This year’s AFL trade period will be one of the most important in recent memory. Many teams could push for finals afterwards, and some ageing teams could fall out of contention.
Key players like Luke Dunstan, Pat Lipinski, Peter Ladhams, Jeremy Finlayson and Adam Cerra are headlining articles. Whereas younger players such as Jordan Clark, Nathan Krueger and Jordan Dawson could prove vital to helping ageing teams stay in contention.
These are some teams who have a really strong (or weak) hand in the trade.
There’s a lot going on in the City of Churches this month. Delisted halfback Daniel Talia is seeking a new home, lockdown defender Jake Kelly is heading to Windy Hill and small forward Tyson Stengle is trying to resuscitate his career. In return they could nab Swans young gun Jordan Dawson, but this seems unlikely, as there are many other keen clubs who have a bit more to trade for him.
There is one player who comes to mind when this club is mentioned at the moment: former Bulldog Pat Lipinski. He could add some much-needed spark to the club’s midfield and could maybe lift them up the ladder. Add this to the arrival of Nathan Krueger and the almost inevitable Nick Daicos and they will rise up the ranks a fair bit.
It is almost certain that rising star Adam Cerra will leave the club for Carlton. But who will they get in return? Jordan Clark. They have to get him in return for Cerra, although it may be hard to lure him away from Kardinia Park as the Cats will desperately need him to play next year.
After winning the 2021 grand final, the Demons look set for a potential dynasty, as they have mature-age recruits in Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Christian Salem – the list goes on. But the arrival of Luke Dunstan will elevate them to an almost unbeatable level. His aggression towards the ball is first class, and that is what the Demons will want from him.
What in the world are Geelong going to do here? They have the oldest list in the AFL and they are rapidly running out of legs. Players such as Shaun Higgins, Patrick Dangerfield and Isaac Smith were all amazing in their prime, but that is far behind them. If Fremantle take Jordan Clark and if they lose too many good draft picks, they may fall out of finals contention, as they are just too old.
It may have been a curse in disguise to finish third, as they won’t have as many good draft picks to use. Maybe if they finished a bit lower on the ladder, they would have had a better chance. But for now they will have to retreat into their shells to keep their youngsters.
So there you have it. These clubs will have to go all-out, guns blazing, or full-on defensive to avoid finals heartbreak. They may have to either keep all their good players or sacrifice in the dozens for a good season.
Who knows what their list managers will do? Their decisions will make or break next season.