trade period. Relationships were forever fractured.
The list manager was thrown to the media wolves. The coach had more position changes than Carlton in the 1970 grand final. Now the president has conceded that his time is up (well, this one has).
To put it succinctly, the Pies entered a firestorm of unexpectedly high total player payments, after using 39 players in 2020 and having back-ended some big contracts, which combined with the Covid-enforced salary cap reductions put the list management team in an invidious position.
After leaks came out questioning Adam Treloar’s character, commitment, and attitude, then the bombshell that the leadership group no longer wanted him, he took the initiative and teed up the move to the Bulldogs, which transpired on the deadline and still left Collingwood in a $1.5 million dollar hole, down from $4.5 million.
Jaidyn Stevenson was the next player to suddenly get shopped around, having walked out of his exit interview thinking he was a required player. A phone call to the coach told a very different story, so he got his manager to find him a new club.
Tom Phillips ended up being a good old fashioned salary dump where the club got a token fourth round pick and he even toed the official line of both clubs, but the fact is that he was being paid too much for the Pies to afford for his output and then the Hawks renegotiated his contract anyway.
Phillips was only worth pick 65, while Atu Bosenavulagi was valued as an afterthought pick 70, with Stevo equivalent to an early second-rounder at best, while Treloar could end up worth a packet of chips if the Bulldogs win another flag.
Where to go from being the indisputable losers of a firesale trade period with so many winners?
Well, strangely enough, they continued to trade, being involved in six of the 12 live trades on the night.
But first, they rode their fortune, selecting the versatile Oliver Henry from the Geelong Falcons at 17, then exciting mid, Finlay Macrae from the Oakleigh Chargers at 19, before matching a bid on their own NGA prospect, midfielder Reef McInnes, who was also an Oakleigh product.
After that, a dizzying exchange of picks coalesced into picks 30 and 31, where the Pies gave away future first- and second-rounders, moving picks around the board after they matched their NGA bid, landing Woodville-West Torrens Caleb Poulter and Northern Knights Liam McMahon, then going up one last time to get South Adelaide’s Beau McCreery.
Henry is great value that far down the draft as he offers plenty forward or back, while Macrae promises to be similar to his brother from another mother as a ball-winning accumulator in the guts.
McInnes was probably expected to have his name called earlier than his two new teammates, but once he did go off the board it made Coolingwood’s strategy clear.
Poulter ended up sliding all the way out of the first round, perhaps because his raw talent still requires honing, whereas, McMahon might have been considered a reach, although a developing key forward at this stage of the second round was a welcome pick up for the Pies.
McCreery was an unexpected pick in the third round, although an overage medium-sized goalsneak with a season of SANFL has plenty of upside for a club that had five retirements among 13 departures.
At the Rookie draft, the Pies shored up the end of their list with the Bendigo Pioneers 17-year-old, Jack Ginnivan, a small forward, and Tasmanian, Isaac Chugg, who showed enough as a bottom ager last year in the NAB League to be given a late rookie spot.
With ongoing salary cap issues exacerbated by the ten per cent cut, Collingwood goes into season 2021 with 36 primary listed players and a full rookie list, but it is hard to see them adding to this if they had to ask the Western Bulldogs to frontend Treloar’s salary to help their TPP.
Amongst all of this, Collingwood fans have been raging. The painful trade period was somewhat hosed down by a positive draft night, while Eddie McGuire has set a transition date to end his quarter of a century as President.
However, the talent depletion and the burnt draft capital are a massive loss, despite the bright flaming promise of future father-son, Nick Daicos, who Pies fans had better hope truly isn’t going to be a number one prospect next year or else they may not be able to afford to match Daics 3.0.
For all Collingwood’s fiddling, the dumpster fire may be quenched, but the stench lingers.