Failed gamble leaves new AFL coach high and dry
The dust has settled on another AFL trade period and while this year's two-week window lacked the star names, there were still important moves made.
The two headline acts heading into the trade period were Fremantle's Adam Cerra and Sydney's Jordan Dawson, and both were able to find their way to their favoured clubs, Carlton and Adelaide respectively.
TRADE TRACKER: Every completed trade and free agency deal so far
However, the end of the trade period saw the moves that didn't happen grabbing all the headlines, namely GWS youngster Bobby Hill's switch to Essendon.
Hill was denied a move partly because the Giants were unable to convince Hawthorn veteran Luke Breust to jump clubs despite having reached a trade agreement with the Hawks.
With all the moves in the book, here's how each team shapes up ahead of November's national draft.
IN: Jordan Dawson
OUT: Jake Kelly
PICKS: 4, 33, 75, 80
Adelaide's main point of business was getting the Jordan Dawson deal over the line and in the end it was a significant win getting the 24-year-old defender in without having to split its top selection in the draft.
The Crows made a shrewd pick-swap deal that ultimately allowed the club to not only retain pick four, but also add Dawson, by acquiring Melbourne's future first-round pick. Dawson should improve the Crows from day one.
You have to think Adelaide also gained some respect from around the league by dealing with Sydney in good faith when it had the option of playing hardball and walking Dawson straight to the pre-season draft.
"Our priority prior to the trade period was to still hold a strong draft hand but also to bring Jordy into the football club," Adelaide list manager Justin Reid said.
"We had a focus on bringing Jordy into the club and we've executed that and we've also got a stronger draft hand than what we had prior."
TRADE GRADE: A
IN: Darcy Fort
PICKS: 14. 18, 41, 54, 60, 76, 90
It was a fairly quiet trade and free agency period for the Lions this time around with Geelong ruckman Darcy Fort the only addition to Chris Fagan's side.
The 28-year-old has struggled to break into Geelong's team over the last two years, but strengthens an otherwise thin ruck department in Brisbane, which has relied almost solely on Oscar McInerney over the last few seasons.
"Darcy has been one of the more dominant ruckmen in the VFL,'' Lions list boss Dom Ambrogio said.
"He has been unlucky with his timing in terms of getting senior opportunities, but when he has played at AFL level he's been very effective, including his performance against the Brisbane Lions in 2020.
"We think he is a legitimate ruckman, but we are also confident he can help us out up forward and add flexibility to our squad."
TRADE GRADE: B
IN: Adam Cerra, George Hewett, Lewis Young
OUT: Sam Petrevski-Seton
PICKS: 25, 64, 82
Carlton showed it could be smooth operators by getting its trade business done in a relatively painless manner and has once again strengthened its playing list.
While Cerra has grabbed the headlines, the addition of George Hewett has flown under the radar and will be vital in giving the Blues some defensive mettle they lacked last season.
Losing former No.6 pick Sam Petrevski-Seton for cents on the dollar was a bit of a blow, but Carlton seemed comfortable with cutting its losses on the 23-year-old.
After another busy trade period, the pressure is now on coach Michael Voss to deliver some wins, with Hawks great Jordan Lewis calling Carlton "the side that jumps up next year and can be a real threat".
TRADE GRADE: A
IN: Pat Lipinski, Nathan Kreuger
OUT: Max Lynch
PICKS: 27, 36, 46, 48, 55, 58, 78, 79
Collingwood will be thrilled that it was able to get Pat Lipinski across from the Western Bulldogs by giving up just pick 43 in this year's draft.
Lipinski may have been starved of opportunities in a star-studded Bulldogs midfield, but his quality will become clear from the opening bounce next season.
Magpies fans will hope that Lipinski recaptures the form he showed in 2019 where he finished the season with three games of 24 or more disposals.
"I just felt it was the right time to take my career into my own hands and try something new," Lipinski said after securing his move.
"It's a really exciting time to come to Collingwood - it's a fresh start for everyone, new coaching staff, plenty of young players and just the opportunity for me to hopefully play a bit more AFL."
The addition of Nathan Kreuger is a good low-risk punt to bolster Collingwood's key forward stocks, while the club was shrewd in adding enough draft capital to absorb an early draft-night bid for father-son phenom Nick Daicos.
TRADE GRADE: A
IN: Jake Kelly
PICKS: 11, 51, 56, 87
Despite planning for a quiet trade period, Essendon was thrust into the thick of the action at the deadline due to Bobby Hill's trade request late in the piece.
Hill would've been a terrific fit in Essendon's forward line, but the Bombers did well to not offer anything outrageous in an attempt to wrench the youngster out of GWS.
"The player was on board, the club was on board, the manager was on board, but the most important part was GWS," Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro said.
"Jason McCartney [Giants football boss] was really honest and upfront from our first discussions that he didn't want to entertain trading Bobby."
The free-agency addition of Jake Kelly will help Essendon deal with small forwards - an Achilles heel of past seasons.
With clubs being able to trade picks, do not be surprised if the Bombers add some picks prior to November's draft.
TRADE GRADE: B
IN: Will Brodie, Jordan Clark
OUT: Adam Cerra
PICKS: 6, 8, 19, 61, 69, 84
Fremantle will no doubt be gutted to lose Cerra after seeing him develop alongside Andrew Brayshaw in the last four years, but the club has a powerful draft hand to play.
With two picks inside the top 10, Fremantle will naturally be a contender to trade up into the top five if any of the teams above them are keen on sliding down on draft night.
The Dockers also did well to hold onto pick 19 in what proved to be a tough negotiation with Geelong for Jordan Clark.
Clark's talent is undeniable and he should thrive with consistent game time in Perth and will be in Justin Longmuir's side from day one.
"I know that he was desperately looking for opportunity, for whatever reason in the backline he didn't get a lot of it after his first year at the Cats," Dockers football boss Peter Bell said of Clark.
"We think there will be an opportunity for him with us for many years to come."
The move to add Will Brodie along with the Suns' pick 19 could prove to be a winner as well, with the former top-10 pick in need of a change of scenery.
TRADE GRADE: A
IN: Jon Ceglar
OUT: Nathan Kreuger, Darcy Fort, Jordan Clark
PICKS: 22, 30, 32, 34, 50, 91
It was a bit of a curious trade period for Geelong, with the ageing team shedding more youth and adding another player on the wrong side of 30 in Jon Ceglar.
However, the Cats' brass will argue that Ceglar addresses a massive area of need, with Geelong's big man stocks in dire need of replenishment.
Ceglar isn't a sexy name by any means, but he enjoyed a solid season in 2021, averaging a career-high 15 disposals per game to go along with almost 21 hitouts per game.
Losing Jordan Clark was a blow, but the Cats did well to extract two draft picks from Fremantle in exchange for the talented youngster.
"When a player asks to go – and particularly this is the second year in a row that he's asked to go - we were very respectful of that," Geelong list manager Stephen Wells said.
"We wouldn't have just let him go for any old deal. It was a good deal that we think reflects the value we placed on Jordan."
TRADE GRADE: B
GOLD COAST SUNS
IN: Mabior Chol
OUT: Will Brodie
The Suns made some shrewd moves during this year's trade period, shedding most of their draft capital in exchange for a bounty in next year's draft.
With their salary cap relatively full, the Suns were in no position to add multiple players this year after the signing of Richmond big man Mabior Chol.
The 25-year-old ruck-forward has flashed glimpses of immense potential, and the Suns will hope he builds on that after signing him to a four-year deal.
"They had such a stacked list and their list was so contracted, they didn't need all these picks," AFL.com.au's Callum Twomey said.
"I think they maneuvered themselves really well out of a spot where they could've been pushed into a corner because clubs would've known how tight their list was.
"Instead, they got on the front foot and made stuff happen early and are now in a position where in the next couple of years they can do some damage."
TRADE GRADE: B+
OUT: Jeremy Finlayson
PICKS: 2, 13, 53, 71, 89
The Giants were front and centre on deadline day as they refused to grant Bobby Hill a move to Essendon despite the youngster's desperate pleas.
In the end, despite outside criticism, the Giants did what was best for the club and the fact of the matter was they could not afford to lose Hill without adding a replacement in his position.
"He's a valuable player, we don't have a lot of small forwards and Toby Greene isn't playing the first five games of 2022 so that's where it stands," GWS football boss Jason McCartney said of Hill.
Whether the refusal to move Hill has an adverse impact on the 21-year-old's performance and on the relationship with his management remains to be seen.
While they were able to retain Hill, the Giants will be disappointed that they weren't able to convince either Chad Wingard or Luke Breust to leave Hawthorn after being prepared to deal their second pick in the draft (pick 13) to do so.
Nevertheless, the Giants head to November's draft in a very strong position after a smart trade to acquire Collingwood's first-round pick during last year's trade period.
TRADE GRADE: B
IN: Max Lynch
OUT: Tim O'Brien, Jon Ceglar
PICKS: 5, 21, 24, 59, 65, 81
It proved to be a bizarre trade period for Hawthorn, who was hellbent on improving its draft position by offloading veterans but was unable to do so.
The trade period began with newly-appointed coach Sam Mitchell calling rival clubs and gauging interest in a number of his experienced players.
In the end, despite wanting to trade most of their over-26 group, the Hawks were left holding the bag as none of the players involved in trade talks actually wanted to move.
"We wanted a better (draft) hand and we explored that," Hawks recruiting boss Mark McKenzie said.
"Also, our strategy is not just for one year. Our strategy is over a three-to-four-year period.
"I think the best thing about the last couple of weeks, we have been very open. Sam has been very open with the playing group. As a club, we have been very open with managers, other clubs, and the players who have been involved
"I think it might have even strengthened our group that we are open and honest with those players. I think they have appreciated that."
Despite Hawthorn's confidence, Bulldogs great Brad Johnson said Mitchell would have to massage some relationships with his senior players.
"I still think he's going to have a lot to tidy up here," Johnson told Fox Footy.
"I think there's a lot more that Sam will need to do to give these senior players a sense of belonging back into his system and make them believe to play within his system.
"He's got a lot to worry about in terms of a first-year coach. He's got to get them playing well to start and then you've got to add all these layers on all of a sudden."
TRADE GRADE: C
IN: Luke Dunstan
PICKS: 17, 37, 49, 57, 94
It was a relatively quiet trade and free agency for the reigning premiers, but the addition of St Kilda ball magnet Luke Dunstan for free could prove to be a coup.
Melbourne already boasts a star-studded midfield with the likes of Clayton Oliver and Norm Smith Medallist Christian Petracca, and Dunstan's addition could provide Petracca with more forward time where he has proven to be extremely dangerous.
If nothing else, Dunstan will help keep the midfielders around him hungry and motivated by making them earn their spots.
Melbourne was also able to grab pick 17 in a mega swap deal early on in the piece and can add another talented youngster in the upcoming draft.
The Demons would've loved to have added Adam Cerra after pitching him in the lead-up to the grand final last month, but ultimately didn't see it being worth Fremantle's asking price.
TRADE GRADE: B
IN: Callum Coleman-Jones
OUT: Robbie Tarrant
PICKS: 1, 20, 42, 47, 72, 77
It's an exciting time to be a Kangaroos fan after the club was able to add talented Richmond big man Callum Coleman-Jones to its list.
That move comes before the Kangaroos almost certainly add Jason Horne-Francis to their list with the top pick in next month's AFL draft.
North Melbourne turned down a number of approaches for the No.1 pick, namely from Adelaide and Richmond, but football boss Brady Rawlings said the club wasn't really tempted by any of the proposed deals.
"He is clearly right up the top with Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy throughout the year, and there's a couple of others that are very appealing as well at that pointy end," Rawlings said on Thursday.
"I think what you saw from Jason, especially in that last month of footy in the SANFL, we have seen that for two years at SANFL level.
"Going into this season, he was well and truly at the top and he has had a terrific year... you can't put any better performances together than what Jason Horne-Francis has done over the last couple of years."
TRADE GRADE: B+
IN: Jeremy Finlayson
OUT: Peter Ladhams
PICKS: 12, 63, 73, 74, 92
Port Adelaide got a decent deal in the end for Peter Ladhams, who they had asked to search for a new home in the trade period.
The Power were able to slide up the draft while also adding Jeremy Finlayson for a future pick.
Finlayson's fit up forward will be curious to see, given Port already has a wealth of tall forward options with Charlie Dixon, Todd Marshall and Mitch Georgiades.
While the Power were also linked with a move for Hawthorn's Jaeger O'Meara during the trade period, list boss Jason Cripps declared that no such discussions had taken place.
"We did not have one conversation with Hawthorn about any of their players," Davies said. "You might think that something shiny and new outside (the club) is fantastic... or you can see you have the answers to your questions already at the club.
"We are absolutely backing in (our players to improve)."
TRADE GRADE: B
IN: Robbie Tarrant
OUT: Mabior Chol, Callum Coleman-Jones
PICKS: 7, 15, 26, 28, 38, 40, 83
Richmond will be disappointed to lose two talented key position players like Chol and Coleman-Jones, but they are poised to strike in the draft.
The Tigers will be prime contenders to slide up on draft night having collected four picks inside the top 30 selections.
With David Astbury and Bachar Houli retiring, the addition of rugged fullback Robbie Tarrant will be a boost for a backline that looks young all of a sudden.
Richmond will also hope for a clean bill of health for the majority of its veterans after an injury-riddled season, with Dustin Martin's health the number one priority.
"He's started slowly moving. He'll be back by the time pre-season starts," Richmond's general manager of football talent Blair Hartley told SEN.
"From what I've been told, it will be a full recovery. All the latest scans and everything else have come up really positive.
"When you look out your window and you see him moving around the track, that does get you excited."
TRADE GRADE: B
OUT: Luke Dunstan
PICKS: 9, 62, 66, 67, 85
It was a quiet off-season for St Kilda this time around, but the club has been criticised for its past dealings, particularly last summer, that have left it handicapped.
After St Kilda great Brendon Goddard voiced his frustrations earlier in the week, his former teammate Leigh Montagna also chimed in at the conclusion of the trade period.
"It's a strange one because their list profile is for the now but I don't think they're good enough now. So I think they need to step back a little bit, go to the draft, find some more talent and have a bit of patience," Montagna said.
"I think they overreached and were trying to be a bit optimistic by going and grabbing Hannebery and Hill and Crouch when they probably weren't ready, so now they need to take some time.
"The problem is it leaves them with only a small window because in two or three years time their best players are going to be closer to 30.
"They've got themselves in this pickle and they'll need everything to go right for them to win a premiership in the next few years."
TRADE GRADE: N/A
IN: Peter Ladhams
OUT: Jordan Dawson, George Hewett
PICKS: 16, 31, 39, 70, 88
The Swans will be happy to boost their big man stocks with the addition of Peter Ladhams, but the big loss is the game of poker they lost in the Jordan Dawson deal.
It was reported that the Swans could've had pick 17 in this year's draft in exchange for the defender, but opted to play hardball in the hopes of a top-10 pick.
In the end, fearing the Crows could walk Dawson to the pre-season draft, the Swans were forced to accept a lesser deal, receiving Melbourne's 2022 first-round pick from Adelaide.
"Throughout the trade period we worked extremely hard to reach a fair outcome in regard to Jordan, despite challenging circumstances," Swans football boss Charlie Gardiner said.
"Ultimately, we have settled on a deal that we don't think quite reflects Jordan's true value but is one that, after extensive negotiations, we don't believe we could improve upon.
"After strong consideration, we believed it to be in the best interests of the club to accept the deal available and move forward."
TRADE GRADE: C+
WEST COAST EAGLES
IN: Sam Petrevski-Seton
PICKS: 10, 29, 35, 68, 86
The Eagles were pretty quiet in the trade period and made just the one move in bringing in Sam Petrevski-Seton from Carlton.
West Coast was also briefly linked with Port Adelaide midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper, but ultimately couldn't reach an agreement with the Power.
After missing the finals with an ageing list, the Eagles are in dire need of some fresh legs and the No.10 pick along with Petrevski-Seton, who they received in exchange for pick 52 will help.
"Hopefully coming over here with a fresh start will allow me to play mid, and I think my fitness isn't really a worry," Petrevski-Seton said.
"It's just more about that repeat efforts side of things. I'm OK covering the ground, it's just how can I get better improving my fitness with more shorter, sharper stuff.
"It comes down to the mindset and workrate to train it."
TRADE GRADE: B+
IN: Tim O'Brien
OUT: Pat Lipinski, Lewis Young
PICKS: 23, 43, 44, 45, 52, 93
After being in the thick of the action last year, the Bulldogs were relatively quiet this time around with just the one acquisition in Tim O'Brien joining the club as a free agent.
It was somewhat curious to see the Bulldogs not go in search of another ruckman, particularly with a number of big men moving clubs.
While O'Brien was primarily used as a forward at Hawthorn, he is expected to slot into Luke Beveridge's backline as another tall defender.
"We're thrilled to welcome Tim to the Bulldogs, and we're looking forward to what he will add to our playing group," said Bulldogs' general manager of list management Sam Power.
"We've seen Tim's strengths at either end of the ground during his time at the Hawks, but we see him adding the most value to our team as a defender.
"We're excited by his ability to read the play and win back possession through his intercept marking, and he has impressive speed for a tall player."
TRADE GRADE: B