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THE TRADING CHRONICLES 2020 by The Oracle



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Part One: The Cure

It could be coincidental but since the AFL Free Agency and Trade Period began, the State of Victoria has recorded eight consecutive days of no new active cases and no deaths from Covid19. It might be a little early to announce that a cure for this dreaded virus has been discovered but one thing can be said with some certainty after following the ins and outs of the free agency and trading process — mankind is still a long way off finding a cure for boredom.

That statement is definitely applicable to Melbourne fans who waited until the dying moments of yesterday, three days into the trade period and already a week after free trading began to discover that their club had actually consummated a deal. It came like a bolt out of the blue in the form of the year’s first swap of draft picks which effectively gave the Demons an upgrade of ten places in the national draft from 53 to 43 and a swap of future picks (which don’t really count in the age of pandemics and asteroids venturing so close to our planet that they might obliterate the future altogether).

The good news for Melbourne was that it has received a commitment from North Melbourne full forward Ben Brown to join the club leaving it the respective clubs to negotiate a trade. The Demons will no doubt argue that Brown’s not that good a player until a deal’s done and at that point in time he will revert back to the champion goal kicker he was from 2016 to 2019. 

The bad news was that the club missed out on Hawthorn’s Isaac Smith (who would have cost nothing in terms of draft picks) when that player chose to move down the highway into aged care at Kardinia Park. The three year deal proposed by the Demons to a 32 year old seemed like a stretch for mine and I’m thinking that, as fine a player as Smith might have been in the past, a bullet might well have been dodged. Melbourne also sought delisted free agent Shaun McKernan as a back up ruckman for Max but was gezumped by the stars of this and last year’s trading, St. Kilda. The Saints just keep on identifying and capturing all of their targets unfazed by such trifling matters as salary caps.

We’ve now turned our attention to another Essendon big man Andrew Phillips who managed one game at his third club this year. I’m not entirely sure of my mail but the rumour mill is telling me that Adrian Dodoro’s opening gambit in the bidding was for Melbourne’s first pick this year and next year’s first rounder. Dodoro has other fish to fry as well so it might take a while for the details of a final trade to be thrashed out. Otherwise, the Demons could hold out until Phillips becomes a delisted free agent. 

The interest in the days to come, apart from the Brown trade, will be on which players find a home elsewhere, whether Josh Mahoney can snaffle another player or two and whether the club’s draft position can be improved further. It’s well documented that the draft this year is compromised by the number of academy and father/son selections at play and the fact that the under 18 competition in Victoria was abandoned leaving recruiters without a sight in 2020 of potentially more than half of the draft pool.

Away from Melbourne, it’s a case of the good, the bad and the ugly. There’s an element of schadenfreude in watching the mortal enemy in Collingwood as it struggles to deal with its salary cap excesses, especially its back ended deal with Adam Treloar. Anything that silences and humiliates an arrogant foe is good (although not as good as the 56 point win in Round 12 this year) but it’s bad for Treloar who has been treated so shabbily through this whole affair. 

It’s also a bad look for Essendon as it writhes in pain under the loss of some handy players wanting away to other destinations. At least the Bombers are fighting back in their own fashion by trying to steal a player with two years left on his contract.

The ugly is what is happening at North Melbourne with the loss of a coach and the departure of so many players. One hopes that they’re not forced by circumstance and the AFL powers that be to migrate interstate.

There’s still another six days of this madness to go so let’s hope they find a cure to Covid19 and the boredom within that time (and let’s also hope the AFL sorts out the matter of list sizes going forward, an issue that’s not helping clubs or players with recruiting and planning for the future).

This is the full list of free agency and trade movement after the free agency period and three days into the trade period * :-

• Gold Coast signs Rory Atkins as an unrestricted free agent. Adelaide receives an end-of-second-round compensation pick (No.36).

• Geelong signs Isaac Smith as an unrestricted free agent. Hawthorn receives a third-round compensation pick (No.42).

• Brisbane signs Joe Daniher as a restricted free agent. Essendon receives a first-round compensation pick (No.7).

• Carlton signs Zac Williams as a restricted free agent. Greater Western Sydney receives a first-round compensation pick (No.10).

• North Melbourne signs Aidan Corr as a restricted free agent. Greater Western Sydney receives a second-round compensation pick (No.30).

• Zac Langdon traded to West Coast. Greater Western Sydney receives a third-round pick (No.54).

• Oleg Markov traded to Gold Coast. Richmond receives a future third-round selection.

• Jesse Hogan traded to Greater Western Sydney. Fremantle receives a third-round pick (No.54). 

•  St Kilda signs Brad Crouch as a restricted free agent. Adelaide receives a second-round compensation pick (No.23).

•  Kyle Hartigan traded to Hawthorn. Adelaide receives a future fourth-round selection. 

•  Geelong signs Jeremy Cameron as a restricted free agent. Greater Western matches offer. Trade discussions pending.

• St Kilda signs Shaun McKernan as a delisted free agent

• Brisbane receives a third-round pick (No.53) and a future third-round selection from Melbourne and Melbourne receives a third-round pick (No.43) and a future fourth-round selection from Brisbane.

* draft pick positions can change from time to time during the free agency, trade and draft period.

Part Two: The Bucky Horror Show

As the AFL’s free agency and trade period lurched its way to an end, it became apparent that the virus that has plagued the world throughout 2020 hasn’t spared our list managers from the heartbreak of this dark age. With the leader of the free world otherwise engaged with his own troubles, some of the competition’s power houses struggled to come to grips with the art of the deal leading to one of the most shambolic trade periods on record. 

The lowlight was Collingwood which telegraphed its salary cap woes early, clumsily grappled with them and managed to alienate its fans, loyal players, the media and the football public all at once. When the dust settled, Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson had been forcibly moved elsewhere, Tom Phillips was whisked away in the night and Joffa’s young stepson Atu Bosenavulagi shunted out as steak knives. They went for the price of stale peanuts in the light of their recent achievements at the club. The bitterness and recrimination leveled at some of the club’s leading lights and played out in public was embarrassing. The spin doctoring at the end put the club in a place of derision and scorn. The ominous aspect is the warning that this sends to other clubs to act not just for now but to plan well ahead. 

Essendon’s Adrian Dodoro’s antics continued. He has the knack of managing to stretch out every trade to ensure that he achieves what he thinks is best for his club but he almost perennially ends up with one or two deals undone thanks to his obstinance. The failure to finalise a deal for Josh Dunkley when he had his fish hooked speaks volumes about the way he operates and the frustration of Bomber fans at this particular time of year. Still, he managed to come out with picks 6, 7 and 8 giving him a strong hand at the draft.

Meanwhile, everyone is hailing the Bulldogs for their genius at acquiring Treloar and retaining Dunkley which gives Luke Beveridge what appears on the face of it, a very potent midfield. But that department was already a strength, albeit with one or two cultural issues attached to it and is now compounded with the need to satisfy Dunkley while fitting in Treloar at the same time. 

And while the Bulldogs’ main areas of deficiency haven’t really been addressed, Port Adelaide and Carlton appear to have done well in covering specific requirements, leaving their fans reasonably happy with their outcomes.

What of Melbourne? The highlight was the addition of Ben Brown, the only player added to the list. For what is effectively a pick around mid second round, the Demons gained a key forward who kicked 60+ goals in each year from 2017 and 2019 and was pretty resilient until a knee injury curtailed his 2020 season. Brown’s arrival and the return of the promising Harry Petty should shore up the club’s key position stocks and if Tom McDonald can also drop a few kilos and return to his 2017-8 form either up forward or down back, it would be a bonus. The vagaries of the draft were clearly demonstrated by the cost of Brown to the club as compared with that of Jeremy Cameron to Geelong. Their respective goal tallies for the five years 2016-20 were virtually identical but the latter cost the Cats three first round draft picks.

The departures of Mitch Hannan and Braydon Preuss were hardly consequential given that both were outside best 22. The latter case makes sense in light of the emergence and expected development of 2019 draft pick 3 Luke Jackson.

The pick exchanges in what is considered a speculative draft still represent possible unfinished business given that trading of draft picks will continue right through to the selection meet. Who knows what Jason Taylor has in mind for that? Most likely a fast skillful outside mid like Isaac Smith for who the club was underbidder against the Cats.

The final wash up for Melbourne was:-

In: Ben Brown, picks 18, 19, 28, 50 and Brisbane 2021 2nd round pick, Western Bulldogs 2021 3rd round pick, North Melbourne 2021 4th round pick
Out: Mitch Hannan, Braydon Preuss, picks 26, 53, 68, 69 and Melbourne's 2021 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th round picks
2020 draft picks: 18, 19, 28, 50, 89

This week’s trades:-

• Peter Wright went to Essendon for a future fourth-round pick to the Suns 

• The Crows traded their No.33 selection and 50 to the Demons this year for Melbourne's future second-round and future fourth-round selection

• Melbourne has traded Mitch Hannan to the Western Bulldogs for its future third round draft pick.

• Melbourne has traded Braydon Preuss to GWS Giants for pick 31

• In a 3 way deal, Stefan Martin was traded to the Western Bulldogs and Lachie Young ended up at North Melbourne. Brisbane traded Pick 70 to North Melbourne, which gave Pick 63 to the Lions.

• Carlton received Adam Saad and picks 48 and 78 from Essendon in exchange for picks 8 and 87. 

• Geelong sent Lachlan Fogarty and pick 38 to Carlton for picks 30 and 51 

• Geelong traded Nakia Cockatoo to Brisbane for a future 3rd round selection.
North Melbourne transferred Shaun Higgins to Geelong for pick 30.

•  Port Adelaide Power received Aliir Aliir from the Swans in exchange for a future second-round pick. 

• West Coast Eagles sent Tom Hickey, picks 34 and 60 to Sydney in return for picks 58, 62 and a future second-round and future third-round pick.

• Richmond's Jack Higgins was traded to St Kilda along with pick 21 and a future fourth-rounder. The Tigers got pick 17 and a future second-rounder.

• Ben Brown was traded from North Melbourne to Melbourne. North traded Brown, pick 28 and a future fourth-round pick to Melbourne for 26, 33 and a future fourth-rounder tied to Brisbane.

• Brisbane’s Alex Witherden and pick 86 were traded to the West Coast Eagles in exchange for pick 58 and a future third-round pick.

• Sydney traded pick 25 for Melbourne's 31 and 43.

• Collingwood traded Jaidyn Stephenson, Atu Bosenavulagi and pick 39 to North Melbourne for 26, 33 and 70.

• Collingwood traded Tom Phillips to Hawthorn for pick 65.  

• Essendon traded Orazio Fantasia and pick 73 to Port Adelaide for pick 29 and a future third-round selection

• Brisbane traded 18, 19 and a future second-rounder to Melbourne for a future first-rounder, and 25, 68 and 69.

• Greater Western Sydney traded Jeremy Cameron and two future second-round picks (one tied to Essendon) to Geelong for 13, 15 and 20.

• Greater Western Sydney traded Jye Caldwell, pick 44 and 74 to Essendon for pick 29 and a future second-round pick.

• St Kilda traded Nick Hind and pick 77 to Essendon for 67 and 74. 

• Collingwood traded Adam Treloar and 26, 33 and 42 to the Western Bulldogs for 14 and a future second-round selection.

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Part Two: The Bucky Horror Show

As the AFL’s free agency and trade period lurched its way to an end, it became apparent that the virus that has plagued the world throughout 2020 hasn’t spared our list managers from the heartbreak of this dark age. With the leader of the free world otherwise engaged with his own troubles, some of the competition’s power houses struggled to come to grips with the art of the deal leading to one of the most shambolic trade periods on record. 

The lowlight was Collingwood which telegraphed its salary cap woes early, clumsily grappled with them and managed to alienate its fans, loyal players, the media and the football public all at once. When the dust settled, Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson had been forcibly moved elsewhere, Tom Phillips was whisked away in the night and Joffa’s young stepson Atu Bosenavulagi shunted out as steak knives. They went for the price of stale peanuts in the light of their recent achievements at the club. The bitterness and recrimination leveled at some of the club’s leading lights and played out in public was embarrassing. The spin doctoring at the end put the club in a place of derision and scorn. The ominous aspect is the warning that this sends to other clubs to act not just for now but to plan well ahead. 

Essendon’s Adrian Dodoro’s antics continued. He has the knack of managing to stretch out every trade to ensure that he achieves what he thinks is best for his club but he almost perennially ends up with one or two deals undone thanks to his obstinance. The failure to finalise a deal for Josh Dunkley when he had his fish hooked speaks volumes about the way he operates and the frustration of Bomber fans at this particular time of year. Still, he managed to come out with picks 6, 7 and 8 giving him a strong hand at the draft.

Meanwhile, everyone is hailing the Bulldogs for their genius at acquiring Treloar and retaining Dunkley which gives Luke Beveridge what appears on the face of it, a very potent midfield. But that department was already a strength, albeit with one or two cultural issues attached to it and is now compounded with the need to satisfy Dunkley while fitting in Treloar at the same time. 

And while the Bulldogs’ main areas of deficiency haven’t really been addressed, Port Adelaide and Carlton appear to have done well in covering specific requirements, leaving their fans reasonably happy with their outcomes.

What of Melbourne? The highlight was the addition of Ben Brown, the only player added to the list. For what is effectively a pick around mid second round, the Demons gained a key forward who kicked 60+ goals in each year from 2017 and 2019 and was pretty resilient until a knee injury curtailed his 2020 season. Brown’s arrival and the return of the promising Harry Petty should shore up the club’s key position stocks and if Tom McDonald can also drop a few kilos and return to his 2017-8 form either up forward or down back, it would be a bonus. The vagaries of the draft were clearly demonstrated by the cost of Brown to the club as compared with that of Jeremy Cameron to Geelong. Their respective goal tallies for the five years 2016-20 were virtually identical but the latter cost the Cats three first round draft picks.

The departures of Mitch Hannan and Braydon Preuss were hardly consequential given that both were outside best 22. The latter case makes sense in light of the emergence and expected development of 2019 draft pick 3 Luke Jackson.

The pick exchanges in what is considered a speculative draft still represent possible unfinished business given that trading of draft picks will continue right through to the selection meet. Who knows what Jason Taylor has in mind for that? Most likely a fast skillful outside mid like Isaac Smith for who the club was underbidder against the Cats.

The final wash up for Melbourne was:-

In: Ben Brown, picks 18, 19, 28, 50 and Brisbane 2021 2nd round pick, Western Bulldogs 2021 3rd round pick, North Melbourne 2021 4th round pick
Out: Mitch Hannan, Braydon Preuss, picks 26, 53, 68, 69 and Melbourne's 2021 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th round picks
2020 draft picks: 18, 19, 28, 50, 89

This week’s trades:-

• Peter Wright went to Essendon for a future fourth-round pick to the Suns 
• The Crows traded their No.33 selection and 50 to the Demons this year for Melbourne's future second-round and future fourth-round selection
• Melbourne has traded Mitch Hannan to the Western Bulldogs for its future third round draft pick.
• Melbourne has traded Braydon Preuss to GWS Giants for pick 31
• In a 3 way deal, Stefan Martin was traded to the Western Bulldogs and Lachie Young ended up at North Melbourne. Brisbane traded Pick 70 to North Melbourne, which gave Pick 63 to the Lions.
• Carlton received Adam Saad and picks 48 and 78 from Essendon in exchange for picks 8 and 87. 
• Geelong sent Lachlan Fogarty and pick 38 to Carlton for picks 30 and 51 
• Geelong traded Nakia Cockatoo to Brisbane for a future 3rd round selection.
North Melbourne transferred Shaun Higgins to Geelong for pick 30.
•  Port Adelaide Power received Aliir Aliir from the Swans in exchange for a future second-round pick. 
• West Coast Eagles sent Tom Hickey, picks 34 and 60 to Sydney in return for picks 58, 62 and a future second-round and future third-round pick.
• Richmond's Jack Higgins was traded to St Kilda along with pick 21 and a future fourth-rounder. The Tigers got pick 17 and a future second-rounder.
• Ben Brown was traded from North Melbourne to Melbourne. North traded Brown, pick 28 and a future fourth-round pick to Melbourne for 26, 33 and a future fourth-rounder tied to Brisbane.
• Brisbane’s Alex Witherden and pick 86 were traded to the West Coast Eagles in exchange for pick 58 and a future third-round pick.
• Sydney traded pick 25 for Melbourne's 31 and 43.
• Collingwood traded Jaidyn Stephenson, Atu Bosenavulagi and pick 39 to North Melbourne for 26, 33 and 70.
• Collingwood traded Tom Phillips to Hawthorn for pick 65.  
• Essendon traded Orazio Fantasia and pick 73 to Port Adelaide for pick 29 and a future third-round selection
• Brisbane traded 18, 19 and a future second-rounder to Melbourne for a future first-rounder, and 25, 68 and 69.
• Greater Western Sydney traded Jeremy Cameron and two future second-round picks (one tied to Essendon) to Geelong for 13, 15 and 20.
• Greater Western Sydney traded Jye Caldwell, pick 44 and 74 to Essendon for pick 29 and a future second-round pick.
• St Kilda traded Nick Hind and pick 77 to Essendon for 67 and 74. 
• Collingwood traded Adam Treloar and 26, 33 and 42 to the Western Bulldogs for 14 and a future second-round selection.

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