AFL 5 months ago

Assessing The AFLW Trade Period

  • Assessing The AFLW Trade Period

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Tayla Harris of the Lions kicks the ball during the 2017 AFLW Round 07 match between the Carlton Blues and the Brisbane Lions at Ikon Park on March 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The AFLW's first-ever trade-period wound up last week with only six trades made throughout the period. However, most of, if not all of the trades contained a well-known player exchanging clubs for draft picks.

The big story from the trade period was former Brisbane marquee player Tayla Harris, who requested a trade to a Victorian club. Each of the four Victorian clubs - Carlton, Collingwood, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs put their hand up and tried to lure the big-name forward into their team for the 2018 season.

It comes as no surprise to me to see that the defending premiers Adelaide have made no moves, however losing Kellie Gibson to Fremantle via Free Agency is a bit of a blow. The team they defeated in the AFLW Grand Final - Brisbane, wouldn't have made any changes to their list either had it not been for the Tayla Harris trade, but they have still got all their key players from their 2017 season, from other marquee signing Sabrina Fredrick-Traub to Kaitlyn Ashmore to Sam Virgo.

Today on Bulldogs Centre, I go through each of the six trades with a bit of depth, and have a look at who's truly won out in the AFLW's first-ever trade period. 

Carlton Recieve: Nicola Stevens and Pick 28
Collingwood Recieve: Pick 5, Pick 13 and Pick 21

The Trade Period opened up with a bang, as Collingwood offloaded their club Best and Fairest winner Nicola Stevens as well as a fourth-round pick to rivals Carlton in exchange for a first round, second round and a third round draft pick.

For the Blues, gaining Stevens is a massive win for the club. As well as winning Collingwood's inaugural club Best and Fairest award in 2017, Stevens was awarded for her incredible season in the back-line with a spot in the AFLW's first-ever All-Australian team. To see her partner up with Brianna Davey in the back-line will be a mouth-watering prospect. Furthermore, it could enable Davey to push up and hold a permanent place in the midfield, where she can excel and win the ball at will. Despite all of this, the Blues loomed as the destination place for the Victorian-bound Harris, and giving up their first and second round picks would make their task in landing the ex-Lion just that bit harder.

It's a deal that the Pies will be pleased with, as at this point of the trade period, they have Picks 4 and 5, which means they'll get the second and third picks in the Victorian draft pool this season, if they wanted to go down this road. They'll also have picks 12 and 13 in the second round in the AFLW Draft, but I found it a bit puzzling that they opted to let Stevens walk to the rival club, after such a wonderful season, in which she averaged just under 10 disposals and over three marks per game. 

Collingwood Recieve: Jaimee Lambert, Pick 3 and Pick 9
Greater Western Sydney Recieve: Alicia Eva and Pick 5
Western Bulldogs Recieve: Pick 1, Pick 4 and Pick 12

This was a massive trade for all three teams involved here, with Alicia Eva - who finished second behind Stevens in the Pies' Best and Fairest count, requesting a trade to GWS. It eventually came to fruition, but the Western Bulldogs needed to get involved with it, because Collingwood were threatening to take the number one pick in the Victorian draft.

The number one draft pick means nothing to GWS, as they have control over the NSW talent pool, so giving up Pick 1 along with Pick 9 (Second Round) was an easy decision for the Giants as they recieved Eva along with Collingwood's Pick 5. Eva is an incredibly talented midfielder that will fit in seamlessly at the Giants and can form a good working midfield alongside Jess Dal Pos, Emma Swanson and Renee Forth.

That Pick 1 was then on-traded to the Bulldogs, as they were very interested in securing Tayla Harris in the AFLW Draft, if the Blues - who have at this point emerged as Harris' preferred team - couldn't broker a deal with Brisbane. The Pies also packaged Pick 4 and Pick 12 in exchange for the Bulldogs' Pick 3 in the Draft and a talented midfielder Jaimee Lambert. As a Bulldogs supporter, It's extremely disappointing to lose a player who possesses extraordinary talent like Lambert, but the Bulldogs can walk out of this deal knowing they got a good exchange out of it. As it stands of this trade, the Bulldogs now hold the first and third overall pick in the Victorian draft. They should be able to use those picks on talented key forward Chloe Molloy and a dynamic midfielder to aid the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Emma Kearney.

Greater Western Sydney Recieve: Pepa Randall
Melbourne Recieve: Ashleigh Guest

A little bit of history was made here as this was the first trade made in the AFLW that didn't involve draft picks. Melbourne's Pepa Randall and GWS' Ashleigh Guest have swapped places in this deal, making Randall a Giant and Guest a Demon.

Guest, who played with the VU Western Spurs in the VFLW before she was drafted to the Giants, will add another option for Melbourne to have in a midfield that already possesses such elite talent. Guest averaged just under 10 disposals and four tackles per match for GWS in all seven games this season. I think the Demons have won out in this deal, but it'll be interesting to see what transpires out of these two players in 2017. 

I say it'll be interesting because Randall failed to play a game for Melbourne this year, and at 21 years of age, she will be given every chance to shine in a Greater Western Sydney midfield that's starting to take some serious shape, after recruiting the runner-up in Collingwood's Best and Fairest earlier in Alicia Eva.

Greater Western Sydney Recieve: Madeleine Boyd
Melbourne Recieve: Pick 33

GWS and Melbourne made another trade deal, this time it was a deal that saw the Giants get away the better of it, securing the services of ruck Maddy Boyd from Melbourne in exchange for pick 33.

Pick 33 means virtually nothing for the Giants, as that will be their fourth pick in the New South Wales talent pool, so by trading it to Melbourne, the Demons will now hold the 18th pick in the Victorian Draft, which doesn't sound so bad, given that it is the 33rd overall pick.

Boyd, who was named in the All-VWFL team in 2016, playing for Geelong, struggled to make an impact for Melbourne in 2017, despite playing all seven games for the Demons this season. With GWS already having Erin McKinnon solidfying herself as the club's number one ruck, could we see more of Boyd playing forward in 2017 - working in tandem with Phoebe McWilliams? Either way, it caps off a busy Trade Period for the Giants as they worked to gain players with valuable experience as they begin their climb up the ladder.

Melbourne Recieve: Bianca Jakobsson
Western Bulldogs Recieve: Deanna Berry
Carlton Recieve: Pick 12

This is another blockbuster three-team trade deal that saw two talented individuals change clubs, but it's not so complicated in comparison to the Eva-Lambert-Pick 1 deal.

Carlton will recieve Pick 12 (7th in the Victorian Draft) in the AFLW draft, and with the Blues now fully pursuing Brisbane's Tayla Harris, Carlton offloaded forward Bianca Jakobsson to Melbourne after a season that could only be described as indifferent. Despite averaging 9 disposals and 3.7 marks per game, Jakobsson could only manage 4.3 in seven games for the Blues in 2017, and given that the soon-to-be inclusion of Tayla Harris will prevent her from further opportunity, sought a trade to the Demons, where she should get ample opportunity to work in tandem with an emerging key forward in Alyssa Mifsud, who kicked 9.3 this season. 

They do however, say goodbye to talented youngster Deanna Berry, who has moved on to the Western Bulldogs. I believe that Berry should be seen as a more-than-adequate replacement for the departed Bulldog Jaimee Lambert. She averaged seven disposals per game and kicked five goals in seven games in 2017 playing for Melbourne, and the best thing about this is that Berry will turn 20 next May, so she has so much more time to grow and elevate her status and will be given plenty of time to develop her game as a forward/midfielder.

Carlton Recieve: Tayla Harris
Brisbane Recieve: Bella Ayre and Nat Exon

The major story of the AFLW trade period came to a head in the final day, as Tayla Harris got her wish of being traded to Carlton, with the Blues forced to offload players, as they had little to no trade picks left to deal with.

Harris' arrival at Ikon Park was offset by trading two players that show incredible potential in Isabella Ayre and Nat Exon. 18-year old Ayre played six games for the Blues as a key-forward for a return of four goals in 2017 - two bags of two goals - and her move up North to the Lions should benefit her in the 2018, working alongside Sabrina Fredrick-Traub. Rookie-listed runner Exon enjoyed a breakthrough season, playing five games for the Blues and averaged just under nine disposals per game and will add another dimension in Brisbane's midfield.

As for the Blues acquiring Harris, it'll form one of the deadliest forward duos we've seen so far in the AFLW, pairing her with the reigning AFLW goal-kicking champion Darcy Vescio, who kicked 14 goals in seven games this season. There's no doubt that inclusion of Harris will make Vescio's task of handling the defenders a little easier, and with also the acquisition of Stevens, Carlton look determined to make some noise in the AFLW next year.

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