The AFL season may be done and dusted, but the competition between the clubs continues with the annual trade period underway.
Until the period’s conclusion on October 13, we will keep you across all the trades, while analysing who won and lost with each exchange.
It is set to be an intriguing trade period, as clubs step up a gear in their preparations for the 2022 season.
Jeremy Finlayson: Giants to Power
After seven seasons at GWS, former local academy tall Jeremy Finlayson has been granted a trade to Port Adelaide, largely for family reasons.
Finlayson will head to the Power, which handed over a future third-round pick to the Giants.
While the trade period is often billed as a battle between competing clubs to fleece the other side, much of the time the goals are more about finding the right fit for a player and club.
With a number of potential key-position forwards and defenders on the Giants’ list, the loss of Finlayson — who joins the Power on a three-year deal — is not as critical as it may have been in the past.
Harry Himmelberg, Jesse Hogan and Jake Riccardi seem set as the taller options up forward for the Giants, alongside the enigmatic Toby Greene.
Background to trade
While noted more as a goal kicker in recent years, Finlayson started his AFL journey as a tall defender before being shifted forward to cover losses.
The Culcairn product showed some potential down back. And he has often been used as a tall utility by the Giants, including pinch-hitting in the ruck.
Finlayson, despite his height, often does his best work on the run and closer to ground level, as he is able to use his long boot to drill goals from almost anywhere.
As it stands, the Power has a packed tall forward set-up.
Finlayson joins Charlie Dixon, Mitch Georgiades, Todd Marshall and a bevy of capable attacking rucks as targets.
But the Power’s defensive stocks are relatively undersized and have been exploited in the past, including in this year’s preliminary final.
Finlayson’s positional flexibility may enable the Power to cover super-sized opposition attacks, while still retaining firepower up forward.
At the cost of just a future third-round pick, it is a small cost to pay to fix a potentially big weakness.
For the Giants, the move helps to clear some of the logjam of talls they have had on their list.
At the same time, they get some salary-cap relief and the chance to accumulate more draft capital for their very productive academy.
The Power might have picked up a real bargain.
Nathan Kreuger: Cats to Magpies
Geelong’s tall utility Nathan Kreuger — who was originally overlooked in his draft year — has found his way to his new club, Collingwood, after playing just two matches for Geelong.
The Magpies traded their round-three draft selection (number 41) for Kreuger and the Cats’ round-three pick (55).
After facing formidable competition for match time — both up forward and down back — at the Cattery, Kreuger joins a Collingwood side in need of experience and mature bodies, especially up forward.
Background to trade
Kreuger was originally pre-listed by Carlton under a list concession in 2018, and traded to Geelong for pick 42.
The swap perhaps also reflected where Kreuger, then aged 19, may have gone in a live draft after a solid season for South Adelaide in the SANFL.
Following his arrival at Kardinia Park, though, Kreuger’s progress was somewhat hard to track because of coronavirus-related interruptions to the VFL, as well as injuries.
The Victor Harbour native — when he did play — showed some promise, including kicking a bag of six goals against Coburg in the 2019 VFL season.
However, the arrival of Jeremy Cameron last year prompted the Cats to attempt to convert Kreuger to defence in their 2021 campaign.
Kreuger’s two AFL appearances this season came in round 20 and 21, against North Melbourne and GWS respectively.
He will likely come into the mix as a best-22 key position forward at the Magpies, given their struggles up forward in recent years.
Kreuger’s athleticism means that he can cover a lot of ground and potentially stretch opposition defences.
He shapes as a really good match to pair with the late-emerging Darcy Cameron up forward, which could draw more attention away from Brody Mihocek.
Kreuger’s projected future value is very low, given his lack of output at the senior level.
With a couple of years in a good AFL system under his belt — and at a cheap trade price — Kreuger would be appealing to a Magpies side focused on Nick Daicos at the national draft and thinking about results well into the future.
For their part, the Cats get to upgrade their fourth draft selection in an even draft.
Low stakes and a pretty fair trade.