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by The Oracle

"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear" - Buffalo Springfield

We were almost at the halfway mark of the trade period and some very strange things were happening. We were witnessing clubs imploding, players unexpectedly announcing their desire to go elsewhere, strange interpretations of the rules and no trades going down.

Then the first deal was completed.

The Hawks secured Jono O'Rourke (who was a number 2 pick only two years ago) and 43 from Greater Western Sydney in exchange for picks 19 and 40.

The second trade came soon after with Melbourne snaring Jeff Garlett and pick 83 from Carlton in exchange for picks 61 and 79.

There were a number of other trades in the making and from Melbourne's perspective they included a potential three way deal involving Mitch Clark, Heritier Lumumba and Travis Varcoe which was being delayed because the Cats and Magpies were pre-occupied with other trades. Similarly, the Demons' move for GWS defender Sam Frost was stalled because the Giants had other deals they needed to get across the line.

There was something happening on a number of other fronts involving clubs in conflict and for once none of the clubs in question was Melbourne.

The Essendon supplements saga continued unabated with James Hird getting a date for his expensive appeal to the Full Federal Court. Later in the day the AFL bowed to pressure from the clubs and the public to the deviously contrived plan of Port Adelaide and Essendon that would have permitted Paddy Ryder to be released as a free agent and given the Bombers an extra first round draft pick. The plan had first surfaced on the AFL's own website painted as a you beaut idea similar to last year's Dal Santo trade which was only partly true. Later in the day the pressure on Essendon was increased with two stories appearing in the Herald Sun of the Ryder family agony concerning the birth of his son amid the uncertainty of not knowing what he had ingested as part of Essendon's pharmacological experimentation.

Meanwhile , the biggest bombshell of the trade period so far was launched by Western Bulldog skipper Ryan Griffen, who requested a trade to the Giants as part of a deal that had been on the table for him for five to six months. The Bulldogs were now officially in crisis mode with several other players, including Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney also wanting out and fingers being pointed at the coach amid recurring suggestions that McCartney's position was in question.

Club president Peter Gordon issued a media release stating that the Bulldogs were not going to give up Griffen without a fight. Watch this space.

The standoff between Collingwood and Brisbane over Dayne Beams continued with the Magpies insisting that national draft picks 5 and 25 were not enough for Beams, They want a player of James Aish's ability thrown in as well and if not, he would be required to see out his contract at the club in 2015.

The dealings involving Ryder and Beams are a stark reminder of how difficult it is to trade with clubs like Collingwood, Essendon and Port Adelaide. They recall the situation when Port stubbornly refused to trade Nick Stevens to Collingwood and ultimately lost him to Carlton. At the time, the Magpies' then football manager Neil Balme questioned whether Port's "siege mentality" was good business sense. "Let's say it's a half-back flanker's decision: you give away nothing, you stand your ground and you feel better about it," he said after Collingwood's final offer of draft picks 17 and 35 was rejected just before the trade deadline passed. It will be of interest to see whether history repeats and what happens with Beams and Ryder.

There would appear however, to be no such problems in the near future with regard to the Swans trading in any new players as the club has been told it cannot do so this year or next without bringing about an instant end to the cost of living allowance. Sydney officials are not happy with the ruling.

There are lots more trades brewing now that the first deals have been done. The Lions are actively working away to get Geelong midfielder Allen Christensen, another Cat Tom Lonergan might go to the Dogs, the Blues are after Bulldogs' forward Liam Jones and Giants Kristian Jaksch, Mark Whiley while the Saints want Sydney's Tim Membry.

And all the while, the controversy that once surrounded Melbourne is absent. Things are so calm at Demonland that the coach is off to Hawaii, a place not noted for producing many AFL footballers. However, as long as the club has serious money left within its salary cap following the departures of Clark and Frawley, it would be unwise to take for granted Josh Mahoney's suggestion that it would be content to sit back and use its picks 2 and 3 for drafting only.

Something's happening.

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