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Another trade period has been run and won – or lost, in some cases.
We have graded every AFL club’s performance (and ranked them one to 18) throughout the free agency and trade period, factoring in that some clubs are firmly in win-now mode, whereas others are focused on their draft hand and their long-term future …
In: James Jordon (Melbourne/free agency), Joel Hamling (Fremantle/free agency), Brodie Grundy (Melbourne/trade), Taylor Adams (Collingwood/trade), pick 45 and future end-of-first-round pick (tied to North Melbourne).
Out: Dylan Stephens (North Melbourne/trade), picks 26, 34 and 47 and future second-round pick.
Draft picks: 12, 45, 55, 91
Trade grade: A
Get in, get out. Did anyone do it better than Sydney? The Swans’ business was complete a whole week before the trade deadline, which is a credit to Kinnear Beatson and co. Hamling was the key defender they ended up with after unsuccessful pursuits of Tom Barrass and McKay, in particular, which is a tad underwhelming. However, they added plenty of experience, upgraded their ruck stocks significantly with new No.1 Grundy, and their midfield is stronger, even with Stephens’ departure. Sydney made the 2022 grand final and will hope to go one better next season. – Marc McGowan
Brodie Grundy is now a Swan.Credit: Getty Images
2. Gold Coast
In: Picks 24, 26, 27, 36 and future first-round (Western Bulldogs) and end-of-first-round (second of North Melbourne assistance selections), second-round (Brisbane) and third-round (Essendon) picks.
Out: Chris Burgess (Adelaide/trade), Mabior Chol (Hawthorn/trade), Elijah Hollands (Carlton/trade), picks 5, 28, 48, 53, 62, future third- and fourth-round picks.
Draft picks: 24, 26, 27, 32, 36, 38, 66, 71, 74, 84
Trade grade: A
The trade period was all about accumulating draft points to match opposition bids on their star quartet of academy graduates Jed Walter, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers and Will Graham. The Suns did a brilliant job in converting pick four into enough second-round picks to make their draft board look like a set of Tattslotto numbers. They also offloaded Chol, who had two years remaining on his contract, to Hawthorn and the contracted Hollands to Carlton. Burgess also departed to Adelaide, but they are primed to become a force in the next five years. – Peter Ryan
3. Port Adelaide
In: Ivan Soldo (Richmond/trade), Jordon Sweet (Western Bulldogs/trade), Esava Ratugolea (Geelong/trade), Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Essendon/trade), pick 73 and two future fourth-round picks (Essendon and Carlton).
Out: Xavier Duursma (Essendon/trade), picks 41, 49, 76, 94 and future first- and fourth-round picks.
Draft picks: 73
Trade grade: B+
The Power had what seems like their annual hectic trade period, but they emerged as one of the major winners. They wanted to overhaul and upgrade their ruck division, and they did exactly that with Soldo and Sweet, while Ratugolea adds much-needed height and marking power to their defence. Zerk-Thatcher will be much more effective at Alberton, not having to play on the opposition’s best tall forward. Port would have preferred to keep Duursma, but he is not a major loss. – Marc McGowan
Xavier Duursma has joined the Bombers.Credit: Getty Images
In: Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne/free agency), Ben McKay (North Melbourne/free agency), Jade Gresham (St Kilda/free agency), Xavier Duursma (Port Adelaide/trade), picks 35, 61 and two future fourth-round picks (Carlton and Collingwood).
Out: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Port Adelaide/trade), Massimo D’Ambrosio (Hawthorn/trade), picks 52, 73 and future third- and fourth-round picks.
Draft picks: 9, 31, 35, 61, 88
Trade grade: B
Had a clear objective to keep high draft picks yet add depth and experience and used their cap space to secure Goldstein, McKay and Gresham as free agents. Also added Duursma, a player who benefitted from the fact Zerk-Thatcher wanted to become a Port player, via trade. Having D’Ambrosio request a trade to Hawthorn was a blow, but they executed their plan well and still have a good draft hand. – Peter Ryan
In: Lachie Schultz (Fremantle/trade), pick 33, future second-round (Hawthorn) and fourth-round (Hawthorn) picks.
Out: Taylor Adams (Sydney/trade), Jack Ginnivan (Hawthorn/trade), pick 34, 39, future first-round, second-round and fourth-round picks.
Draft picks: 19, 33, 80, 86
Trade grade: B
Pulled off the trade heist of the period when they convinced the Dockers’ Schultz to join them one year before he became a free agent. The Magpies paid a reasonable price for him, but they had collateral and knew once he was secured they might be able to encourage Ginnivan to exit, which he did to the Hawks. Adams also left after securing a three-year deal from Sydney, with Collingwood respecting his decision after he gave his all to the premiership campaign. They did not get in his way. – Peter Ryan
Jack Ginnivan is on his way to Hawthorn.Credit: Getty Images
6. St Kilda
In: Liam Henry (Fremantle/trade), Paddy Dow (Carlton/trade), pick 21 (end-of-first-round compensation/Jade Gresham), pick 40 (Western Bulldogs/trade) and two future third-round picks (Melbourne and Carlton).
Out: Jade Gresham (Essendon/free agency), Nick Coffield (Western Bulldogs/trade), Jack Billings (Melbourne/trade), picks 35, 56 and future fourth-round pick.
Draft picks: 13, 21, 40, 92
Trade grade: B
The Saints did not have much room to move as they could not offload midfielders other than Billings and Coffield, who was offered a token one-year deal, due to their salary, and they wanted to hang on to first-round draft picks. Losing Gresham for an end-of-first-round pick was reasonable, while they recruited emerging wingman Henry and fringe midfielder Dow. They resisted temptation to get a sugar fix as they build a foundation for future success that will take more than two seasons to achieve. – Peter Ryan
In: Jack Ginnivan (Collingwood/trade), Jack Gunston (Brisbane Lions/trade), Mabior Chol (Gold Coast/trade), Massimo D’Ambrosio (Essendon/trade), picks 44, 47, 49, 62, 63.
Out: Tyler Brockman (West Coast/trade), Jacob Koschitzke (Richmond/trade), Brandon Ryan (Brisbane Lions/trade), picks 33, 54, future second-round, third-round and fourth-round picks.
Draft picks: 4, 44, 47, 49, 62, 63, 83
Trade grade: B
The Hawks’ Gunston and Ginnivan trades were two of the more surprising of the trade period, and played a role in keeping list boss Mark McKenzie and his team busy. Four players came in, and three went out, and it will be fascinating to see how this plays out. Chol will attempt to be the forward sidekick Mitch Lewis and the club desperately need, while Ginnivan will be keen to return to his 40-goal form of 2022 as Brockman’s replacement. Gunston’s value will mostly be in the experience he brings at this stage of his career. – Marc McGowan
Jack Gunston is back at the Hawks.Credit: Getty Images
8. Brisbane Lions
In: Tom Doedee (Adelaide/free agency), Brandon Ryan (Hawthorn/trade), picks 39, 54, future fourth-round pick (Hawthorn).
Out: Tom Fullarton (Melbourne/trade), Jack Gunston (Hawthorn/trade), picks 47, 61, future second-round pick.
Draft picks: 30, 39, 51, 54, 67, 97
Trade grade: B-
The Lions entered trade period hoping to remain quiet after gaining Adelaide defender Doedee as a free agent but Jack Gunston’s shock request to return to Hawthorn enlivened them. Brisbane asked whether the Hawks’ mature-aged tall Brandon Ryan could head north as a result and landed him on a three-year deal with Gunston once again a Hawk. They facilitated a trade for Tom Fullarton, who was seeking greater opportunities at Melbourne and retained Deven Robertson, who knocked back a long-term offer from West Coast. – Peter Ryan
Tom Doedee has joined Brisbane as a free agent.Credit: Getty Images
In: Tom Fullarton (Brisbane Lions/trade), Shane McAdam (Adelaide/trade), Jack Billings (St Kilda/trade), picks 11, 42 (end-of-second-round compensation/James Jordon) and future second-round (Sydney) and third-round (Western Bulldogs) picks.
Out: James Jordon (Sydney/free agency), James Harmes (Western Bulldogs/trade), Brodie Grundy (Sydney/trade), picks 14, 28, 36 and future second-round and third-round picks.
Draft picks: 6, 11, 42, 93
Trade grade: B-
There was nothing spectacular about what the Demons did, but the last-day Billings addition adds depth after losing some of it with Jordon, Harmes and Grundy departing. Melbourne hope Fullarton can be more effective as a forward than Grundy was, in a way that could allow the ex-Lion to play in the same side as Max Gawn. McAdam is a talented forward and how he fits in the Dees’ at-times dysfunctional attack will be a storyline to follow. They also moved up the draft order from 14 to 11, and may climb further. Importantly, they stood firm on Petty being a required player despite the Crows’ attempts to lure him home. – Marc McGowan
10. North Melbourne
In: Dylan Stephens (Sydney/trade), Zac Fisher (Carlton/trade), Toby Pink (delisted free agent), Bigoa Nyuon (Richmond/trade), picks 3 (first-round compensation/Ben McKay), 17, 18 and 26.
Out: Ben McKay (Essendon/free agency), Todd Goldstein (Essendon/free agency), picks 22, 26, 45, 65 and two future end-of-first-round picks.
Draft picks: 2, 3, 15, 17, 18, 57, 82
Trade grade: B-
North Melbourne were rapt to receive pick three as compensation for key defender McKay and are ready to make an offer for pick one during the next month, with either pick two or three, but not both, to be involved. They recruited two runners, Stephens and Fisher, and two speculative defenders who have not proven themselves at AFL level. They will definitely have two picks in the top-three selections in the national draft and can set themselves up with multiple picks in the top 20. – Peter Ryan
11. Western Bulldogs
In: James Harmes (Melbourne/trade), Nick Coffield (St Kilda/trade), picks 5, 48, 50, 52, 53, 56 and future third-round pick (Gold Coast).
Out: Jordon Sweet (Port Adelaide/trade), picks 11, 18, 40 and future first-round, third-round and fourth-round picks.
Draft picks: 5, 48, 50, 52, 53, 56, 69, 72, 75, 90
Trade grade: B-
Grabbed fringe pair Harmes and Coffield from rival clubs to bolster their depth without giving much up, but their biggest move in the past fortnight was snaring Gold Coast’s No.4 pick (and some late selections) for three first-rounders. It was a hefty price to pay, but the top of this year’s draft is high quality, and they were going to have to match a first-round bid for father-son prospect Jordan Croft, anyway. How Croft and the other highly touted teenager they select – potentially gun small forward Nick Watson – fare in the future will determine the Bulldogs’ 2023 trade period. Sweet’s departure means they will have to invest in a back-up ruckman. – Marc McGowan
In: Elijah Hollands (Gold Coast/trade), picks 22, 26, 28, future third-round (Essendon) and three fourth-round picks (tied to Fremantle, Gold Coast and Western Bulldogs).
Out: Zac Fisher (North Melbourne/trade), Paddy Dow (St Kilda/trade), picks 17, 26 and two future third-round (St Kilda and Essendon) and fourth-round (Essendon) picks.
Draft picks: 22, 28, 70, 78, 96
Trade grade: C+
Elijah Hollands has linked up with brother Ollie at the Blues.Credit: AFL Photos
Hollands, the No.7 pick in the 2020 draft, is an intriguing addition with genuine upside and was certainly worth taking a punt on, especially with his brother Ollie already at the club. They gave up very little to get him, too. Other than the 21-year-old ex-Sun, the Blues’ priority was maximising their return for wantaway duo Dow and Fisher, who were both fringe members. It was a good result to gain two picks in the 20s for Fisher and their No.17 selection, even acknowledging that it is a shallow draft. – Marc McGowan
In: Chris Burgess (Gold Coast/trade), picks 14, 20 (end-of-first-round compensation/Tom Doedee) and future second-round pick (Melbourne).
Out: Tom Doedee (Brisbane Lions/free agency), Shane McAdam (Melbourne/trade) and picks 24, 27.
Draft picks: 10, 14, 20, 89
Trade grade: C+
Adelaide’s best 22 did not improve, but they gained two valuable top-20 picks – one as compensation for Doedee, and the other in a bargain pick swap with the Suns – plus a future second-round selection for McAdam. The Crows tried valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to prise South Australian swingman Harrison Petty out of Melbourne in the McAdam deal. Petty would have been an ideal addition down back. They also hung on to contracted forward-ruck Elliott Himmelberg, who hoped to join his brother Harry at the Giants. Watch for Adelaide to try to move up the draft board. – Marc McGowan
In: Jacob Koschitzke (Hawthorn/trade), picks 41, 65 and future second-round (Fremantle) and fourth-round (Port Adelaide) picks.
Out: Bigoa Nyuon (North Melbourne/trade), Ivan Soldo (Port Adelaide/trade), pick 50.
Draft picks: 29, 41, 65, 68, 86
Trade grade: C+
Eventually decided to trade Soldo to Port Adelaide for a reasonable price but were otherwise quiet having been big players last season when they recruited midfielders Taranto and Hopper. With a new coach, the list is in transition, but they still remain contenders if Tom Lynch is fit, adding Koschitzke in support. – Peter Ryan
15. West Coast
In: Matt Flynn (GWS/free agency), Tyler Brockman (Hawthorn/trade).
Out: Picks 44, 63.
Draft picks: 1, 23, 37, 58, 81
Trade grade: C
Flynn is a good pick-up as a free agent and Brockman could be a star after he decided to return home to Western Australia. All eyes will be on the Eagles before the draft until they decide one way or the other whether they are handing over pick No.1. West Coast may wait until draft night before making that call. – Peter Ryan
In: Picks 25, 76, 94.
Out: Esava Ratugolea (Port Adelaide/trade).
Draft picks: 8, 25, 76, 87, 94
Trade grade: C-
Geelong were quiet, sticking to their plans to develop their crop of youngsters and not tip into an experienced midfielder such as Ollie Wines or Jack Billings, which solved other clubs’ problems rather than their own. Pushed to extract the best deal they could for Ratugolea, but it was always going to happen eventually. Will explore potential options to secure more draft collateral using their pick eight as a bargaining chip but have until the end of the national draft to make that happen. – Peter Ryan
In: Pick 43 (end-of-second-round compensation/Matt Flynn).
Out: Matt Flynn (West Coast/free agency).
Draft picks: 7, 16, 43, 59, 77, 79, 95
Trade grade: D
In stark contrast to last year’s trade period – when they lost Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper, gained Toby Bedford, and traded up for the No.1 pick – the Giants were effectively bystanders in the 2023 edition. Back-up ruckman Flynn exercised his free agency rights, which delivered modest compensation, while they were keen to bring in Crows forward-ruck Himmelberg – but not at any price. Himmelberg will be a free agent next year, so they might get him for free then. – Marc McGowan
In: Pick 34 and two future first-round (Collingwood and Port Adelaide), second-round (St Kilda) and fourth-round (St Kilda) picks.
Out: Joel Hamling (Sydney/free agency), Lachie Schultz (Collingwood/trade), Liam Henry (St Kilda/trade), pick 25 and future second-round and fourth-round picks.
Draft picks: 34, 46, 60, 64, 85
Trade grade: D-
This was guaranteed to be a forgettable trade period for the Dockers once Schultz’s request to join Collingwood lobbed on the opening day. They already knew Henry was leaving for St Kilda by then. Fremantle list boss David Walls at least made the best of a bad situation, collecting the Pies’ future first-rounder and a second-round selection this year for Schultz. They now have three first-round picks in 2024, after handing over two second-rounders for Port Adelaide’s top choice next year. Hamling’s exit will barely cause a ripple, given their key defensive depth. – Marc McGowan
Lachie Schultz has been traded to Collingwood.Credit: AFL Photos/Getty Images
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