News and observations live from Marvel Stadium as the 2019 Trade Period approaches a tense, but merciful close.
- St Kilda has been in the market for a ‘big fish’ for several years. Josh Kelly, Nat Fyfe, Dustin Martin, Dylan Shiel and Stephen Coniglio are among those the Saints have attempted to lure to Seaford/Moorabbin in recent years and they were unsuccessful every time.
Is Bradley Hill in their class? Probably not, but they had to spend the big bucks on someone and the 26-year-old brings speed and endurance to the Saints as well as a Fremantle best and fairest and before that, three premiership medals with the Hawks. Settled back in Victoria, he could be a star and certainly, he’ll be tapped on the shoulder for some sort of leadership role.
Blake Acres heads home to Western Australia as part of the deal and reportedly was not all that happy about it, at least until the Dockers put a nice, three-year deal on the table. The last West Australian to be sent home against his wishes was Josh Kennedy to the Eagles in 2007 as part of the Chris Judd trade. That ended up working out alright for both player and club.
Freo heads to the draft with two top-10 draft picks, a nice start for new coach Justin Longmuir as he continues the rebuild. But he’ll be keen to put an end to the exodus of big names. That’s twice in two years a Fremantle best and fairest winner has walked out on the club mid-contract.
- Geelong list manager Stephen Wells has played the last three weeks superbly given the departure of Tim Kelly and they’ll take two first round picks and five inside the first 37 into next month’s national draft, plus an extra first round pick next year. Given his track record over the journey, who wouldn’t bet against the Cats bringing in a few 200-gamers and a Hall of Famer or two to the club with that bounty.
The Cats also brought Jack Steven home, with the four-time St Kilda best and heading to the club closest to his family and friends in Lorne. It’s a great pick-up for the Cats on paper, but it did come with the “he has a long way to go” caveat from Wells, so those of you picking your round 1, 2020 Geelong team might want to think carefully before penciling Steven into the midfield. The good news according to Wells is that Steven is back in love with the game once more, which wasn't the case at the Saints last season.
Callum Ah Chee follows in the footsteps of Jarryd Lyons 12 months ago, in moving up the M1 from Gold Coast to Brisbane. No doubt he leaves the Suns with their best wishes, but surely, they’ll be secretly hoping that he doesn't come back to embarrass then as did Lyons when he enjoyed a dream first season for the Lions that culminated in a fifth-place finish in the best and fairest.
The Hawks have put plenty of time into Marc Pittonet and he might well blossom at the Blues, where Matthew Kreuzer is the No.1 ruckman, albeit one who missed 10 games in 2018 and seven last season. It was a smart play for Pittonet to take the two years at the Blues where you’d think he will play more senior footy than he did at the Hawks where he played just seven games in five years and was, after all this time still no.3 on the rucking depth chart.
Pittonet’s arrival at Ikon Park led to the departure of Andrew Phillips, who took his place on the 2019 rucking merry-go-round, becoming the first player in 16 years to move from Carlton to Essendon. He will be a back-up for Tom Bellchambers, but given the first-choice Essendon ruckman has played 20 or more games just once in his career, Phillips can expect to play at AFL level every now and again, and perhaps more often than that.
Any doubts that the trade period is considered as much a piece of content for the AFL as it is a necessary tool of list management was confirmed when the League closed things down until 3pm on Wednesday, when the AFL website’s live trade show went live to air. There had been just 13 trades in the six days beforehand and it took just five minutes after Wednesdays re-opening for the next deal to take place – an exchange of picks between the Blues and the Swans. Two minutes later, Zac Smith returned to Gold Coast after four years with Geelong and the frenzy began, with six trades in the first 35 minutes.