Trade and FA

A Look Back: A Decade of Trading (2007 – 2016)

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As Season 2017 approaches its crescendo and for some teams, their ‘Grand Final’ won’t come at the MCG on Saturday September 30th, rather in the tense negotiations and out-of-date final facsimiles at AFL House in the Trade Period.

In early anticipation of what might come this October, let’s take a look back at the past decade of trading to give us insight as to what clubs might do this time around.

So without further ado, here is the massive club-by-club look back at ‘A Decade of Trading’.


Total trades made in past decade: 16

Most common trading partner: Carlton, Sydney, Richmond and Geelong (twice)

Least common trading partner: Six teams (Bulldogs, Fremantle, Brisbane, West Coast, Melbourne and Gold Coast – all zero)

Free Agents: 1 (Eddie Betts – 2013)

Biggest moves: Pulling star ruckman Sam Jacobs across form Carlton in 2010 has paid the most dividends for Adelaide, getting him across for two picks (34 and 67).

Interesting insights: 2015 saw the Crows make big moves as they accommodated the Patrick Dangerfield move to Geelong, making a total of four trades in the one off-season – their most since 2001.

2011 appears their most fruitful in recent years, trading in Josh Jenkins (Essendon), Tom Lynch (St Kilda) and Brad Crouch (mini-draft pick) all at once. Adelaide is traditionally one of the quieter clubs at trade time, having only made 16 deals in the past decade.


Total trades made in past decade: 34

Most common trading partner: Collingwood (5)

Least common trading partner: Adelaide, Essendon and Fremantle (zero)

Free Agents: 1 (Brent Moloney – 2012), Luke McGuane (2013), Mitch Robinson (2014 – Delisted FA)

Biggest moves: Recruiting former Collingwood star Dayne Beams to the den in 2014 along with Allen Christensen would be the best trade haul in the past decade for the Lions. It didn’t come without a cost however, setting the QLD club back Jack Crisp plus their first and second rounders that year.

Interesting insights: The infamous 2009 off-season is easily the most notable and influential in the Lions’ past decade of trading. Known for ‘Crazy Vossy’ and his move to bring across Brendan Fevola and four other senior players from other clubs, of which their failure became apparent less than a year later, this off-season would ultimately seal Lions’ Champion Michael Voss’ fate as Brisbane Coach – symbolic for the failed direction it set the club in at the time. Brisbane made 5 trades in a single off-season twice – 2009 and later again in 2011. They also made the second biggest trade total (behind GWS) in an off-season of the past decade with 6 in 2013. Brisbane has made at least one trade in every off-season of the past decade – only one of a few clubs to do so.

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Total trades made in past decade: 25

Most common trading partner: Brisbane and Greater Western Sydney (4)

Least common trading partner: Essendon, Gold Coast, North Melbourne and St Kilda (zero)

Free Agents: Dale Thomas (2013), Matthew Dick (2014 – Delisted), Matthew Wright (2015 – Delisted), Daniel Gorringe (2015 – Delisted)

Biggest moves: The deal that set this decade in motion is the famed Chris Judd trade of 2007 that saw the Blues part with Pick 3 and 20 as well as star forward Josh Kennedy. They received a late pick in return that became recently-retired clubman Dennis Armfield. The most underrated (and possibly best) trade of the decade was the swap with Brisbane (for Pick 33) in 2013 whereby the Blues nabbed homesick young gun Sam Docherty.

Interesting insights: Since taking over the recruiting reigns at Carlton, List Manager and club great Stephen Silvagni has been shrewd in his trading – making 10 separate deals in just two off-seasons.


Total trades made in past decade: 35

Most common trading partner: Brisbane, North Melbourne (five)

Least common trading partner: Essendon, Hawthorn, Richmond (zero)

Free Agents: nil

Biggest moves: 2015 saw the recruitment of former Giant Adam Treloar, who instantly became an integral part of the Magpies’ engine room. Before that, Collingwood made the massive play to swap Premiership star Heath Shaw for Taylor Adams – now one of the clubs leaders on and off the field.

Interesting insights: Collingwood have been one of the busiest clubs of the past decade, making a deal in every off-season going back to 2002. Arguably the biggest club in the competition, they’re not afraid to make a deal – trading with all but three clubs in the past decade. The Pies have clearly benefited from the inclusion of expansion clubs GWS and Gold Coast – trading with each four times.


Total trades made in past decade: 16

Most common trading partner: Greater Western Sydney, Geelong, Port Adelaide (three)

Least common trading partner: Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Gold Coast, North Melbourne, Richmond (zero)

Free Agents: Brendon Goddard (2012), James Gwilt (2013), Matthew Leuenberger (2014)

Biggest moves: The past decade with Adrian Dodoro in charge of the Bombers has seen relatively few moves, with no real standout trade – rather can be defined by those players who were traded out such as Patrick Ryder (2014), Jake Carlisle (2015) and Michael Hibberd (2016). Gaining Free Agents Brendon Goddard and Matthew Leuenberger for no cost have been great acquisitions thus far, with Leuenberger playing 26 games for the Bombers in two years and Goddard playing over 100 whilst captaining the club across 2016.

Interesting insights: Essendon may well have the highest number of clubs on the ‘zero trade’ list since 2007, with the club having dealt with just 10 of the clubs. They also have never managed to trade in a player who has gone on to have a meaningful impact. Now, this may reflect a more conservative approach from the Bombers, but it has been speculated that those out of Windy Hill are simply difficult to deal with at the trade table – an easy but speculative call.

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Total trades made in past decade: 20

Most common trading partner: Gold Coast (6)

Least common trading partner: Brisbane, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Richmond, Sydney and West Coast (zero)

Free Agents: Danyle Pearce (2012), Colin Sylvia (2013)

Biggest moves: 2016 saw the traditionally low-key Dockers make five separate moves in the off-season, brining young potential stars Cam McCarthy and Brad Hill to the club as well as Joel Hamling and Shane Kersten. They also traded down the draft order with GWS in the process.

Interesting insights: Gold Coast is Fremantle’s favourite club to deal with by a fair margin, doing 4 more deals with the Suns than any other club. It’s worth noting that most of their deals in the past decade have been low-risk, including trading away 2nd-tier players or doing draft pick swaps. 2016 was the first time they broke the mould and got aggressive at the trade table. With the club still on the rebound, this approach may be repeated in 2017.

Greater Western Sydney   

Total trades made in past decade: 47 (since 2011)

Most common trading partner: Collingwood and Melbourne (5)

Least common trading partner: West Coast (zero)

Free Agents: Dylan Addison (2013), Dawson Simpson (2015)

Biggest moves: GWS has been a master of drafting – a huge part of their current success; however their ability to trade in big names relatively cheap has served them even better. Here’s looking at Mumford (Pick 35 in 2013), Shaw (T. Adams swap in 2013) and Steve Johnson (5th Rounder in 2015).

Interesting insights: The Giants have only been part of 6 trade periods but have easily done the most deals – topping the table at 47, including 10 (2013) and 11 (2016) respectively. They’ve also dealt with every club except West Coast in their time in the AFL. Is 2017 the time to rectify this?


Total trades made in past decade: 32

Most common trading partner: Gold Coast (4)

Least common trading partner: Collingwood, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Richmond and West Coast (1)

Free Agents: Jared Rivers (2012), Sam Blease (2014 – Delisted), Scott Selwood (2015)

Biggest moves: 2015 saw the Cats slowly dipping after a decade of dominance. In comes Patrick Dangerfield, Scott Selwood (FA), Lachie Henderson and Zac Smith to help turn that dip back into a push up the ladder. Thus far, it seems to have worked – together with Zach Tuohy (2016) as they’ve cemented their spot as a renewed genuine finals contender.

Interesting insights: Geelong is the only team to have made a deal with every single club over the past decade. They’ve carved out a name for themselves as a ‘get things done’ type of operator. When they want a player, they waste little time and almost always get their target. Expect them to again be involved in a few negotiations as they look to establish their youth stocks and position at the top of the tree.

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Gold Coast                           

Total trades made in past decade: 35

Most common trading partner: Fremantle (6)

Least common trading partner: Carlton, Essendon and Sydney (zero)

Free Agents: Tom Murphy (2012), Nick Malceski (2014), Jarrad Grant (2015 – Delisted), Michael Barlow (2016 – Delisted)

Biggest moves: The Suns’ biggest downfall over their journey thus far may be their failure to lure top players north to the Gold Coast. Their biggest and best recruiting drive came at their inception, whereby they nabbed Jarrod Harbrow, Michael Rischitelli, Nathan Bock and Gary Ablett Jnr as uncontracted ‘free agents’ of sorts. Since then, they’ve been active in the trade market, but haven’t quite earned success from their efforts.

Interesting insights: Looking back through their seven off-season’s to date, the Suns can be defined by the young talent they’ve lost – including the likes of Jaeger O’Meara, Harley Bennell, Josh Caddy and Dion Prestia – leading to a ‘restart’ without so much as making finals. A change of coach may help, but with them set to lose Gary Ablett for next year one way or another – the Suns need to fix their culture and lure a few stars if they want to compete with fellow expansion rivals, GWS.


Total trades made in past decade: 30

Most common trading partner: Greater Western Sydney and North Melbourne (4)

Least common trading partner: Collingwood, Richmond (zero)

Free Agents: Jonathan Simpkin (2012 – Delisted), James Frawley (2014)

Biggest moves: 2009 was a big year for the Hawks as they gained Shaun Burgoyne and Josh Gibson in one off-season. Both went on to become key pillars in their 3 premierships across 2013-2015. 2016 also saw the Hawks changing of the guard as they traded out star veterans Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis, making way for Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell.

Interesting insights: The decade started out slowly for the Brown and Gold, failing to cut a deal of any kind in either 2007 or 2008 – perhaps a show of faith in their prior rebuild. This ended up paying off as they enjoyed a fairy tale premiership in 2008 made up of various young future stars including Jarryd Roughead, Buddy Franklin and Cyril Rioli.


Total trades made in past decade: 26

Most common trading partner: Greater Western Sydney (5)

Least common trading partner: St Kilda, Sydney and Western Bulldogs (zero)

Free Agents: Shannon Byrnes (2012), Daniel Cross (2013 – Delisted), Aidan Riley (2013 – Delisted), Ben Newton (2014 – Delisted)

Biggest moves: 2013 may be Melbourne’s best year of trading, seeing them recruit Bernie Vince from Adelaide and Dom Tyson from GWS, however this trade saw them given up Pick 2 – the selection that the Giants used to select Josh Kelly. So maybe the verdict is still out on that one. Last year’s recruitment of Jordan Lewis and Michael Hibberd have done wonders for their rise up the ladder in 2016, with both becoming key cogs and the latter pushing for All-Australian selection.

Interesting insights: The Demons traded out Pick 23 twice in two years, both in 2013 for Bernie Vince and Sam Frost (plus latter picks) in 2014. Matt Crouch went at #23 to Adelaide (a great pickup it must be said) while Pat McKenna was taken by GWS in 2014 – a man who ironically ended up at Melbourne in 2016. So maybe they don’t hate Pick 23 after all.

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North Melbourne                 

Total trades made in past decade: 19

Most common trading partner: Collingwood and Hawthorn (4)

Least common trading partner: Adelaide, Carlton, Essendon, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and Sydney (zero)

Free Agents: Nick Dal Santo (2013), Robin Nahas (2013 – Delisted), Jarrad Waite (2014), Shaun Higgins (2014)

Biggest moves: North Melbourne traditionally aren’t ones to secure a ‘big fish’ via a trade, though have benefited – arguably the most – from Free Agency since its inception in 2012, bringing across Dal Santo, Waite and Higgins – who have played 62, 47 and 51 games for North respectively. Their net cost also comes in at zero in a trading sense. Unfortunately, this recruiting drive failed to result in silverware for the Kangaroos.

Interesting insights: North traded with Hawthorn in three separate years at a time where they were conservative in their activity – recording 3 of their 4 deals during 2009-2011 with the Hawks. The Kangaroos clearly like dealing with the same people – as evidenced by their 8 trades between Collingwood and Hawthorn despite limited activity across the past decade.

Port Adelaide                       

Total trades made in past decade: 19

Most common trading partner: Essendon, Greater Western Sydney and Richmond (3)

Least common trading partner: Carlton, Fremantle, North Melbourne, St Kilda and Western Bulldogs (zero)

Free Agents: Matthew White (2013)

Biggest moves: Paddy Ryder from Essendon in 2014. Despite the premier big man sitting out all of 2016 due to well-known reasons, he has made a splash since his return and is a leading contender for AA honours in 2017.

Interesting insights: Whilst most teams opt to deal in single transactions i.e. the one club, Port Adelaide has made more than a habit of getting involved in multi-club trades – having been a part of four (all since 2013). So attention List Managers: If you need to get a third (or fourth) club involved to get a deal across the line, Port Adelaide are your go-to guys.


Total trades made in past decade: 21

Most common trading partner: Adelaide, Carlton, Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide (3)

Least common trading partner: Collingwood, Essendon, Fremantle, Hawthorn, Melbourne and St Kilda (zero)

Free Agents: Chris Knights (2012), Troy Chaplin (2012), Taylor Hunt (2014), Andrew Moore (2015 – Delisted)

Biggest moves: After years of promising action at the trade table, Richmond pulled out a few big moves in 2016. In one fell swoop, they recruited highly-regarded pocket dynamo Dion Prestia, big man Toby Nankervis and midfielder Josh Caddy – all three who have had a meaningful impact in the Tigers’ rise up the ladder in 2017.

Interesting insights: With just the one deal in 2013 – 2014, one could understand the Tigers faithful losing confidence in their club’s ability to get things done. Far from a perfect list at the time, the Tigers seemed to be in the conversation for several big-name players but just struggled – or rather chose not to – engage in trading.

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St Kilda    

Total trades made in past decade: 23

Most common trading partner: Greater Western Sydney and Sydney (4)

Least common trading partner: Carlton, Melbourne, Port Adelaide and Richmond (zero)

Free Agents: Dylan Roberton (2012 – Delisted), Tim Membrey (2014 – Delisted), Nathan Brown (2016)

Biggest moves: Polarising key defender Jake Carlisle weighed up his options ahead of the 2015 off-season before deciding on St Kilda. Despite sitting out 2016 because of the Essendon saga, Carlisle has settled in well this season – becoming a key cog down back for the Saints. Their decision to pick up Dylan Roberton as a DFA in 2012 looks to be paying off in 2017 as he’s enjoyed a breakout season.

Interesting insights: St Kilda would’ve been bullish about their 2015 trade period – luring Jake Carlisle and Nathan Freeman plus drafting the likes of Bailey Rice (as Father Son) and Brandon White. Unfortunately for the Saints, their haul largely fell flat in ‘year one’, with Carlisle sitting out the year and Freeman/Rice not playing a single game. Luckily, Jade Gresham (their first draft selection) went on to play 18 games in his first year.


Total trades made in past decade: 29

Most common trading partner: Western Bulldogs (4)

Least common trading partner: Fremantle, Melbourne and North Melbourne (zero)

Free Agents: Lance Franklin (2013), Jeremy Laidler (2013 – Delisted), Tom Derickx (2013 – Delisted)

Biggest moves: Sydney have traded out some big names in recent years – such as Shane Mumford and Tom Mitchell – but luring the most exciting player in the game in Lance Franklin across in 2013 was the biggest coup at the time. The Swans have yet to win a Premiership in the ‘Buddy Era’; however their dream finish to 2017 could see that change.

Interesting insights: Behind GWS, the Swans have the most been the most consistent traders of the past decade – proving that their sustained success is no fluke. They started the decade on fire, making 10 trades during 2007-2009 and have made 3 or more trades 7 times.

West Coast                          

Total trades made in past decade: 20

Most common trading partner: Brisbane, Sydney and Western Bulldogs (3)

Least common trading partner: Adelaide, Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Geelong and Hawthorn (zero)

Free Agents: nil

Biggest moves: 2007 saw the famed Chris Judd trade come to fruition, seeing the Eagles well compensated for losing their captain and Brownlow Medallist. They gained star goal-kicker and 3-time Coleman Medallist Josh Kennedy and Chris Masten for the now-retired Carlton/West Coast great.

Interesting insights: 2014 saw the Eagles sit on their hands – making zero trades and gaining no free agents; a stark comparison to 2015, which saw them make five deals including those seeing Jack Redden and Lewis Jetta go west. Alongside Collingwood, West Coast is the only side to completely avoid Free Agency since its inclusion in 2012. Will 2017 be the year they break the duck?

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Western Bulldogs               

Total trades made in past decade: 28

Most common trading partner: Sydney (4)

Least common trading partner: Melbourne and Port Adelaide (zero)

Free Agents: Nick Lower (2012 – Delisted), Joel Hamling (2014 – Delisted), Matt Suckling (2015)

Biggest moves: With things at the Kennel in a tumultuous state, 2014 saw the Bulldogs incredibly trade away their captain Ryan Griffen and first draft pick (6) to a young Giants side in exchange for now-2016 Grand Final hero and former-number one pick Tom Boyd. With a flag in hand and Griffen having struggled at GWS, the deal looks to have paid off – especially with then pick 6 Caleb Marchbank now at the Blues.

Interesting insights: Unlike Port Adelaide, the Bulldogs do not appear to get involved with multi-club business – with none of their 28 trades since 2007 involving another club. Whilst the 2016 Premiers like to get a few deals done, don’t expect them to put their hand up to mediate.

Total Trades 2007-2016

Club Total Trades (2007-2016)
Greater Western Sydney 47
Gold Coast 35
Collingwood 35
Brisbane 34
Geelong 32
Hawthorn 30
Sydney 29
Western Bulldogs 28
Melbourne 26
Carlton 25
St Kilda 23
Richmond 21
Fremantle 20
West Coast 20
North Melbourne 19
Port Adelaide 19
Adelaide 16
Essendon 16


It’s no surprise that the Giants sit at the top of the ‘Total Trades’ Table given their recent inclusion and aggressive (and so far successful) rise in the AFL.

So based on the above analysis from the past decade, we can (suggestively) surmise the following for October, 2017:

  • Behind GWS, Sydney is the most likely to make three or more trades, so expect both NSW sides to be heavily involved
  • Adelaide and Essendon are the least likely to make multiple trades
  • Gold Coast and Fremantle should link up once again
  • Geelong is the true dark horse, being the only club to have made a deal with all other 17 teams
  • West Coast and GWS will continue to forget each other exists
  • We’ll see a few trades come from nowhere to shock us all

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Early Look at Possible 2017 Moves

Josh Kelly/Jacob Hopper – it appears likely that one of these GWS young guns will make their way south this October. Should one leave, it’s unlikely the Giants will let the other go. Kelly would garner two first round picks, while Hopper is yet to establish himself at AFL level but would still be worthy of a mid-late first rounder in a trade. St Kilda, Geelong, Carlton and North Melbourne are all heavily rumoured to be keen on one (or both) of the young Giants, although it has been reported Kelly has agreed to terms with the Giants on a two year deal.

Charlie Cameron – the Crows speedster has been heavily linked with the Lions the past few months, with speculation favouring Brisbane’s 2nd rounder (18) in a straight swap.

Gold Coast SunsWith a new coach soon to make his way to north of the Queensland border, there are plenty of changes likely to come at the Gold Coast. With Gary Ablett wanting to leave and plenty of improvement needed, the Suns could be an active player in this year’s trade and free agency period.

2017 Free Agency Class – STAY or GO?

Tom Rockliff – After testing the market last year, the former-captain has stayed put – enjoying a mostly fruitful season under new Coach Chris Fagan. STAY

David Zaharakis – Stated to want to see out the 2017 season before committing to a new deal, once could be forgiven for thinking the star Bomber will leave. Whilst he’ll have several suitors, it’s likely he’ll remain at Windy Hill. STAY

Steven Motlop – The oft-maligned, restricted free agent has had another yo-yo year in terms of form, however still holds value to a top four side as a potential game-breaker. At 26, now is the time for Motlop to cash in. Still, one gets the feeling that will beat Geelong. STAY

Taylor Duryea – The premiership defender hasn’t had his best year and may look to continue his football elsewhere. With Hawthorn’s younger brigade in Daniel Howe and Ryan Burton standing up down back, Duryea’s opportunities ahead may not be in Brown and Gold. GO

Lachlan Hansen – At his best, Hansen is a match-winner. But as he begins to move out of his peak footballing years, the swingman could consider moving onto greener pastures in the hope of a Brian Lake-style fairy tale. GO

Jasper Pittard – The rangy rebounding defender could be sought after by multiple teams come October – receiving offers that may entice the Victorian to return home. But with Port still up and about, he may choose to stick to the club that drafted him and remain in South Australia for a few more years. STAY

Bring on October.

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