While they lost Lachie Neale to the Lions, Fremantle did excellently well to acquire Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb. They were after Hogan for a long time and have finally gained the key forward they’ve been wanting for years, and all while he is still young. Rory Lobb will help out in the ruck and in forward line, and Reece Conca and Travis Colyer will add much needed depth. Fremantle are certainly in a much better spot than they were in last season.
How does Clarko do it? Pinching Tom Scully for just pick 53 is a steal no matter how you look at it. Injuries aside he is a gun footballer when at his best, and Hawthorn giving up so little for him is a sign of low risk, high reward. While they may have lost the trade that sent Ryan Burton to Port Adelaide in exchange for Chad Wingard, Wingard is still a proven match-winner and a 2x All-Australian, that will bolster then forward line and their midfield. It’s another successful off-season for the Hawks.
Losing Jesse Hogan was far from the worst thing to have happened to the club, as they have preparing for it for a long time. They already have the perfect replacement for him, Tom McDonald. The big man can maintain his form as a forward now that the Dees were able to bring in Steven May, who will add to an already strong backline. Getting Kade Kolodjashnij in as well as May is a good move and will bring needed depth in defence. Braydon Preuss can serve as an effective understudy to Max Gawn as well, in a trade that saw them ship off Dom Tyson. Melbourne have now really put themselves in flag contention next season.
Sometimes the best moves are the ones that do not happen, and that is the case with Tom Langdon. He was offered a contract by Sydney and even had a medical there, but he chose to stay with the club and it will pay dividends after coming off an excellent September. The big fish was Dayne Beams, as the former Premiership player makes his return to the Magpies, and while they certainly paid a fair bit for him in this year’s and next year’s 1st round picks, he will only improve them, bringing the necessary class and ball-winning capability that was missing in the narrow loss in the Grand Final.
Dylan Shiel made it known that he wanted to be a Bomber, but the Giants weren’t going to make it easy for Essendon to gain theit star man. The Dons may have paid overs for Shiel, but there’s no doubting his quality in the midfield as he adds to a team already studded with star on-ballers. They got their main target and it should see them back in the finals again.
6. North Melbourne
Another day, another star that North failed to acquire. They were stiff to not sign Andrew Gaff, but they managed to gain everyone else so it wasn’t a complete loss. Trading for Jared Polec and Jasper Pittard fills positions of need, as both players add speed and strong kicking ability to feed Ben Brown up forward. Aaron Hall will add more class, especially at the low cost of just pick 68. Braydon Preuss for Dom Tyson was a headscratcher for both parties involved, but he may prove us all wrong and provide useful depth in his role.
It’s a shame that Dayne Beams left them, especially as the club knew nothing about his initial intentions, but two grab two first round picks (2018, 2019) is enough compensation for the loss of their star man. Lachie Neale replaces him seamlessly, a genuine star in his prime will bring more excitement to this already exciting, young team. Marcus Adams from the Bulldogs is talented and a physical specimen, and if he is right to go will work well with the equally talented Harris Andrews down back.
They may have had the worst season in their history, but SOS proves why he is the man for the job at rejuvenating Carlton’s list. The Blues were able to bring in Mitch McGovern, Alex Fasolo, Will Setterfield and Nic Newman, all good players that will add to the wealth of talent that Carlton already possess in stars like Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow. They also did all of this while hanging on to pick 1.
9. Port Adelaide
It’s a shame that they had to say goodbye to Chad Wingard, Jasper Pittard and Jared Polec, but Port have to be commended for not allowing themselves to be robbed. To grab Ryan Burton off of Hawthorn was a great move, as he is a young star who will fit seamlessly into their half-back line. The Power also managed to nab Scott Lycett, who has proven himself a fantastic utility that even stood up to Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy, and will do well to back up Paddy Ryder. Port also now possess picks 5, 10 and 15 in the draft, which can allow them to inject some youthful energy into the club.
The AFL’s worst kept secret was Tom Lynch going to Richmond, but it happened and no one is surprised. They got their man, the only question remains is can he fit Richmond’s manic, high-pressure forward line as another key forward. Only time will tell. Richmond already do have a strong list, and weren’t in an urgent need to load up, so we can expect them to once again challenge for the flag.
Were already expecting to lose Mitch McGovern, so that certainly wasn’t a shock to them, but Adelaide did well to get the deal done early and gain some picks out of Carlton. Also do currently have picks 8, 13, 16 and 21 which, knowing this club, can easily turn into some young guns for the future. Still hadn’t done enough to stand out, however.
Luke Dalhaus will do well to fill the need of a pressure forward, should they choose to play him there, but there is a feeling that his attitude and form have plummeted since his flag with the Bulldogs in 2016. Keeping Tim Kelly was a great move by the Cats, who held firm on their demands for their young gun, but it isn’t enough especially if they want to become contenders again. Only high draft pick they currently have is pick 12, and it seems like Geelong will be in the middle of the road again.
13. West Coast Eagles
Losing Scott Lycett but gaining Tom Hickey is very like-for-like, as Hickey will serve as a utility alongside Nathan Vardy to fill the gap left by Nic Nat as he recovers from another ACL tear. Missing out on Tim Kelly was borderline embarrassing, as they simply couldn’t offer enough and Geelong refused to relent. Keeping Andrew Gaff was big as no one saw it coming, and he’ll continue from where he left off before his suspension. The Eagles are the Premiers though, so it is hard to improve on perfection.
14. St Kilda
They did get their man in Dan Hannebery for very little, and while the former star Swan has been riddled with injury and a lack of form, the new environment could show a refresh and allow him to return to his former best. Unfortunately, still hadn’t done enough to fix up the other problem areas of the list, and it is bottom feeding again for the Saints in 2019.
Early on the Bulldogs looked to achieve the big shock trade of Chad Wingard. As Wingard declared his interest for Hawthorn, the Dogs moved attention to adding depth to their list and second round draft picks. The inclusions of Duryea and Llyod will hopefully seem them improve on their performances at their first club but the losing of Adams and Roughead in particular leaves the Dogs a bit skinny down back. Losing Dahlhaus shouldn’t be much of a concern but the Dogs now need to nail the draft to come out of this off-season on top.
The Suns were probably the most active team. Some by design but some by force. Losing Lynch was expected but the May trade is really the sign of a new start for the Suns. They would have liked a bit more than just pick 6 for May and Kolojashnji who is also out after losing his place at the Suns. The Scrimshaw trade was possibly the most disappointing after getting him for pick 7 only two years to now only getting a future 4th round pick. The positives for the Suns though is the inclusions of depth players: Miles, Ellis, Horlin-Smith and Homsch who all should help support the Suns young side coming from good cultures. The Suns now head to the draft with top 10 picks: 2,3 and 6 and should look and talent such as South Australia trio Jack Lukocious, Izak Rakine and Connor Rozee reduce the go-home-factor
The Giants were faced with a monumental task to clear cap room and it seem they have completed that. However it’s come at the cost of 2 of their greatest ever players in Scully and Shiel. Gaining just pick 53 for Scully is hard to believe but they did an alright job in the Shiel trade. They have a strong hand in the draft with picks 9,11, 19 and 25 but also loosing Lobb and Setterfield is tough to swallow. The Giants still have a good core list but will struggle if they have another injury crisis.
The Swans needed to simply do more to improve their side. You could argue that Hannebery is on the decline as a player but what they got in return across the trade period wasn’t enough. Losing Newman and Rohan but only gaining Thurlow and Clarke is difficult to judge as they look to push for the top 4 next year. Although they might have cleared salary cap space, the ageing Swans might not have done enough.