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.
Adam Cerra lands on Lygon Street
In perhaps the most anticipated move of the trade period, the Dockers and Blues have quickly agreed to a deal to send heralded young midfielder Adam Cerra to Carlton.
Cerra, the number five draft pick at the 2017 draft, heads home to Victoria to continue his career.
Background to trade
In his short time in the west, Cerra demonstrated himself as a versatile, flexible midfielder, able to damage both on the inside and outside.
Cerra’s ability to not only with the ball at the contest but transition it forward effectively puts him at the top end for young midfielders in the competition.
Last year, Fremantle were able to play the most talented group of young midfielders in the competition, with Cerra joined by Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong. These three promised a transition from the older guard, veterans of the 2013 Grand Final side, to a new era of success.
Unfortunately for coach Justin Longmuir and Fremantle, the Dockers will have to find a way to bridge the loss of Cerra. For a Fremantle side that was so strong at stoppages in 2021, the coaching set up will need to work out how to cover his loss.
For Carlton, it heightens expectations for finals contention next year, and adds further midfield depth after the addition of George Hewett via free agency.
Fremantle were right to expect a pick as high as six to come in the deal, for a player who has lived up to his draft billing and was expected to be a key piece of their future. Cerra’s future projects even brighter than such a high draft pick alone might be expected to.
However, by the time Fremantle make the selection on draft night, it will likely be pick eight, which takes a little gloss off the return.
The extra third rounder goes some way toward evening things out. It’s a usable shot at the draft for the Dockers next year, dealing them back in after swapping away future picks earlier today.
Quite well balanced for a high stakes trade.
Lewis Young and Sam Petrevski-Seton seek new opportunity
Sam Petrevski-Seton and Lewis Young both head to new clubs after struggling to crack regular season footy at their previous homes.
Young, a 202cm big man who has been used as a pinch hitting ruck at the Bulldogs, rejected a new Bulldogs contract and found a better offer at Carlton.
The Blues may see him as a defensive option, who could come into the frame should new coach Michael Voss decide to rejig a tactical setup where two brilliant intercepting and rebounding big men were left isolated with way too much work to do.
Petrevski-Seton has not had much chance in the Carlton midfield in recent years. With the addition of Adam Cerra and George Hewett, Petrevski-Seton would have found his prospects even more tenuous.
Instead he gets a chance to find a role in the more top-heavy West Coast midfield, with his speed perhaps adding a point of difference there.
Petrevski-Seton has shown some real flashes of ability, especially in his first three years in the league. As Carlton’s priorities have shifted over time, he found himself out of the midfield mix, and struggled to adjust to a more defensive role.
The trade is a pretty simple one, holding both players to be of equal value with both each other and with pick 52. Both Young and Petrevski-Seton are somewhat difficult to project, as young players with limited senior games.
But when comparing output so far to the historical trajectories of similar players, it’s Petrevski-Seton who perhaps has the more substantial track record and the more promising outlook.
Petrevski-Seton looks like the most valuable piece here, but a reasonably fair set of moves for two players with potential more than a proven track record.
Will Brodie heads west to Fremantle
When Will Brodie arrived on the Gold Coast, expectations were somewhat high.
The Shepparton product came onto the scene as a ready made inside midfielder; a strong contested ball winner.
Due to injuries and a glut of inside midfielders at the Suns, Brodie has largely been unable to get a clear, long run at first team football.
When selected, Brodie has shown flashes of brilliance, but has largely been unable to string them together for long periods of time.
In the past two seasons he has only managed six games of AFL football, including one as the unused medical sub.
As a result his potential is still largely untapped, and his future hard to predict.
As low as Brodie projects due to lack of recent game time, the pick swap alone is in favour of Fremantle, even if Brodie were to be valued at zero. In other words, Gold Coast are paying Fremantle to take him.
However, Gold Coast have an important second objective — to shift as many picks from the 2021 draft to 2022.
Due to the reduction of list sizes across the league, and special concessions given to the Gold Coast to help them rebuild, the Suns face a player crunch like no other.
As a result, the Suns may only take one live pick into the 2021 draft — the valuable pick three.
To use even that pick, they need to have enough list spots — a key driver for sending Brodie to the Dockers.
For the Suns, a key objective is to get value — any value — for their other draft picks before they have to pass on them on draft night.
Via trades with Collingwood and now Fremantle, they have largely done so — albeit at a slight cost.
The headline pick will almost certainly be a downgrade for Gold Coast compared to pick 19 this year, and the late picks are a two for one swap.
Fremantle get a flyer on a former top 10 pick, and the Suns have swapped this year’s draft picks for next.
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.