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AFL trade period power rankings

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Roar Guru
17th October, 2021
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The trade period has just ended, which means it’s time for another instalment of the power rankings.

We’ll go through the departures from each club and their current draft hand before ranking them according to my interpretation of their trade period this year.

The key to remember here are that these are power rankings not a ladder prediction; I’m rating the movement of the respective lists from before the trade period to now. So some teams that are going to contend for the premiership will be lower down than they should be.

18. Hawthorn Hawks

New faces: Max Lynch (Collingwood Magpies)

Draft picks: 5, 21, 24, 59, 65, 87.

Departures: Jon Ceglar (trade, Geelong Cats), Tim O’Brien (free agency, Western Bulldogs), Keegan Brooksby, Michael Hartley, James Cousins, Damon Greaves, Ollie Hanrahan, Harrison Pepper (delisted), Shaun Burgoyne, Jon Patton and Tom Scully (retired).

The Hawks begin these power rankings perhaps unfairly rated the weakest of all the clubs. On the one hand it’s good that none of their established talent wanted to leave, but taking a glass-half-empty approach, they didn’t want to leave because they already have contracts guaranteed regardless of how poorly they play. The natural alienation that occurs when your head coach wants you out is going to have negative impacts on an already scandal-plagued club.

Best 22
B: Blake Hardwick. Sam Frost. Denver Grainger-Barras.
HB: Changkuoth Jiath. Kyle Hartigan. Jarman Impey.
C: Will Day. Tom Mitchell. Jack Scrimshaw.
R: Ben McEvoy. Jaeger O’Meara. James Worpel.
HF: Chad Wingard. Jacob Koschitzke. Tom Phillips.
F: Luke Breust. Mitch Lewis. Tyler Brockman.
UC: Ned Reeves (ruck). Daniel Howe (midfielder). Jai Newcombe (midfielder). Dylan Moore (forward).

Ben McEvoy of the Hawks celebrates a goal

Ben McEvoy (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

17. Richmond Tigers

New faces: Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne).

Draft picks: 7, 15, 26, 28, 38, 40, 83.

Departures: Noah Cumberland, Derek Eggmolese-Smith, Ryan Garthwaite, Bigoa Nguon, Patrick Naish (delisted), Mabior Chol (free agency, Gold Coast Suns), Callum Coleman-Jones (trade, North Melbourne), Bachar Houli and David Astbury (retired).

This rating may seem a little harsh for a side that was contesting for a premiership as early as last year and perhaps will do so again as early as next year. However, the amount of key position stocks they lost during this trade period is immense and may hold their development back. Particularly when you consider the relative ages of Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt (29 and 32 respectively) the loss of Coleman-Jones and Chol has got to hurt acutely.

Best 22
B: Dylan Grimes. Robbie Tarrant. Sydney Stack.
HB: Jayden Short. Noah Balta. Nathan Broad.
C: Kamdyn McIntosh. Trent Cotchin. Jack Graham.
R: Toby Nankervis. Dustin Martin. Dion Prestia.
HF: Jason Castagna. Tom Lynch. Shane Edwards.
F: Shai Bolton. Jack Riewoldt. Liam Baker.
IC: Ivan Soldo (ruck). Kane Lambert (forward/mid). Daniel Rioli (defender). Matthew Parker (forward).

Dustin Martin

Dustin Martin (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)


16. Greater Western Sydney Giants

New faces: nil.

Draft picks: 2, 13, 53, 71, 89.

Departures: Matt Butine, Sam Reid, Tom Hutcheson, Nick Shipley (delisted) and Jeremy Finlayson (traded port Adelaide).

This rating is more a testament to what they didn’t do more than what they did do. The Giants are taking an extremely stable line-up into 2022 and sought to trade in players everywhere to compensate for the lack of key forward depth and the lack of small forward depth, but they failed to bring any meaningful talent in.

Best 22
B: Isaac Cumming. Sam Taylor. Nick Haynes.
HB: Lachie Ash. Phil Davis. Harry Perryman.
C: Josh Kelly. Jacob Hopper. Lachie Whitfield.
R: Brayden Preuss. Tim Taranto. Tom Green.
HF: Stephen Coniglio. Jake Riccardi. Toby Greene.
F: Bobby Hill. Jesse Hogan. Brent Daniels.
IC: Harry Himmelberg (forward). Matt Flynn (ruck). Connor Idun (defender). Callan Ward (midfield).

Toby Greene

Toby Greene (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

15. Geelong Cats


New faces: Jon Ceglar (Hawthorn Hawks).

Draft picks: 22, 30, 32, 34, 50, 91.

Departures: Oscar Brownless, Charlie Constable, Ben Jarvis, Stefan Okunbor, Cameron Taheny (delisted). Nathan Kreuger, Darcy Fort, Jordan Clark (traded, Fremantle Dockers). Josh Jenkins and Lachie Henderson (retired).

Geelong have been faced with the surprising retirements of two elder statesmen of the game along with a two-year contract extension for coach Chris Scott. The Cats desperately wanted to get back into the first round of this year’s draft and failed to do so. Their aggressive grandstanding around the Jordan Clark trade sees them rounding out the bottom four of these power rankings.

Best 22
B: Jack Henry. Mark Blicavs. Jed Bews.
HB: Tom Atkins. Tom Stewart. Jake Kolodjashnij.
C: Mitch Duncan. Joel Selwood. Isaac Smith.
R: Rhys Stanley. Patrick Dangerfield. Sam Menegola.
HF: Gary Rohan. Jeremy Cameron. Brad Close.
F: Brandan Parfitt. Tom Hawkins. Esava Ratougalea.
IC: Mark O’Connor (defender/midfielder). Cameron Guthrie (midfielder). Zach Tuohy (utility). Quinton Narkle (forward/midfielder).

Joel Selwood and Chris Scott

Joel Selwood and Chris Scott (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

14. West Coast Eagles

New faces: Sam Petrevski-Seton.


Draft picks: 10, 29, 35, 68, 86.

Departures: Brendan Ah Chee, Brayden Ainsworth, Jarrod Cameron, Will Collins, Mark Hutchings, Ben Johnson (delisted). Nathan Vardy and Daniel Vernables (retirement).

The Eagles are on struggle street. Their side is old and slow and they’ve sacrificed their draft capital of the last four years in the name of winning a premiership. The Eagles always have a pretty good home-ground advantage, but they cannot win away from home and have not rectified that in this year’s trade period.

Best 22
B: Josh Rotham. Tom Barass. Shannon Hurn.
HB: Brad Shephard. Jeremy McGovern. Liam Duggan.
C: Andrew Gaff. Tim Kelly. Dom Sheed.
R: Nic Natinui. Elliot Yeo. Luke Shuey.
HF: Willie Rioli. Jack Darling. Liam Ryan.
F: Jamie Cripps. Oscar Allan. Josh Kennedy.
IC: Alex Witherden (defender). Bailey Williams (ruck). Jack Redden (midfielder). Jake Waterman (forward).

Luke Shuey of West Coast Eagles looks dejected

(Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

13. Sydney Swans

New faces: Peter Ladhams (Port Adelaide).

Draft picks: 16, 31, 39, 70, 88.


Departures: Kaidan Brand, Malachy Carruthers, Sam Gray Matthew Ling (delisted). George Hewett (free agency, Carlton). Jordan Dawson (traded, Adelaide).

The Swans probably should be lower for how they handled the whole Dawson episode. They clearly could have got the deal done, yet their intransigence nearly cost them a first-round pick. They did recoup some of their costs when they brought in Peter Ladhams from Port Adelaide as ruck depth for the aging Tom Hickey.

Best 22
B: Jake Lloyd. Dane Rampe. Nick Blakey.
HB: Justin McInerney. Tom McCartin. Harry Cunningham.
C: Brayden Campbell. Josh Kennedy. Dylan Stephens.
R: Tom Hickey. Luke Parker. Callum Mills.
HF: Errol Gulden. Logan McDonald . Will Hayward.
F: Isaac Heeney. Lance Franklin. Sam Wicks.
IC: Peter Ladhams (ruck/forward). Ollie Florent (midfielder). Chad Warner (midfielder/forward). James Rowbottom (midfielder).

Lance Franklin of the Swans is congratulated

(Photo by Steve Bell/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

12. Port Adelaide

New faces: Jeremy Finlayson (GWS).

Draft picks: 12, 63, 73, 74, 92.

Departures: Joel Garner, Hamish Hartlett, Jarrod Lienert, Sam Mayes, Boyd Woodcock (delisted), Tom Rockliff (retired), Peter Ladhams (traded Sydney Swans).

Port didn’t have a bad trade period by any means, but they didn’t improve their list in a meaningful way. I don’t think Finlayson will be an Aliir Aliir-like acquisition for the Power, and they still don’t have the midfield depth necessary to compete with the Demons and Bulldogs, who are their obstacles to a premiership challenge.

Best 22
B: Tom Jonas. Trent McKenzie. Lachie Jones.
HB: Ryan Burton. Aliir Aliir. Darcy Byrne-Jones.
C: Xavier Duursma. Ollie Wines. Karl Amon.
R: Scott Lycett. Travis Boak. Willem Drew.
HF: Connor Rozee. Jeremy Finlayson. Zak Butters.
F: Orazio Fantasia. Charlie Dixon. Robbie Gray.
IC: Sam Hayes (ruck). Miles Bergman (midfielder). Dan Houston (defender/midfielder). Sam Powell-Pepper (forward/midfielder).

Travis Boak of the Power and Ryan Burton after the loss

Travis Boak and Ryan Burton (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

11. St Kilda Saints

New faces: Nil.

Draft picks: 9, 62, 66, 67, 85.

Departures: Sam Alabakis, Oscar Clavarino, Jack Lonie (delisted). Jake Carlisle, James Frawley, Shaun McKernan, Dylan Roberton (retired). Luke Dunstan (free agency, Melbourne).

The Saints had a quiet trade period where they were heavily linked only with Tristan Xerri from the North Melbourne Kangaroos. However, thanks to North Melbourne’s insistence on a second-round pick for the contracted big man, this deal was unable to be done. I would describe this trade period as one of trimming the fat, removing the older heads and players who were surplus to requirements.

Best 22
B: Calum Wilkie. Dougal Howard. Ben Paton.
HB: Jack Sinclair. Tom Highmore. Machito Owens (academy, Draft).
C: Marcus Windhager (academy, draft). Jack Steele. Brad Hill.
R: Rowan Marshall. Brad Crouch. Zak Jones.
HF: Jack Billings. Tim Membrey. Jade Gresham.
F: Cooper Sharman. Max King. Jack Higgins.
IC: Dan Butler (forward). Seb Ross (utility). Rowan Marshall (ruck/forward). Hunter Clark (defender/midfielder).

Jack Higgins

Jack Higgins (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

10. North Melbourne Kangaroos

New faces: Callum Coleman-Jones (Richmond Tigers).

Draft picks: 1, 20, 42, 47, 72, 77.

Departures: Taylor Garner, Connor Menadue, Will Walker and Don Tyson (delisted). Robbie Tarrant (traded, Richmond Tigers).

What a difference a year makes. The Kangaroos cut extremely deeply in the off-season of 2020, losing valuable veteran talent in the name of getting games into the youth. You can see a similar philosophy here in that each of these players is an experienced footballer; however, they’re running out of players to cut. The Roos are only this low as they rejected mammoth offers in the name of keeping Pick 1.

Best 22
B: Aaron Hall. Ben McKay. Jack Ziebell.
HB: Aidan Corr. Josh Walker. Luke McDonald.
C: Jaidyn Stephenson. Ben Cunnington. Jy Simpkin.
R: Todd Goldstein. Luke Davies-Uniacke. Jason Horne-Francis (likely number one draft pick).
HF: Tarryn Thomas. Cam Zuhrhaar. Curtis Taylor.
F: Calum Coleman-Jones. Nick Larkey. Bailey Scott.
IC: Tom Powell (midfielder). Will Phillips (midfielder). Jy Simpkin (midfielder). Aiden Bonar (defender/midfielder).

Tarryn Thomas of the Kangaroos handpasses

Tarryn Thomas (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

9. Gold Coast Suns

New faces: Mabior Chol (free agency, Richmond).

Draft picks: 3.

Departures: Aiden Fyfe (delisted). Jarrod Harbrow, Zac Smith, Jordan Murdoch and Jack Hombsch (retired).

The Suns are in a strange spot in that they had an exceedingly good draft hand but needed to desperately clear space off their list. It leaves me in a position of being completely uncertain as to where to put them. I am sure Thom Roker will have many things to say, but they’re all externalities to what is happening within the club. Darcy Macpherson exercised his right to stay contracted to the Suns despite interest from North Melbourne.

Best 22
B: Conor Budarick. Sam Collins. Wil Powell.
HB: Jy Farrar. Charlie Ballard. Sean Lemmens.
C: Brandon Ellis. Matt Rowell. Jack Lukosius.
R: Jarrod Witts. Touk Miller. Noah Anderson.
HF: Ben Ainsworth. Mabior Chol. Alex Sexton.
F: Izak Rankine. Ben King. Malcolm Rosas.
IC: Hugh Greenwood (forward/midfielder) Brayden Fiorini (midfielder). Lachie Weller (defender/midfield). Sam Flanders (forward/midfielder).

Sam Flanders of the Suns celebrates kicking a goal

Sam Flanders (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

8. Essendon Bombers

New faces: Jake Kelly (free agency, Adelaide).

Draft picks: 11, 51, 56, 87.

Departures: David Zaharakis, Martin Gleeson, Ned Cahill and Lachie Johnson (delisted), Patrick Ambrose, Cale Hooker, Irving Mosquito (retired).

The Bombers need multiple things in this trade period, and they leave having answered only one of those needs: a lockdown defender. The Bombers needed to obtain a small forward, hence the machinations around Bobby Hill and potentially a big-bodied midfielder, but, they already have a deep midfield, and they can develop a small forward as well as a key forward from within.

Best 22
B: Jake Kelly. Aaron Francis. Jayden Laverde.
HB: Mason Redman. Jordan Ridley. Dyson Heppell.
C: Andrew McGrath. Zach Merrett. Nik Cox.
R: Sam Draper. Darcy Parish. Jake Stringer.
HF: Will Snelling. Harrison Jones. Archie Perkins.
F: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. Peter Wright. Dylan Shiel.
IC: Sam Durham (midfielder). Zach Reid (defender/forward). Nick Hind (defender/forward). Jye Caldwell (midfielder).

Jake Stringer of the Bombers reacts

Jake Stringer (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

7. Brisbane Lions

New faces: Darcy Fort.

Draft picks: 14, 18, 41, 54, 60, 76, 90.

Departures: Grant Birchall, Archie Smith (retired).

Everything appears sunny in Brisbane, but they’re packed to bursting now both in terms of list spots and salary cap. The list management philosophy of Chris Fagan appears to have paid off, building an explosive offence, but it’s clear they need assistance for Joe Daniher forward of the ball and they need to provide some speed of movement out of the back half.

Best 22
B: Darcy Gardiner. Harris Andrews. Brandon Starcevich.
HB: Daniel Rich. Marcus Adams. Noah Answerth.
C: Mitch Robinson. Deven Robertson. Hugh McCluggage.
R: Darcy Fort. Lachie Neale. Dayne Zorko.
HF: Cam Rayner. Joe Daniher. Lincoln McCarthy.
F: Oscar McInerney. Dan McStay. Charlie Cameron.
IC: Zac Bailey (forward/midfielder). Keidean Coleman (Defender/Forward). Jarryd Lyons (midfielder). Callum Ah Chee (defender).

Charlie Cameron of the Lions celebrates a goal.

Charlie Cameron (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

6. Western Bulldogs

New faces: Tim O’Brien (free agency, Hawthorn).

Draft picks: 23, 43, 44, 45, 52, 93.

Departures: Ben Cavarra, Will Hayes (delisted). Patrick Lipinski, Lewis Young (traded). Lin Jong (retired).

It’s been a surprisingly stable off-season for the side that was pumped in the grand final. They failed to address their acute need for a ruck, but with most of their line-up intact they should be thereabouts again next year. The only question that remains is how they can pack their forward line with so many key forwards, with Sam Darcy expected to be a top-three selection.

Best 22
B: Bailey Williams. Alex Keath. Easton Wood.
HB: Caleb Daniel. Zaine Cordy. Bailey Dale.
C: Bailey Smith. Tom Liberatore. Adam Treloar.
R: Stefan Martin. Marcus Bontempelli. Jackson Macrae.
HF: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. Aaron Naughton. Lachie Hunter.
F: Cody Weightman. Tim English. Mitch Hannan.
IC: Jason Johannisen (forward/defender). Taylor Duryea (defender). Roarke Smith (utility). Josh Dunkley (midfielder).

Aaron Naughton of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal

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

5. Melbourne Demons

New faces: Luke Dunstan (free agency, from St Kilda).

Draft picks: 17, 37, 49, 57, 94
Departures: Aaron Nietschke, Aaron Vanderburg, Jay Lockhart and Austin Bradtke (delisted). Neville Jetta and Nathan Jones (retired).

You don’t want for much when you’re the reigning premiers, that’s for sure. They increased the depth in the midfield with the expectation they won’t have a privileged run with injuries next year like they did this year. The other thing the Dees did well was trade out next year’s first-round selection to move into the first round of this year’s draft, where they can select more brilliant young talent.

Best 22
B: Harrison Petty. Steven May. Michael Hibberd.
HB: Christian Salem. Jake Lever. Jayden Hunt.
C: Ed Langdon. Clayton Oliver. Angus Brayshaw.
R: Max Gawn. Christian Petracca. Jack Viney.
HF: James Harmes. Tom McDonald. Alex Neal-Bullen.
F: Kysaiah Pickett. Ben Brown. Bayley Fritsch.
IC: Luke Jackson (ruck/forward), Trent Rivers (defence/outside midfield) Jake Bowey (defence). Charlie Spargo (forward).

Christian Petracca of the Demons celebrates a goal

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

4. Adelaide Crows

New faces: Jordan Dawson (Sydney Swans trade).

Draft picks: 4, 33, 75, 80.

Departures: Daniel Talia, Tom J Lynch (delisted). Tyson Stengle, David McKay (retired). Jake Kelly (free agency, Essendon).

The Crows did exactly what they set out to do at the beginning of this trade period, and that is gain the signature of Jordan Dawson without having to compromise next year’s draft too much. Yes, the Swans deployed a confrontational all-or-nothing paradigm that backfired immensely, but the Crows got their man and have improved their line-up immensely, and they can still take some marvellous South Australian talent at this year’s draft with Pick 4.

Best 22
B: Tom Doedee. Jordan Butts. Chayce Jones.
HB: Brodie Smith. Nick Murray. Luke Brown.
C: Jordan Dawson. Ben Keays. Paul Seedsman.
R: Reilly O’Brien. Rory Sloane. Rory Laird.
HF: Shane McAdam. Taylor Walker. Ned McHenry.
F: Riley Thilthorpe. Sam Berry. Sam Rowe.
IC: Harry Schoenberg (midfielder). Matt Crouch (midfielder). Wayne Milera (defender). Jackson Hately (midfielder).

Brodie Smith of the Crows in action

Brodie Smith (Photo by Matt Turner/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

3. Collingwood Magpies

New faces: Patrick Lipinski and Nathan Kreuger (Western Bulldogs and Geeloing respectively).

Draft picks: 27, 36, 46, 48, 55, 58, 78, 79.

Departures: Isaac Chugg, Brayden Sier, Jay Rantall (delisted). Anton Tohill, Levi Greenwood, Chris Mayne (retired), Max Lynch (traded).

The Pies had one job in this trade period, and that was to get enough points to match a presumptive bid on the best talent in this year’s draft class, Nick Daicos. They did that and brought in a couple of handy players in Patrick Lipinski and Nathan Kreuger.

Best 22
B: Brayden Maynard. Jordan Roughead. Jeremy Howe.
HB: John Noble. Darcy Moore. Isaac Quaynor.
C: Steele Sidebottom. Scott Pendlebury. Josh Daicos.
R: Brodie Grundy. Patrick Lipinski. Jordan De Goey.
HF: Nick Daicos (father-son). Nathan Kreuger. Oliver Henry.
F: Jamie Elliott. Brody Mihocek. Trent Bianco.
IC: Darcy Cameron (ruck/forward). Jack Crisp (midfielder/defender). Taylor Adams (midfielder). Beau Mcreery (forward).

Jack Crisp runs.

Jack Crisp (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

2. Fremantle Dockers

New faces: Will Brodie (Gold Coast), Jordan Clark (Geelong).

Draft picks: 6,8,19, 61, 69, 84.

Draft picks: Brett Bewley, Reece Conca, Taylin Duman, Stefan Giro, Leno Thomas, Tobe Watson (delisted). Stephen Hill (retired). Adam Cerra (traded).

The Dockers began the trade period in a take-what-you-can-get situation. It’s clear they think they have too many medium-tall defenders and not enough key tall targets up forward. I think they largely succeeded in ensuring they got a good price for Cerra, while they didn’t pay overs for Jordan Clark despite the Geelong intransigence. What remains to be seen is whether they can convert their bountiful draft haul into a bevy of players who won’t get homesick.

Best 22
B: Luke Ryan. Griffin Logue. Heath Chapman.
HB: Nathan Wilson. Alex Pearce. Hayden Young.
C: James Aish. Andrew Brayshaw. Michael Frederick.
R: Sean Darcy. Nathan Fyfe. Caleb Serong.
HF: Sam Switkowski. Matt Taberner. Neil Erasmus (draft).
F: Rory Lobb. Josh Treacy. Lachie Schultz.
IC: Michael Walters (forward). Jordan Clark (defender/midfielder). Will Brodie (midfielder). Luke Ryan (defender).

Sean Darcy

Sean Darcy (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

1. Carlton Blues

New faces: Lewis Young and Adam Cerra (traded from Western Bulldogs and Fremantle respectively) and George Hewett (free agency from the Sydney Swans).

Draft picks: 25, 64, 82.

Departures: Levi Casboult, Michael Cottrell, Lachie O’Brien, Sam Ramsay (delisted). Eddie Betts, Marc Murphy (retired) Sam Petrevski Seton (traded).

The Blues were the most active of any club at this year’s trade period, but they were dramatically more targeted in their approach than they have been in previous years. They have been considerably more discerning, and that should see them charge up the ladder next season with added midfield depth to assist Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh while also providing vital depth for Jacob Weitering and Liam Jones.

Best 22
B: Lewis Young. Jacob Weitering. Liam Stocker.
HB: Adam Saad. Liam Jones. Nic Newman.
C: Zac Williams. George Hewett. Sam Walsh.
R: Tom De Koning. Adam Cerra. Patrick Cripps.
HF: Jack Silvagni. Charlie Curnow. Jack Martin.
F: Zac Fisher. Harry McKay. Lachie Fogarty.
IC: Brodie Kemp (utility). Paddy Dow (Midfield). Ed Curnow (defensive midfield). Lachie Plowman (defender).

Note: I have not included Sam Docherty in the best 22 as he is undergoing chemotherapy; however, I would like to take this moment to wish him all the best in his recovery.

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