With the AFL season into its’ final two months, players who moved clubs at the end of 2016 have had plenty of time to settle into their new surroundings and a feel for the way their new team plays. While some have improved on their output from last season, others have yet to really make an impact at their new homes because of either injury or lack of form.
To kick off our 2017 trade and free agency coverage we look back at all the trades from last season, and rank them from 35 down to one.
35: Paul Ahern
Ahern is still recovering from a serious knee injury, and won’t feature for North Melbourne during the 2017 season. Looking towards the future however, he can have a huge impact at the club if they manage his injury well. Ahern can develop into a fine midfield/forward type.
34: Pat McKenna
McKenna hasn’t featured at any level for the Demons since moving across from the Giants due to a hamstring injury. Hopefully he gets to play some sort of footy before the end of the season and gives Melbourne fans an insight into what type of player he could be for the club.
GWS traded Patrick McKenna and picks 51 and 69 to Melbourne for picks 57 and 59.
33: Rhys Palmer
Palmer has only played one senior game at Carlton this season, in Round 3, and has otherwise featured at VFL level. He is a typically dominant type in the reserves, having averaged 25 disposals, six tackles and two scoring shots per game, but with Carlton wanting to focus on the future, Palmer hasn’t been given much of a chance. His value to the team may be helping the VFL side win games to help boost morale of developing players.
32: Brett Deledio
Deledio is the most interesting lowly rated player in this list. He hasn’t played yet and has recently suffered another calf injury, which has put his home-and-away season in doubt. However, Deledio was brought in as a player that could help the Giants win a premiership, and if he can get fully fit before the end of the home and away season he could prove to be an invaluable acquisition come September.
31: Jack Frost
In terms of value added to clubs, Frost has been disappointing for the Lions. It looked like a positive move for Brisbane, given Frost is a solid one-on-one type of defender, however the 25-year-old has played most of the season in the NEAFL so far. Frost has also had to deal with concussion making it a disappointing move so far for the former Magpie.
30: Aaron Black
Black has only featured at senior level three times, but was quite solid when given the opportunity. He was particularly impressive in his debut for his new team against St Kilda in Round 5, however since going back to the VFL he has averaged less than a goal a game, and fallen down the pecking order in terms of key forwards. Black was a flyer selection for the Cats with the hope he could produce when required, but he hasn’t featured since Round 7.
29: Billie Smedts
Smedts hasn’t had much of an impact since moving across to Carlton, playing just five games and averaging 12 disposals. The 25-year-old was given a chance earlier in the season to perhaps find a spot in the best 22, however his ball use and general lack of impact has limited his opportunities.
28: Jarrod Pickett
Pickett finally made his AFL debut early in the season, and the former number four draft pick has played six senior matches thus far in 2017. His biggest issue was seemingly his fitness, and he has done little to suggest that has improved, with quiet performances at all levels this season. Pickett still has time to produce for the Blues given he is only 20 years old, however he hasn’t added the spark Carlton was hoping for, averainge just eight disposals and two tackles per game.
27: Travis Cloke
Cloke has been in and out of the Bulldogs side due to injuries, form and more recently mental health issues. Cloke has played six games this year and has only averaged 12 disposals, 4.2 marks and one goal a game. The Bulldogs seem to be playing Cloke when the match-ups suit, however, his form hasn’t warranted a consistent spot in the starting 22.
26: Jaeger O’Meara
So far O’Meara has only managed four games with his new club as he has struggled with persistent knee injuries. It seems unlikely that O’Meara will lace up the boots again for Hawthorn in 2017 as they try to protect the huge investment they have made. In the games that O’Meara has played, he has averaged 21.8 disposals and kicked only the one goal.
25: Shane Kersten
Kersten has been serviceable for the Dockers with the clear highlight being the match-winning goal he kicked against North Melbourne back in Round 5. Kersten has averaged just over 10 disposals and one goal per game in 2017.
24: James Stewart
James Stewart requested a trade away from GWS due to lack of opportunity and found a new home with Essendon. Essendon only had to give up pick 77 to secure the services of Stewart which is pretty low given the currency of tall forwards. Although the former Giant found it hard to gain selection in Essendon’s senior side, he got his opportunity in Round 8, and has worked well in tandem with Daniher and Hooker up forward in a supporting role. He has managed an average of 12.1 disposals, 3.5 marks and 1.5 goals per game.
23: Pearce Hanley
Pearce Hanley made the move down the highway from Brisbane to the Gold Coast in a 3-way trade that involved Port Adelaide. Hanley’s reason for moving was because of ‘losers’ fatigue’ after some fruitless years with Brisbane. Hanley hasn’t been able to reap the rewards of being with a more successful side, as he has had an interrupted year due to injury and a family tragedy. Hanley has averaged 18 disposals and 6.5 marks per game in 2017. Hanley will be hoping he can get his body right in the second half of the season.
Brisbane traded Pearce Hanley to Gold Coast, and pick 19 to Port Adelaide. Port Adelaide then traded pick 67 to Gold Coast and their 2017 first-round pick to Brisbane, while Gold Coast traded pick 22 to Brisbane and pick 30 to Port Adelaide.
22: Lynden Dunn
Dunn started the year off in Collingwood’s VFL side before breaking into the senior side in Round 6, and hasn’t missed a game since. The former Demon has been viewed as an improvement on the departing Jack Frost and Nathan Brown due to his superior ball use. Dunn was questionably selected in Collingwood’s Round 15 side ahead of Ben Reid which has raised some eyebrows, and has averaged 15 disposals and 5.5 marks per game.
21: Nathan Hrovat
Hrovat has been a staple of North Melbourne’s senior side in 2017 after only missing one game, and has helped fill the void of the departed Brent Harvey as a speedy high half forward who can kick the occasional goal. Hrovat has averaged 18.1 disposals and 1 scoring shot per game in 2017.
20: Joel Hamling
Joel Hamling departed from the Western Bulldogs to go back home to WA joining Fremantle. Another Fremantle recruit that has been in every game in 2017, Hamling has been reliable in defence for the Dockers as a lockdown defender, mainly taking the place of the ageing Zac Dawson. He has averaged 12 disposals and 5.6 marks per game.
19: Marley Williams
Slotted into a young North Melbourne side quite well. He’s played every game for the club this year in the backline and is right up there in rebound 50s although the Kangaroos would like to get a bit more meterage out of him.
18: Cam McCarthy
He’s has some good games and some bad games, a bit like the Dockers. He’s providing them with a much needed tall target to kick to and despite struggling with coach Ross Lyons structures at times he’s a fierce competitor.
17: Dion Prestia
Prestia has had an interrupted run at his new club, missing a couple of games shortly before the byes. He’s providing the Tigers with another strong body in the midfield and despite his numbers not setting the world on fire, he’s allowing Dustin Martin and particularly Trent Cotchin more freedom in the middle.
16: Josh Caddy
Played all but one game for new club Richmond and has contributed both through the middle and in the forward half. Hasn’t broken a game open as he showed he could at Geelong but to be fair he hasn’t needed to. Playing his role, nothing more.
15: Jack Steele
St Kilda needed to trade in some midfield grunt and they did just that with Jack Steele. He played the first 11 games for the club providing great tackling pressure but was sent back to the VFL as his form dropped off.
14: Nathan Vardy
With the Eagles’ ruck situation dire due to long-term injuries to Nic Natainui and Scott Lycett, West Coast looked to out of favour Cats’ tall Nathan Vardy as an option in the draft. After a slow start, Vardy has found form and confidence across the past two months, averaging almost 22 hit outs and three tackles per game. Vardy’s ability to move well around the ground and provide a hit up option transitioning forward has been one of the reasons the up and down Eagles remain in finals calculations. For Vardy to have played all 14 games is a big win in itself, with the former Cat’s previous season high being 10 in an injury-riddled career so far.
13: Will Hoskin-Elliott
After finding it hard to break into a star-studded GWS midfield after a promising 2014 season, 23 year old Hoskin-Elliott has been a strong addition to a Collingwood side missing Jamie Elliott for most of this season. The slightly-built wingman has been electrifying at times across half-forward, particularly in the Round 2 game against Richmond where he booted three telling goals. Hoskin-Elliott is averaging career-highs in disposals, marks and tackles, having played every game this season in what looks a promising move for both player and club, and is starting to show why he was pick four in the 2011 draft.
12: Koby Stevens
With the Western Bulldogs on a charge towards the flag in 2016, hard nut Stevens was unable to break into the Premiership side despite dominating at VFL level late in the season. The Saints have benefited strongly from the acquisition of Stevens, as he has added a toughness to the young Saints engine room with his uncompromising attack on the ball and love of the contest. Stevens is going at 23 disposals and seven tackles per game from his eight matches this season, with his determination summed up by his incredible 15 tackles against Gold Coast in Round 14. Stevens looks likely to continue to provide support for young breakout midfielders Seb Ross, Jack Billings and Jack Steele as the Saints seek the consistent performances required to play finals football.
11: Jarryd Lyons
Lyons isn’t doing much wrong at the Suns. He’s finding plenty of the football and using it well to drive them into attack. He’s heaping pressure on the ball carrier and hitting the scoreboard more often than not. He has been particularly good over the last month or so, and is averaging 26.5 disposals, 3.7 marks and 4.8 tackles per game – all career highs.
10: Sam Mitchell
Mitchell has provided a bunch of leadership at the Eagles, particularly direction in the midfield. One more quality ball user in their midfield has also allowed the likes of Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff to find a bit more of the football as well. They got him for next to nothing and he’s given them a whole lot so far.
9: Caleb Marchbank
Carlton chased a lot of young Giants during the 2016 AFL Trade Period, none more so than Caleb Marchbank. After a horror run with injuries during his time at GWS, his body is finally holding up. Playing every game so far this year he’s slotted into the backline with ease and his addition to the team, plus the fact that he’s in such great form, has allowed Carlton to swing Jacob Weitering forward where – alongside Levi Casboult – he can provide a real target for their entries. Marchbank is taking a bunch of grabs in defence, ranking seventhth in the competition for total marks, and is playing his role perfectly. He’s eligible for the NAB AFL Rising Star award this year, and ranks in the top five in more than 10 statistical categories among rising stars.
8: Jordan Lewis
Many were surprised when Lewis was traded to the Demons at the end of 2016 as a 30 year old, but the four-time Premiership Hawk has proven to be a solid addition to the young Melbourne midfield. Despite being suspended for three matches in Round 2 for striking Patrick Cripps, the experienced Lewis has inspired the young Dees in the absence of injured leaders such as Gawn and Jones, with the club sitting in sixth on the ladder and eyeing off a top 4 finish. Averaging 25 disposals per game, Lewis has stood up in the Demons’ big wins, with the veteran likely to help Melbourne push for a flag in the near future.
7: Michael Barlow
Out of favour at Fremantle across the past two seasons, veteran midfielder Barlow made an invaluable contribution to the Suns’ line up in his 12 games before succumbing to another horrific leg injury in Round 13. The 29 year old averaged 25 disposals and four tackles per game and booted 10 goals, with his contributions inspiring the Suns’ younger midfielders, and giving Ablett and Aaron Hall some much-needed ball-winning support. Barlow’s best four matches came in the upset wins over Geelong, West Coast and Hawthorn (twice), and all football fans will be hoping the understated midfielder can make a return to the field next season.
6: Jarrod Witts
Witts’ inability to play as a forward/second ruckman meant he spent the vast majority of 2016 playing in the VFL, as Brodie Grundy became one of the elite ruckmen of the competition. Witts was far too good a player to be playing reserve grade, and has thrived since being given the opportunity as the Suns’ number one big man. He is averaging 13.6 disposals and 36.7 hit outs per game, which sees him ranked fourth for total hit outs and fifth for average hit outs per game, and at only 24 years of age will only get better.
5: Michael Hibberd
Despite injury delaying his debut for the Demons until Round 5, Hibberd is another player producing career best figures for his new club in 2017. Playing a very similar role to the one he had at the Bombers, Hibberd is providing experience in Melbourne’s transition out of defence, averaging 27.4 disposals and 5.7 marks in his nine appearances thus far this season, and is ranked second in the AFL for average rebound 50s, and 19th in effective disposals per game.
4: Brad Hill
A triple premiership player at just 23 years of age, Hill requested a trade home to Western Australia to play alongside brother Stephen at Fremantle with Hawthorn’s blessing. Few could have predicted the effect Hill would have on his new club just 14 matches into the 2017 season, with the speedy outside midfielder averaging a career-high 23 disposals and seven marks per game. Hill is ranked 10th in the AFL in total kicks and 11th in total uncontested possessions – figures impacted greatly by his unbelievable 37 disposal and 16 mark-effort against Essendon in Round 7. With the Dockers looking to youth this season, Hill has been the face of the run and carry style the side has employed, and has given younger players such as Connor Blakely and Lachie Weller the confidence to back their running and take the game on.
3: Toby Nankervis
Although Sydney have been hugely successful during trade periods, they haven’t chosen wisely when it comes to ruckmen. They lost Mumford to the Giants, who has gone on to become one of their most important players, and last year they kept Naismith while trading Nankervis to the Tigers, and it appears history is repeating itself. Nankervis has been an integral part of Richmond’s rise up the ladder in 2017, averaging 13.9 disposals, 4.2 tackles and 25.7 hit outs per game.
2: Zach Tuohy
Coinciding with the imminent retirement of Corey Enright late last season, Zach Tuohy produced the best month of football of his career averaging 24.6 disposals over the final five games of the season. The Cats duly pounced during the trade period, and Tuohy has proven to be one of the trades acquisitions of 2017. Playing a very similar role to that of Enright off a half back flank, the Irishman is averaging a career high 26.5 disposals and 5.5 rebound 50s per game, and with a disposal efficiency rate of 74.4%.
1: Tom Mitchell
After finally cementing his place in a strong Sydney line-up in 2016 averaging an impressive 27.9 disposals per game, Mitchell has taken his game to an even higher level since moving to Hawthorn. He is averaging career highs in disposals (35.5), marks (5.8), and tackles (7), while he is ranked first in the AFL for disposals, second for handball and effective disposals, and fourth for contested possessions. Should be on his way to winning his first best and fairest award.
- Tom Mitchell
- Zach Tuohy
- Toby Nankervis
- Brad Hill
- Michael Hibberd
- Jarrod Witts
- Michael Barlow
- Jordan Lewis
- Caleb Marchbank
- Sam Mitchell
- Jarryd Lyons
- Koby Stevens
- Will Hoskin-Elliott
- Nathan Vardy
- Jack Steele
- Josh Caddy
- Dion Prestia
- Cam McCarthy
- Marley Williams
- Joel Hamling
- Nathan Hrovat
- Lynden Dunn
- Pearce Hanley
- James Stewart
- Shane Kersten
- Jaeger O’Meara
- Travis Cloke
- Jarrod Pickett
- Billie Smedts
- Aaron Black
- Jack Frost
- Brett Deledio
- Rhyc Palmer
- Patrick McKenna
- Paul Ahern
Did we get it right? As always, feel free to leave your comments below or on our Facebook page.