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The Free Agency and Trade Period is rolling along slowly but surely while, in the background, we’re observing an unusually high level of chaos within the ranks of some AFL clubs. The crisis that was triggered by Hawthorn’s investigation into allegations of intimidation and bullying of First Nations players is leaving its mark on two other clubs where coaches have been stood down — North Melbourne and Brisbane — and then there are the Bombers who appear to have been in perpetual crisis for a number of years. These crises also are having an effect on the free agency and trade process in a number of different ways.

At North Melbourne, the club has been rattled by the announcement/demand from last year’s first draft pick Jason Horne-Francis for a clearance back home to South Australia to play for his stepfather’s old club, Port Adelaide. His situation mirrors somewhat Fabian Francis’ unease at Melbourne of three decades ago that saw him move back home to Darwin to play rugby league after one game and one season before he ended up in South Australia playing for Port Adelaide via the Brisbane Bears. 

The Kangaroos, without Alastair Clarkson at the helm (possibly permanently), are in a bind and negotiations are in hand to move Horne-Francis back home. Port Adelaide’s first round selection (pick 8) is said to be in play as part of any trade which is problematic for the Demons because that selection was thought to be in the mix as part of the Luke Jackson to Fremantle exchange.

Meanwhile, the Dockers traded Blake Acres to Carlton for a future third-round pick and North Melbourne is expected to secure Freo pair Griffin Logue and Darcy Tucker today in return for a combination of future picks that will have some impact on the mooted Jackson deal. The trades leave it open for a Fremantle offer but it’s unlikely that this will give the Demons the high first round pick they were seeking as part of the exchange.
So, we all must wait a little longer, which is fine because there’s another week to go before this all ends.

Melbourne’s move on Brodie Grundy as a replacement ruckman progressed yesterday when the club swapped picks 33, 43 and 53 with Port Adelaide for their pick 27. This should play itself out with some possible pick swaps to sweeten any deal.

Things aren’t so sweet at Essendon which is meant to have a large war chest available for the trade period but the instability at the top is disturbing to their fans. It appears they missed out on an opportunity to snare James Harmes when new coach Brad Scott was unavailable for an interview at the weekend and now the short-lived stay of former CEO Andrew Thorburn has added to the messy situation at the club. His 24 hours at the helm makes Paul McNamee’s tenure at Melbourne seem as long as Queen Elizabeth’s reign as Britain’s Monarch. Still, the Bombers missed out on Clarko which now seems like a blessing.

Collingwood scored a coup when it signed the Brisbane Lions’ Daniel McStay as an unrestricted free agent but one wonders about the benefit of an expensive move that has netted them a key forward who has never kicked more than 28 goals in a single season after nine years and 161 games in  the Sunshine State. 

This could be a case of the law of unintended consequences in operation. The word is that Collingwood snared McStay very early in the season when they were outsiders to make the finals. Since then, their year turned around completely and it remains to be seen whether the McStay will improve their on field makeup. Their fans are saying that he cost them nothing but it’s probably fair to say that partly because of his recruitment, Brodie Grundy will not be at the club in 2023.

In other news involving Melbourne it’s been reported that uncontracted pair Michael Hibberd and Jake Melksham are set to sign one year contracts leaving only the future of Toby Bedford and possibly one or two others unresolved.

The current state of play -


FRIDAY (Unrestricted)

Karl Amon (Port Adelaide) to Hawthorn. The Power receive a Round Two selection (currently No. 27) in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft.

MONDAY (Unrestricted)

Jayden Hunt (Melbourne) to West Coast. The Demons receive a Round Three selection (currently No. 52) in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft.

TUESDAY (Unrestricted)

Daniel McStay (Brisbane) to Collingwood. The Lions receive a Round Two selection (currently No. 35) in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft.

Liam Jones (Carlton) to Western Bulldogs. The Blues receive a Round Three selection (currently No. 49) in the 2022 NAB AFL Draft.



Bobby Hill (GWS Giants) and pick 40 to Collingwood in exchange for pick 43 
and a future second-round selection

Tim Taranto (GWS Giants) to Richmond in exchange for picks 12 and 19


Blake Acres (Fremantle) to Carlton in exchange for a future third-round selection

Melbourne trades picks 33, 43 and 53 to Port Adelaide for pick 27


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