Notes and observations from day four of the 2019 AFL trade period, which is the beginning of the dog days of the player exchange period, but which this time around offered up a few morsels worthy of discussion.
1. St Kilda got to work, sending picks six and 59 to the Giants in exchange for picks 12 and 18. The Saints needed more currency in order to bring in all of Bradley Hill, Paddy Ryder, Zak Jones and Dougal Howard and should now be able to get some deals going.
Fremantle wants two first-round picks for Hill, which has sparked all sorts of Darryl Kerrigan-inspired “Tell ‘em they’re dreamin’” gifs and memes.
Hill was already a three-time premiership player when Hawthorn sent him home to the Dockers at the end of 2016 for pick 25 and it was felt at the time that the Hawks were being exceedingly generous with their end of the deal and that the discount included a ‘thanks for your service’ component and as well as recognition that he was homesick.
Hill was a good player at the Hawks and they’ve missed him more than they’d care to let on, and while he became a star at the Dockers, it wasn't to the level where he’d worth two first-round picks, so expect the Saints and the Dockers to be haggling over this one for a few days longer. And if Freo footy boss Peter Bell has sought external counsel to establish Hill’s worth in the market and reached the conclusion he has, the suggestion here is that he make a few more calls.
2. The Giants now have the sixth selection overall and are hoping that academy player Tom Green won't be selected with picks three through five by Melbourne, Adelaide or Sydney. That leaves them able to select the best available player and then be able to match any bid for Green down the track. The draft is looking intriguing already and it is still two months away.
3. Ryder was reportedly spotted checking out the facilities at Ikon Park on Thursday despite having already committed to a trade to the Saints. Later that day came reports that he was home in Adelaide the whole time. Whichever turns out to be true, it would be smart business by Ryder to have a Plan B, in case the Saints deal falls through. Chances remain strong that Ryder will be at Moorabbin next season but still, the Saints are juggling a few balls at the moment. Carlton has Matty Kreuzer and not much else at this stage when it comes to experienced big men, so why not make a play for Ryder?
4. Back to the Saints for just one moment. Consulting to their list management team this year has been master wheeler and dealer, Graham ‘Gubby’ Allan. Whatever they’re paying the former Collingwood, Brisbane and GWS list guru will be a steal if they can complete all these deals.
5. The Orazio Fantasia story set everybody back on their heels on Thursday. For all intents and purposes a move back to South Australia, likely to Port Adelaide, was set to happen, particularly with a new Adelaide-based manager, but then came the change of heart. It’s a great outcome for the Bombers, who need every attacking weapon at their disposal and a huge blow for the Power who had put some work into Fantasia.
Day one of Essendon’s pre-season will be interesting and perhaps this story will have a sequel before the start of next season when the Bombers announce their 2020 leadership group? Will Fantasia still be part of it?
6. No great surprises that the last man standing of the four-time premiership Hawks, Grant Birchall, took the free agency route and joined Luke Hodge and Chris Fagan at Brisbane. Birchall was hugely popular at the Hawks, but with just eight games under his belt in three seasons mainly due to recurring leg injuries, it was the difficult but smart move by Hawthorn to wait until after the trade period before offering a new deal for 2020.
Birchall won’t exactly be a like for like replacement for his great mate Hodge, but the Lions are still green enough to need some veteran help in their back half. And he’s good enough for their best 22 if he can get himself injury-free.