OVER the last 11 days AFL list managers agreed to 33 separate trades, with over half of them completed in a flurry during the final 24 hours of proceedings. Not all deals are created equally and while I’m sure Collingwood is chuffed they nabbed Darcy Cameron, that trade is just one example of the moves that hardly caught the attention of AFL fans. That’s not to say the trade period was a waste though, with a handful of deals altering the league and changing the fortunes of a few teams in the process. Here are half a dozen of the meaningful trade moves that will matter in 2020 and beyond.
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Alex Keath to the Bulldogs
THE Western Bulldogs dug their heels in during the trade period, declaring that their first-round selection was not up for negotiation. Parting ways with the 13th overall pick seemed like a fine idea if it helped them land Josh Bruce from St Kilda or more importantly Alex Keath from Adelaide, but the Dogs were able to get both trades completed without sacrificing the coveted selection. Bruce’s addition is a smart one, but the Alex Keath move could emerge as a masterstroke for the Dogs if he continues to grow into a premier backman. Landing a key defender not only helps strengthen the rest of their impressive list, but it allows the Bulldogs to continue deploying Aaron Naughton at the other end of the ground with the teenager kicking 32 goals in his first season as a full-time forward. If they can keep everyone on the park, there’s a lot to like about Footscray’s premiership chances in the coming years.
Tim Kelly to the Eagles
IT may have taken 12 months longer than they would have liked, but West Coast got their man. It feels like a year ago that Kelly returned to WA, not a mere eight days, with the former Cat landing home with plenty of hype. The former WAFL standout finally got his chance at the big time in Geelong when they drafted him in 2017 and since then Kelly has quickly transformed himself into a star of the competition. His addition to an already imposing Eagles’ midfield has West Coast fans dreaming of a dynasty and even though they had to sacrifice a lot of draft capital to push the trade through, it was a price worth paying.
Bradley Hill to the Saints
WHILE West Coast added a pacy star midfield their younger brothers Fremantle lost one to the other side of the country. A week of rumours, speculations and hypothetical trades came down to the final hours of haggling with Bradley Hill getting his wish granted. St Kilda made him a priority throughout the trade period and they deserve credit for landing all the players they had their sights set on. Hill’s inclusion is the most noteworthy for a club chasing a climb up the ladder, with the outside dash and flair the former Hawk and Docker brings a wanted commodity at Moorabbin. I have some doubt over their ability to ascend straight back into the 2020 finals mix, but adding a 26-year old Hill on a long-term deal means he’ll (hopefully) be a key contributor for 100+ games.
Sam Jacobs to the Giants
IT became clear throughout the season that Sam Jacobs wasn’t going to be staying in South Australia. A Round 2 knee injury forced the Crows to deploy Reilly O’Brien, who quickly cemented his spot as Adelaide’s No. 1 ruckman, leaving Jacobs stranded in the SANFL. Sauce returned to feature in a handful of games to end the year but it was widely believed that he’d chase greener pastures in the trade period. That’s where GWS entered, with the Giants chasing ruck stability ever since Rory Lobb’s departure. They were forced to lure Shane Mumford out of retirement to aid them in 2019 and his future status is still up in the air. Regardless of what Mummy decides to do, landing Jacobs on the cheap will help the Giants remain in premiership contention after falling one step short last year.
Image from gwsgiants.com.au
Pick No. 8 to the Demons
AFTER a year from hell Melbourne is banking on their fortunes turning around next season. They mortgaged part of their future, trading away their 2020 first, second and fourth-round pick over the last week and a half, landing some solid returns for their troubles. Ed Langdon and Adam Tomlinson will help, but perhaps the biggest asset they acquired was North Melbourne’s first-rounder in the upcoming draft. The Dees now own a pair of top-10 picks with No. 3 & No. 8 their only selections ahead of November’s draft. Time will tell if they plan to use both picks as rumours circulate over No. 3 being shopped, but adding two impactful rookies to a list ravaged by injury last year might just see Melbourne repair their reputation and return to being a top-4 calibre team.
Paddy Ryder & Dougal Howard to the Saints
ST Kilda managed to agree to a trade with Port Adelaide that will have both an immediate impact and greatly benefit their future. Paddy Ryder’s versatility as a ruck/forward could see him finish his career on a high note, forming a dynamic duo with Rowan Marshall in the middle of the Saints’ engine room. Landing him was a great get, but the real reason St Kilda was hype this deal went through revolves around the second player in Dougal Howard. After five years in the system, Howard showed in 2019 he’s developing into a backline pillar, the type of player that Brett Ratten could desperately use on his list. One team’s trash is another team’s treasure and landing Howard could prove to be a gold-standard move for the Saints.
Banner from saints.com.au