Notes and observations from Day Five of the 2019 AFL Trade Period as the Hawks and Demons got busy…
1. Every move made by Hawthorn at this time of year is keenly anticipated, but compared to bombshells in years past, Friday’s move was quite innocuous, as Melbourne defender Sam Frost made his way to Waverley as expected.
The Hawks like his defensive acts and his closing speed, and the plan would appear to be have him play as the second key defender, alongside fellow former Demon James Frawley, which would then free James Sicily to be the intercepting defender and use his elite kicking skills to get the ball up the ground.
At the Demons, Frost’s ball-use was sometimes ‘cover-your-eyes’ stuff that coach Simon Goodwin came to laughingly call ‘Frostball.’ If the Hawks can restrict his need for long kicking and instead rely on Frost for handballs and dinky passes to teammates with better kicking skills to release the footy, then this move should work.
Hawk footy boss Graham Wright managed to earn the Hawks a few more draft index points out of the trade, which should strengthen their hand if they need to match a draft bid for impressive father-son midfield prospect Finn Maginness, who desperately wants to follow in the footsteps of his father, Scott, and grandfather, Norm.
2. The Hawks and the Giants are inching their way towards the deal for Jonathan Patton. It will happen next week, hopefully before the end of trade rush. The sticking point might be who pays what of his 2020 contract.
3. It was a busy day for the Demons, bidding farewell to Frost and adding former Dockers Ed Langdon. The Demons identified outside run as a shortcoming in 2019 and hope that former Giant Adam Tomlinson, together with Langdon, will address that.
Looking at the Melbourne backline now, the key positions are in the hands of a pair of height-priced imports, Jake Lever and Steven May. The track record of players brought into the club in the last 10 years from outside hasn’t been all that spectacular, but Lever and May are both excellent players and if they can stay fit, should give Melbourne supporters plenty of confidence and hope of a reversal of fortunes next years, after such a disastrous 2020.
4. We’ve commented in this column before about how many balls the Saints are juggling, even with guru Graeme ‘Gubby’ Allan enlisted by the club as their list management consultant. But there was no obvious progress on any front on Friday, with the Saints and the Cats still far away on a deal for Jack Steven.
The Saints want more than pick 37 for the perennial best and fairest winner who is looking to move closer to home. As one Saints insider said to this column yesterday, “It’s funny how every club deals with us and says give us the world, but our star players are worth nothing.”
Things are going to heat up on Monday and then get frantic on Wednesday. The Saints might as well just set up base camp at AFL headquarters as they try to get Paddy Ryder, Bradley Hill, Douglas Howard and Zak Jones into the club, and receive what they think are fair and reasonable deals for Steven and Josh Bruce.
5. Adelaide list manager Justin Reid elicited a few laughs at Monday’s trade meetings at Marvel Stadium when he talked about the freedom he was enjoying without a coach dictating his own requirements at this time of the year. But following Friday’s release of the wide-ranging football department review, Reid really is a one-man show at West Lakes following the axing of football general manager Brett Burton and senior assistant coach Scott Camporeale.
Review convenor Jason Dunstall calls it as he sees it and there is no real surprise that some big and powerful names at the club have now departed the club. This was the guy, who as interim chief executive of the Hawks in 2004, passed on three experienced coaches, who also happened to be premiership heroes of the club and former teammates – Terry Wallace, Gary Ayres and Rodney Eade. You know what happened from there.
What the report also confirmed is that the Crows never dealt with the 2017 Grand Final defeat, a game in which they entered as heavy favourites. All Grand Final hangovers from now will surely be judged in comparison to that of the Crows.
6. Simon Garlick steps into the big chair at Fremantle as the new chief executive. It is his second go-around in such a role after several years at the Bulldogs working under presidents David Smorgon and then Peter Gordon. He wasn’t there for the drought-breaking 2016 flag, but he was intimately involved in the steps that helped the club get there and provided the locals are happy for a Victorian to fill the role, he should go well.
And given his role with the Bastion Group before accepting the Freo job, he more or less comes with complete AFL-approval, given that company’s close ties to the League.
7. With the League offices closed this weekend, no further trades will be processed until Monday morning. But the wheeling and dealing will continue through Saturday and Sunday. When you’re out getting a coffee somewhere, look at the people at the table next to you. They might be hammering out a deal for your favourite player.