The Roar
The Roar


Every club's best trade of the 21st century: Part 2 - Essendon, Fremantle, Geelong and Gold Coast

Patrick Dangerfield (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
4th April, 2022
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Ever wondered what your club’s best trade was? Here’s the second part in the series.

Essendon – Adam Saad (59 games for the club from 2018-2020)

The Bombers were extremely active throughout the 2017 trade period, with dashing half-back Saad being one of three notable acquisitions – alongside Jake Stringer and Devon Smith. However, out of the trio, it was the former Sun whose trade has provided the most on-field value to the club.

Essendon only had to relinquish a future second-round draft pick to secure the services of Saad – who was one of the club’s most valuable players during his three-year stint at Windy Hill. Steady in defence and more than innovative in attack, the speedster proved his value in the red and black by earning consecutive third-place finishes in the Crichton Medal (Essendon’s best and fairest award) in 2019 and 2020.

Adam Saad of the Blues celebrates a goal

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

Other Candidates: During the 2002 trade period, swingman Adam McPhee was traded to the club from Fremantle with pick 55 (Ryan Crowley) going the other way. Although McPhee had a profound impact at the club, including winning the best and fairest award in 2004, Crowley went on to have a successful 13-year career at the Dockers as a lockdown midfielder – ensuring both clubs profited from the deal.


Fremantle – Jeff Farmer (131 games from 2002-2008)

The enigmatic small forward nicknamed ‘the wizard’ continued to weave his magic for the Dockers after being traded from Melbourne in exchange for Pick 17 (on-traded to another club) at the end of 2001.

Farmer provided Fremantle with some genuine firepower in attack, going on to kick 224 goals in 131 games, including many match-defining performances such as kicking a memorable after-the-siren goal to help overcome his former side in Round 8, 2002. Farmer had his most prolific season for the club in 2006, kicking 55 goals and was also named in Fremantle’s greatest ever team.

Showing an impressive run of form towards the back end of the season (31 goals in 7 games), Farmer was deemed very unlucky to miss out on selection in the forward pocket of the 2006 All-Australian team.

The Dockers haven’t experienced a great deal of success at the trade table, however, the relatively cheap price tag Farmer came with saw him prevail over some other high-profile trades (mentioned below) the club has been involved in.

Other candidates: Luke McPharlin (along with Trent Croad) was traded to the club during the 2001 Trade Period for Pick 1 (Luke Hodge), Pick 20 (Daniel Elstone) and Pick 36 (Sam Mitchell).


Although McPharlin had a terrific 14-year, 244-game career with the Dockers, given the illustrious careers which both Hodge and Mitchell had at Hawthorn, the Hawks were the main beneficiaries of this deal. Club legend Peter Bell was traded to the club at the end of 2000 in return for Jess Sinclair, Pick 6 (Dylan Smith), Pick 8 (Daniel Motlop) and Pick 37 (Guy Richards).

Geelong – Patrick Dangerfield (133 games from 2016-current)

Undoubtedly the club’s biggest trade deal in history (in terms of starpower), superstar Patrick Dangerfield arrived at the Cattery during the 2015 trade period.

Dangerfield and Pick 50 (which the Cats sent to Gold Coast in a three-way deal which saw them land Zac Smith) were traded to Geelong with Pick 9 (Wayne Milera), Pick 28 (which the Crows then traded along with Sam Kerridge to Carlton for Troy Menzel) and Dean Gore going to Adelaide.

Although Dangerfield was classified as a restricted free agent at the time of the deal, he was traded to the Cats to help eliminate the threat of Adelaide matching any free agency bid. Geelong did relinquish some talent to get him, however, Dangerfield’s record and accomplishments during his time in the blue hoops paint their own picture.


Having just commenced his 7th season with the club, his impressive CV already includes a Brownlow Medal in 2016, three best and fairests (2016, 2017 and 2019), as well as five successive All-Australian jackets (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020) – in which he was named vice-captain on two occasions and captain of the 2020 team.

Other candidates: Traded from Richmond at the end of 2004, Brad Ottens became a triple premiership ruckman with the club, however the Cats had to surrender picks 12 (Danny Meyer) and 16 (Adam Pattison) to get him across from Punt Road.

Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats makes a break

Patrick Dangerfield (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Gold Coast – Jarrod Witts (85 games from 2017 – current)

After playing second fiddle to Brodie Grundy during his four years at Collingwood, Witts was traded to the Suns during the 2016 Trade Period seeking a fresh start and ownership of a number 1 ruck position.

Witts wasted little time securing the Suns’ number 1 ruck role and hasn’t looked back since, after being appointed co-captain of the club prior to the start of the 2019 season and quickly developing into one of the competition’s premier big men.

He would elevate his game even further in his first season as co-captain in 2019, claiming his first AFL club best and fairest award after breaking the record for most hit-outs in a home and away season – 1008 hit-outs from 22 matches at an average of 45.82. Witts’ follow-up work around the ground was also vastly improved in that record-breaking 2019 campaign, averaging 15 disposals, three tackles and three marks per game.

Although the Suns sent pick 62 to Collingwood – which the Pies then used as leverage to snare promising father-son prospect Josh Daicos in the National Draft, this has been one of the few trade deals throughout their brief tenure the Suns have benefited from.


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Other Candidates: Big-bodied midfielder Hugh Greenwood, who came from the Crows at the end of 2019 in exchange for future third and fourth draft selections, added grunt and defensive endeavour to the Suns’ midfield (leading the AFL in tackles for the 2020 season) in his two years at the club, before being sensationally traded to North Melbourne last off-season.

Part 3: GWS, Hawthorn, Melbourne and North Melbourne