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THE TRADING CHRONICLES 2011 - PART TWO



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THE TRADING CHRONICLES 2011 by The Oracle

Part Two: LOOKING FOR BLACK CAVIAR

The story goes that Greater Western Sydney Giants coach Kevin Sheedy was at last week's Draft Combine watching the 20m sprints when he received a call from Peter Moody who trains the champion mare Black Caviar.

"I'm just at the draft camp," Sheedy said. "We're looking for the next Black Caviar."

Sheeds had every reason to be lording it up at Etihad Stadium for the Draft Combine testing as he currently holds most of the aces for the 2011 AFL Draft. His club has nine of the first fifteen selections which means he has a virtual smorgasbord of youthful football talent at his disposal but whether this year's offering  can produce a Black Caviar equivalent remains questionable. 

The good judges argue that, while there might be some potential stars in the field, there are no world beaters of the Black Caviar variety. Moreover, the depth in this year's field is not all that strong. For the record, the best performers at Etihad Stadium last week are shown in the 2011 Draft Combine Results but, interestingly, some of the biggest names of the upcoming draft were "no shows" in testing because of injury.

With the draft over a month away there's plenty of time to consider the merits of the prospective draftees and their Combine performances but, in the meantime, Sheedy continues to hold court in the shadows of tomorrow's AFL's trade week opening and the AFL's 18th club will be pulling the strings for the entire seven and a half days because the Giants are pivotal in respect of so many aspects of this trade week.

Apart from the plethora of early draft picks awarded to them, there are two rules that give the Giants substantial bargaining power. The new franchise has the right to list or trade any player who has been on a club list or has been overlooked in previous drafts. Last year, this rule applied to the Gold Coast Suns who listed Andrew Krakouer and on-traded him and another player to Collingwood. A number of other trades were also completed in the same manner.

According to this report in the Age, the rule is about to be used to enable the first trade of 2011 whereby Collingwood will give up its first draft choice (# 25) for its former player Martin Clarke from Ireland and Murray Bushrangers' over age player Jamie Elliott as well as a late pick. In a separate deal, Richmond will acquire Steve Morris, the son of Sheedy's former teammate at the Tigers in Kevin Morris via a swap of first-round picks with GWS getting pick No. 14 for it's number 15 selection.

There will also be interest in whether the Giants will, under the same rule, list and retain or on-trade the likes of Casey's Tim Mohr and the Northern Bullants' Ahmed Saad who both stood out in testing at the Draft Combine. Saad's story is unusual. He played soccer in Egypt as a youngster and only took up our game when he was sixteen to help make up numbers in a local junior team.   

Much has already been said of the Mini Draft for 17 year olds which GWS will no doubt use to parlay into a combination of established players and future draft picks. It will also be interesting to see how much strength the clubs place on recruiting players who are ineligible to play for another 18 months and whether clubs will, for tactical reasons, delay their bidding until the last moment on Thursday.

The timing of the Mini Draft could have the effect of stalling many of the exchanges until later in the week but there will always be one or two trades that will be done independently. We can expect some action with players like Brisbane's Mitch Clark and Eagle Brad Ebert who have asked to be traded to enable them to return home and others such as those mentioned in speculation and referred to in this trade talk article.

Another feature of the trade week will be the father/son selections of which there are three nominations - Jed Bews, the son of former Geelong captain Andrew Bews, Dylan Buckley, son of  former Carlton champion Jimmy Buckley and Tom Mitchell, son of Barry Mitchell, who could have been claimed by Carlton or Sydney but has opted for the latter and will, in all likelihood, cost the Swans their first pick in the national draft.  

What it all boils down to is that the essence of trade week is the incessant speculation, rumours and innuendo that attend it but the final result is mostly disappointing. A great deal of the hype surrounding the week will end up being of little or no substance and the odds are strong that we will not witness a Black Caviar changing colours over the course of the next eight days.        

The Oracle will be back from time to time over coming days to bring his spin on the unfolding events of trade week.

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