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AFL mid-Trade Period state of play: Every move, who's still on the table, and how each big trade gets done

15th October, 2023
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15th October, 2023
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It usually takes until the second week of the AFL Trade Period for the major deals to get through – but in 2023, it appears the major players have already been processed.

15 players have switched clubs over the first week, up from 13 in the eventually hugely busy 2022 Trade Period, with Tyler Brockman’s move from Hawthorn to West Coast the latest.

But while the likes of Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams and Jade Gresham have already had their deals done, a slew of other players are still seeking new homes for 2024 – while the most interesting of all might be what the Eagles do with their prized pick 1.

Here’s how the big deals get done, how your team has fared so far this trade period, and all the information you need ahead of a critical last four days.

Adelaide

Gained: Chris Burgess (Gold Coast)

Lost: Tom Doedee (Brisbane, free agent)

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Still Targeting: Harrison Petty (Melbourne)

On the Move?: Elliott Himmelberg, Shane McAdam

Story So Far: It has been a while since the Crows have been major players in a Trade Period, and 2023 has been no different. Losing Tom Doedee to free agency is a blow to an already undersized defence, and it seems likely Elliott Himmelberg and Shane McAdam will likewise depart to thin the forward line stocks as well. Little wonder, then, the Crows have instigated a pursuit of contracted Melbourne swingman Harrison Petty, which looks certain to be the major focus of their week – especially if they can tie it into any deal with the Dees for McAdam.

How their biggest trade gets done: The Demons won’t be giving up Petty for cheap – it’s up to the Crows to determine how badly they want the premiership key defender. They’d be mad to shop off an established player such as Riley Thilthorpe or Darcy Fogarty, and doing so would be robbing Peter to pay Paul (or pay Petty, if you will). If they’re willing to give up their first-round pick, currently sitting at 10, then the Dees will almost certainly hear them out, but could even that and McAdam not be enough to sway Melbourne? The Crows’ only hope might end up being if West Coast becoming willing to give up their prized pick 1 in exchange for three top-15 selections, with the Dees already holding picks 6 and 11. And that in turn might rest on North Melbourne adamantly refusing to trade either pick 2 or 3, the Eagles’ primary target in negotiations with the Roos. It’s complicated enough to make it hard to see a deal getting done, especially with no real urgency from the Dees to shift Petty on.

Brisbane

Gained: Tom Doedee (Adelaide, free agent)

Lost: Tom Fullarton (Melbourne)

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Still Targeting: Brandon Ryan (Hawthorn)

On the Move?: Jack Gunston, Rhys Mathieson

Story So Far: Heavily involved in last year’s Trade Period, the Lions netted their major target last Monday with Tom Doedee arriving as a restricted free agent. But they were taken off guard with Jack Gunston’s trade request back to Hawthorn, a deal that looks certain to go down to the wire if it happens at all, given the Hawks’ commitment to finalising other deals first. With Tom Fullarton already at Melbourne and Rhys Mathieson in delisted free agent territory if any rival clubs hold interest, the Lions might just sit back and wait to see what the Hawks have to offer them for the triple-premiership spearhead – and if young tall Brandon Ryan is gettable in exchange.

How their biggest trade gets done: Gunston proved surplus to requirements in the Lions’ run to the grand final this year and never really gelled in their brilliant forward line. As such, the pick 48 and future fourth-rounder they gave up to get him to the club 12 months ago might be all he’s worth once again. The Hawks hold picks 44, 54 and 63, the first and last received from West Coast for Tyler Brockman; first, though, they’ll have to see how many of them are required to trade for Gold Coast’s Mabior Chol, and also what they receive from Richmond for Jacob Koschitzke. In all likelihood, the Hawks will table an offer with one of those late picks (and maybe a future third- or fourth-rounder) to the Lions once the Chol and Koschitzke deals are settled, and leave it up to Brisbane to decide whether to take it or leave it.

Jack Gunston of the Hawks celebrates a goal

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

Carlton

Gained: Nil

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Lost: Zac Fisher (North Melbourne)

Still Targeting: Hayden Crozier (Western Bulldogs), Elijah Hollands (Gold Coast)

On the Move?: Paddy Dow

Story So Far: The Blues were in and out of last year’s Trade Period in a flash, acquiring Blake Acres early and then barely getting involved at all. This season, though, a trio of moves still need to be completed in the final three days. Priority one is securing Elijah Hollands from Gold Coast, but since he’s contracted for 2024, that deal might hinge on what the Blues can get from St Kilda in exchange for Paddy Dow. Then there’s Hayden Crozier, who won’t cost the Blues much at all and can always be taken as a delisted free agent; that deal with the Western Bulldogs should be the simplest of the three.

How their biggest trade gets done: The Blues want a future pick, ideally a second-rounder, for Dow, but it has been mooted a four-club mega-trade might need to happen to get their wish. Under the proposed scenario, Dow would become a Saint, Nick Coffield would head to the Bulldogs, Essendon would exchange some future picks and the Blues would acquire the selection they want. It’s a tricky one, and the Blues might have to eventually accept less for a player who could barely crack the fringes of their best team under Michael Voss.

Collingwood

Gained: Nil

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Lost: Taylor Adams (Sydney)

Still Targeting: Lachie Schultz (Fremantle)

On the Move?: Jack Ginnivan

Story So Far: Collingwood were involved in deals aplenty from start to finish last year, but thus far in 2023 only Taylor Adams’ trade to Sydney has been officially locked in. They are, however, well placed to land one of the biggest fish still on the table after Fremantle goalsneak Lachie Schultz declared his intention to become a Magpie.

How their biggest trade gets done: With Academy and father-son selections dominating the early part of this year’s draft, the Dockers are more interested in the Magpies’ future first-rounder than their one for this season, currently sitting at 19. It’s expected that this deal will get done given Schultz can depart as an unrestricted free agent in 12 months anyway, with Freo to receive that future first-rounder and perhaps a late sweetener too, either a future third-rounder or maybe even the Pies’ pick 39 this year, if they’re feeling especially generous.

Lachie Schultz.

Lachie Schultz. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Essendon

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Gained: Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne, free agent), Jade Gresham (St Kilda, free agent), Ben McKay (North Melbourne, free agent)

Lost: Nil

Still Targeting: Xavier Duursma (Port Adelaide)

On the Move?: Massimo D’Ambrosio, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher

Story So Far: The Bombers are back as a major trade player – though all three of their arrivals so far have been via free agency. Jade Gresham adds speed and zip around contests, Ben McKay is the key defensive monster they’ve been crying out for, while Todd Goldstein will be a handy ruck foil for Sam Draper. All that’s left for Adrian Dodoro is to make the best deal he can for the outgoing Massimo D’Ambrosio and Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, with the latter deal likely to involve Xavier Duursma donning the sash too… once Port wrap up negotiations with Geelong for Esava Ratugolea.

How their biggest trade gets done: The Bombers want a straight swap of Duursma for Zerk-Thatcher with the Power, though given Duursma is contracted, Port want a bit more. A swap of future second-rounders could be on the cards if Port back themselves to finish higher than the Dons next year; otherwise, Essendon’s pick 31 this year for the Power’s 41 is a more certain upgrade. Either way, it’s hard to see this trade not getting over the line.

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Fremantle

Gained: Nil

Lost: Joel Hamling (Sydney, free agent)

Still Targeting: Jeremy Sharp (Gold Coast)

On the Move?: Liam Henry, Lachie Schultz

Story So Far: The Dockers just keep haemorrhaging players; last year it was Blake Acres, Griffin Logue, Darcy Tucker and Lloyd Meek, while this year Liam Henry and Lachie Schultz are seeking moves back to Victoria. Freo are probably now under more pressure than any other team in the final three days of the trade period, with the club desperately needing to get both trades done to maximise their return. Either way, losing two clear best-22 players for draft picks, however many they receive, isn’t ideal for a side gunning to return to the finals – little wonder they made a last-ditch fling for some new player talent by offering Hawk Tyler Brockman a lengthy deal to try (and fail) to convince him to abandon his move to West Coast.

How their biggest trade gets done: Lachie Schultz was addressed in the ‘Collingwood’ section, so let’s take a look at Henry. The Saints won’t be parting with pick 13 or 21 for the out of contract wingman, but the Dockers aren’t fans of their next-best pick, currently sitting at 35. It seems likely future picks will be needed to sort this out, with the Saints’ future second-rounder looking the likeliest to satisfy both parties.

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Geelong

Gained: Nil

Lost: Nil

Still Targeting: Nil

On the Move?: Esava Ratugolea

Story So Far: It’s been all about Esava Ratugolea for the Cats this trade period – and things have got spicy. The Cats emphatically rejected Port’s pick 25 (at the time 24) offer for the athletic defender, taking the Power by surprise and getting them accused of becoming ‘the new Essendon’ by over-valuing their players. With Port to be involved in several other trades, most notably with Essendon for Brandon Zerk-Thatcher, this deal could have a domino effect once it’s done – or prove a blockage if it doesn’t go through.

How their biggest trade gets done: The Cats and Power reached an impasse last year: Geelong rejected pick 25, while Port just as quickly rebuffed any suggestion young tall Ollie Lord could be involved in negotiations. Ratugolea would likely get to the Power anyway with that pick if he needed to enter the national draft, weakening the Cats’ position somewhat. No doubt Port would love to get this deal out of the way and hassle-free, and personally, I still think the Cats will, in true Essendon spirit, eventually relent and take pick 25 after all.

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Gold Coast

Gained: Nil

Lost: Chris Burgess (Adelaide)

Still Targeting: Daniel McKenzie (St Kilda)

On the Move?: Mabior Chol, Elijah Hollands, Jeremy Sharp

Story So Far: The Suns have put all chips in on stockpiling draft picks to match early bids on a swathe of Academy guns, most of all Jed Walter; on that score, their Trade Period so far has been a wild success. As for players, losing Chris Burgess to Adelaide will hurt their VFL team but hardly trouble the seniors, and nor will the looming departure of Mabior Chol. It’s ground zero for the Suns next year as they begin life under Damien Hardwick, and unlike in previous seasons, they won’t be losing anyone against their will.

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How their biggest trade gets done: The Suns have requested some pick upgrades from Carlton in exchange for Elijah Hollands, and with the youngster contracted for 2024 they have some bargaining power. There is every chance the Blues don’t value Hollands enough to entertain that, especially given he is yet to officially request a trade and is reportedly happy to remain a Sun. If it happens, the Blues might need to give up one of their current picks 21 and 25, or a future second-rounder if they’re confident they’ll remain in the top four in 2024.

GWS

Gained: Nil

Lost: Matt Flynn (West Coast, free agent)

Still Targeting: Orazio Fantasia (Port Adelaide), Elliott Himmelberg (Adelaide)

On the Move?: Nil

Story So Far: Having mostly sorted their salary cap issues by offloading Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper to Richmond last year, the Giants have been content to bid their time this trade period. The most encouraging sign has been their willingness to retain veteran Nick Haynes – and his sizeable price tag – with no rival bids for the defender good enough to consider. Matt Flynn’s departure to West Coast likely won’t matter unless both Kieren Briggs and Braydon Preuss go down injured next year, and if they can get deals done for Orazio Fantasia and Elliott Himmelberg, the Giants will have ticked every single box they wanted to.

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How their biggest trade gets done: The Giants are after some experienced small forward back-up, and Fantasia fits the bill. He’s out of contract for next year, so the Power’s negotiating hand isn’t great, but the more interesting twist is that the Giants will likely not have a list spot for him until the Rookie Draft. If Fantasia goes, it will likely be by that route rather than via a trade or delisted free agency.

Hawthorn

Gained: Nil

Lost: Tyler Brockman (West Coast)

Still Targeting: Mabior Chol (Gold Coast), Massimo D’Ambrosio (Essendon), Jack Gunston (Brisbane)

On the Move?: Jacob Koschitzke, Brandon Ryan

Story So Far: The Hawks’ list management team are set to be the busiest of anyone in the second week of the Trade Period, with a swathe of deals still needing to be completed. None of them are set to be overly complicated, with their successful trading with West Coast for Tyler Brockman, which took a late twist with Fremantle expressing interest in the goalsneak, likely the hardest deal they’ll need to get done. But getting in Mabior Chol, Massimo D’Ambrosio and now Jack Gunston too, all while getting the best deal with Richmond for Jacob Koschitzke, are all set to be closely tied with one another, and even one of those trades breaking down might make things tricky – unless the Hawks do the unthinkable and give Brandon Ryan up to the interested Lions.

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How their biggest trade gets done: If the Hawks can land Chol, then the rest of their deals should fall into place – but with the big Sun contracted, the asking price of a future second-rounder is thus far a higher price than Hawthorn are willing to pay. It could turn out to be a three-club deal, with the Tigers receiving Jacob Koschitzke and giving up the pick or picks the Suns crave. As it stands, one of the Hawks or Suns will likely have to relent to get this deal over the line.

Melbourne

Gained: Tom Fullarton (Brisbane)

Lost: Brodie Grundy (Sydney), James Harmes (Western Bulldogs), James Jordon (Sydney)

Still Targeting: Shane McAdam (Adelaide)

On the Move?: Harrison Petty

Story So Far: The Dees’ ill-fated Brodie Grundy experiment was laid to rest early on in the Trade Period, shipping the ruckman – and his salary – off to Sydney, where he’ll rejoin free agent James Jordon. With James Harmes also departing for the Western Bulldogs in another early-days move, that’s two fewer premiership players on the Dees’ list now. Where they go from here depends on how bold they want to be: at the very least, they should land Shane McAdam from Adelaide, but if they’re bold enough to follow through on rumours defender Harrison Petty could be up for trade, they might just net enough back from the Crows to make an audacious play for the Eagles’ prized pick 1 – and with it the rights to Harley Reid.

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How their biggest trade gets done: On paper, the McAdam deal should be simple enough – the Demons have offered a future second-rounder, with the Crows not giving up yet on their Petty pursuit. If the Dees stick to those guns, most likely the Crows will eventually relent given the small forward is out of contract, and Melbourne won’t be parting with picks 6 or 11. But could the Dees be tempted to hand over Petty in exchange for the Crows’ two first-rounders, sitting at 10 and 14, alongside the aforementioned deal? You’d have to say no at this stage – the only logical reason for the Demons to do this would be if it piqued West Coast’s interest in trading pick 1, which is unlikely given they have eyes firmly fixed on North Melbourne’s picks 2 and 3.

Shane McAdam. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

North Melbourne

Gained: Zac Fisher (Carlton), Dylan Stephens (Sydney)

Lost: Todd Goldstein (Essendon, free agent), Ben McKay (Essendon, free agent)

Still Targeting: Bigoa Nyuon (Richmond)

On the Move?: Nil

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Story So Far: It’s been a busy Trade Period thus far for North, and so far they’ve done well. Losing free agents Todd Goldstein and Ben McKay was unavoidable, and they struck gold with a pick 3 compensation for the latter that bolsters their draft hand… or their bargaining power with West Coast for pick 1. With Dylan Stephens and Zac Fisher added, both for reasonable prices given their talent, the Roos have two jobs left: finalising Bigoa Nyon’s arrival from Richmond, and getting back to the Eagles with a better offer for that top pick after last week’s package of four late first-rounders was swiftly rejected.

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How their biggest trade gets done: Head to the West Coast section for the state of play of a pick 1 deal; let’s briefly touch on Nyuon here. The one-game Tiger can’t be picked up as a free agent, delisted or otherwise, by the Kangaroos without risking diluting their compensation pick 3 for losing McKay. But while a trade remains unlikely, waiting until the pre-season draft to pick him – the Roos hold pick 2 behind the Eagles in that – seems almost certain to occur.

Port Adelaide

Gained: Nil

Lost: Nil

Still Targeting: Esava Ratugolea (Geelong), Ivan Soldo (Richmond), Jordon Sweet (Western Bulldogs), Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Essendon)

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On the Move?: Xavier Duursma, Orazio Fantasia

Story So Far: Port Adelaide hit a wall with their two biggest trades in the first week; the Cats took them by surprise by knocking back their offer of pick 25 for Esava Ratugolea, while Adrian Dodoro and Essendon are fighting hard for a straight swap for Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Xavier Duursma, with the Power this time pushing back. It makes for a very busy few days for the Port brains trust, with decisions to be made on the Zerk-Thatcher deal especially. Once those are done, then the Power can get to solving what might be their biggest weakness – trades for ruck duo Ivan Soldo and Jordon Sweet.

How their biggest trade gets done: We’ve touched on Ratugolea in the ‘Geelong’ section and the Zerk-Thatcher-Duursma situation in ‘Essendon’, so let’s take a look at Soldo here. Like with the Cats, Richmond are playing hard-ball on giving up the 2019 premiership ruckman, and given Soldo is contracted for 2024, they have more bargaining power than Geelong do. But the Power, with their pick 25 tied up in Ratugolea whether via a trade to the Cats or by needing it to take him in the draft, don’t have another selection before the 40s to tempt the Tigers with. It might be a future second-rounder that gets the job done, but are the Power prepared to risk diluting next year’s draft haul for Soldo alone?

Richmond

Gained: Nil

Lost: Nil

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Still Targeting: Jacob Koschitzke (Hawthorn)

On the Move?: Bigoa Nyuon, Ivan Soldo

Story So Far: It’s been a quiet week for Richmond so far, with their interest in Jacob Koschitzke public knowledge for a while now. But as it stands, Hawthorn have had higher priorities than facilitating a trade, and the Tigers weren’t about to accept their first offer of a top-25 pick for the out-of-contract forward. With Bigoa Nyuon out the door and North Melbourne bound one way or another and Ivan Soldo every chance to remain despite trade interest for the second year in a row, it’s really only the Koschitzke deal that needs working on.

How their biggest trade gets done: The Tigers currently hold picks 29, 50 and 68, plus all their 2024 draft picks; so while the Hawks might want a top-25 pick for Koschitzke, unless they’re expecting Richmond to struggle again in 2024 there just won’t be one on offer unless the Tigers decide to get funky with other trades. A pick swap, though, might be on the cards, depending on whether the Hawks get a few from Gold Coast as part of the Mabior Chol deal. Most likely? A future second-rounder gets it done, with the Hawks maybe sending their pick 33 or 44 back the Tigers’ way for this year’s draft.

St Kilda

Gained: Nil

Lost: Jade Gresham (Essendon, free agent)

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Still Targeting: Paddy Dow (Carlton), Liam Henry (St Kilda),

On the Move?: Jack Billings, Nick Coffield, Daniel McKenzie

Story So Far: The Jade Gresham deal dominated headlines at St Kilda over the first week of the Trade Period, with the Saints turning the move into one of the most complicated in free agency history. The Saints first had interest in trading him as part of a ploy to gain Dylan Shiel; then they threatened to force the Bombers into a trade by matching their Gresham bid should the pick compensation not be high enough. As it turned out, they were satisfied with the end-of-first round compensation pick, and one wonders whether the Bombers were made to bump up their offer to Gresham to get that over the line. The job is far from done for the Saints, though, with Liam Henry and Paddy Dow needing to get over the line and Nick Coffield, at least, on the move elsewhere.

How their biggest trade gets done: Henry was addressed in the ‘Fremantle’ section… but could the Saints add a wingman and lose another? After an injury-ruined 2023, the big problem for Jack Billings’ reported interest in continuing his career elsewhere is the two-year contract still placed on his head at the Saints, as well as his somewhat mysterious trade value as a player of immense promise who has nonetheless failed to deliver on it in a 10-year career so far. Collingwood, so far the most interested suitors, will likely have either their pick 19 or a future first-rounder (or both) tied up in the Lachie Schultz deal with Fremantle; would one of their two picks in the 30s, 34 and 39, get it done, or will they choose not to risk adding another high-salary player to the squad given how badly that turned out at the end of 2020?

Jack Billings

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Sydney

Gained: Taylor Adams (Collingwood), Brodie Grundy (Melbourne), Joel Hamling (Fremantle, free agent), James Jordon (Melbourne, free agent)

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Lost: Dylan Stephens (North Melbourne)

Still Targeting: Nil

On the Move?: Nil

Story So Far: From the moment Taylor Adams arrived at Sydney on the third day of the Trade Period, the Swans had achieved everything they’d needed to. They had already added free agent pair James Jordon and Joel Hamling, with the former a sturdy wing option and the latter key defensive depth at least. But it’s the other pair that will have the greatest impact for the club in 2024. Adams is the stoppage beast the Swans have desperately needed for a while, and even more so now with Callum Mills injured to start the season. And Brodie Grundy, a high-quality number one ruckman, fills an even more dire breach with Tom Hickey retiring. Undoubtedly the winners of the trade period so far – and it’s highly unlikely anyone can topple them from here.

How their biggest trade gets done: No need – the Swans got every move they wanted to make done and dusted by the end of the first week, and unless they make a shock play out of nowhere, their list management team can kick back and relax. They’ve earned it.

West Coast

Gained: Tyler Brockman (Hawthorn), Matt Flynn (GWS, free agent)

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Lost: Nil

Still Targeting: Nil

On the Move?: Jack Darling

Story So Far: So far, so good for West Coast this Trade Period – they avoided giving up too much for wantaway Hawk Tyler Brockman while stopping Fremantle from snatching him out from under their noses, while Matt Flynn will either be the Eagles’ number one ruckman for the next half-decade, or a handy stop-gap until they make a big play for Tim English in 12 months’ time. The Eagles have also emphatically rejected reports Jack Darling, Liam Duggan or Elliot Yeo were on the trade table, so unless that changes, the one move left for them to consider are the numerous advances for their prized pick 1.

How their biggest trade gets done: Let’s be honest – there is only one team the Eagles should be dealing with for their pick 1. North Melbourne hold both picks 2 and 3, plus a slew of other first-rounders both this year and next; some subset of that, provided at least one of those high picks is part of it, could be enough given the presence of a Western Australian in Daniel Curtin high up on many draft boards. This won’t get done this trade period, with picks able to be swapped until November 10; get ready for a whole lot more speculation, Harley!

Harley Reid.

Harley Reid in action during the 2023 U18 Boys Championships. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs

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Gained: James Harmes (Western Bulldogs)

Lost: Nil

Still Targeting: Nick Coffield (St Kilda)

On the Move?: Hayden Crozier, Jordon Sweet

Story So Far: The Bulldogs landed the first player swap of the Trade Period when James Harmes arrived from Melbourne on the first day; at his best, the former Demon would offer another hard, uncompromising body at stoppages, and perhaps ease the pressure on Tom Liberatore with his ferocity for the footy. At worst, given he cost them just a third-round pick, it would be an ill-fated throw at the stumps and nothing more. Port’s Esava Ratugolea troubles have also held up any trades for ruckman Jordon Sweet, with the Dos not giving up yet on retaining him should a deal fall through. Nick Coffield is the big last move that needs to be made; the injury-prone Saints back should bolster the Dogs’ flaky defence at his best, but with St Kilda also needing to get plenty of deals done, could it be left too late?

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How their biggest trade gets done: The Dogs’ trade for Coffield is unlikely to be simple, with the Saints eyeing their pick 40 as well as some other swapped picks. Expect this deal to get done, but it might need to be via some other clubs’ involvement, such as Fremantle and the looming Liam Henry deal.

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