We’re not quite halfway through the trade period, but we’ve seen 13 confirmed moves already, including the biggest name who was on the table finding a new home.
So which clubs have done the best job so far, and who has work to do?
The Trading Day team reveals their winners and losers from the 2021 AFL trade period thus far.
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Winning: Gold Coast
The Suns have successfully turned their huge but unusable haul of 2021 draft picks into ten selections in the 2022 draft, including three second-rounders.
“I’ll tell you why they’re big winners; it’s not because they’ve got Pick 3 this year, and 3 only, next year they’ll have a whole suite of picks,” King said.
“That may be for Stuart Dew or it may be for Alastair Clarkson – ‘hey, look, this is what we’ve got coming in’.”
The only thing the Hawks have done so far is lose Tim O’Brien as a free agent to the Western Bulldogs, despite intimating their big names are up for grabs so they can get more draft picks.
“They’ve put every name on the table, and there’s really not been a lot of nibbling,” King said.
“There’s been talk about (Jon) Ceglar, he may go, but they may pay for most of his salary.”
Winning: North Melbourne
Despite having not made a move yet, the Kangaroos will add the best kid in the country at next month’s draft, and continue to hold serious leverage over Richmond.
“I’m in love with Jason Horne-Francis and I think they’ll get Callum Coleman-Jones, who’s exactly what they need as the heir apparent to Todd Goldstein,” Ralph said.
Another inactive club, the Lions have been forced into this position because they simply don’t have the room to add a player who could take them over the top – right when they need one.
“They haven’t even got enough money to push back salary cap space and maybe get in a Jack Gunston. I just think they’ve done nothing, and they’ve lost a lot of finals in recent years,” Ralph said.
Few expected the Demons to do anything this year, but the reigning premiers launched into action on Wednesday, nabbing undervalued midfielder Luke Dunstan as terrific, cheap depth.
They also repeated their recent tactic of somehow managing to trade into the first round – when their first pick before that was back in the 30s – by getting involved in a four-team trade.
“They’ve got Pick 17 in from the second round, and they’ve picked up Luke Dunstan for free. Joey (Montagna) loves Luke Dunstan, you (David King) love Luke Dunstan. He’s good depth,” Morris said.
The Swans risk being the big losers of the trade period if they can’t get a first-round pick back from Adelaide for Jordan Dawson.
The Crows’ ability to nab Dawson for free via the pre-season draft, as they did last year with GWS’ Jackson Hately, hangs over proceedings. And the Crows choosing not to trade for the Bulldogs’ Pick 17 means finding a pick to satisfy Sydney is difficult.
“They need to get that deal for (Jordan) Dawson done, otherwise he walks to the pre-season draft,” Morris said.