NOTE: Since this article was written Melbourne have re-signed Hogan, fending off interest from rival clubs in his home state of Western Australia. Hogan has signed a two-year contract extension tieing him to the club until at least the end of 2019.
Player name: Jesse Hogan
Current club: Melbourne Demons
Potential club: The speculation around Jesse Hogan has intensified in the past week, but it’s been on a simmer for much of 2016. West Coast announced on Saturday that they’ve joined in the hunt for the Demon power forward, fueling the storm surrounding Hogan’s future. Quite simply, the 21 year old is a West Australian, and there is a chance that he’ll look to continue his AFL career in Perth once his current contract with Melbourne expires. That leaves both the Eagles and the Dockers as front-runners to secure his services, if the Demons elect to entertain a deal this October.
The original price: Jesse Hogan was initially taken by the Demons with the second overall selection in the 2012 Mini Draft. Melbourne traded Pick 3 and Pick 14 (a mid-first-round compensation selection received for losing Tom Scully to GWS), to the Giants for the second selection in the Mini Draft, Pick 20 (an end-of first round compensation selection for Adelaide losing Phil Davis to GWS), and Dom Barry, a zone recruit. Essentially, Melbourne paid pick 3 and downgraded from 14 to 20 in the 2012 draft.
The Good: Hogan is the best key forward under 23 in the league. He’s powerful on the lead, an excellent mark and a solid set shot. He’s shouldered almost the entirety of the forward line work load for the Demons over the past two seasons, with very little other tall forward support. He’s a Rising Star Winner, has kicked 85 goals in his first 41 games at better than two per game and is a once-in-a-generation talent who has already shown enormous promise despite being at the start of his career. There are very few players that have come into the league that can do what Hogan can do at his age – with plenty of natural development and experience to come, Hogan’s graph is trending up.
The Bad: There are very few downsides to Hogan. He missed the entire of his debut year (2014) with a lower back injury, although that’s tempered somewhat by 20+ games in each of the past 2 years. His goal-kicking accuracy dropped in 2016, but he still booted 41.33 – a solid enough return.
What his club wants: In short, Melbourne wants to keep Jesse Hogan. But that may be beyond their abilities – this is no doubt an extremely delicate situation. Hogan is contracted until the end of 2017, but the media hype around his potential departure will only continue to intensify the longer he holds off on signing a new deal. It’s possible that Hogan is yet to make up his mind on his playing future, it’s possible that he’s holding firm to drive his price up. But the Demons would be seriously considering the fact that, if they are to lose him, there’s a chance he could be worth more right now than what they’ll get for him in 12 months if he decides to leave. His value right now is quantifiable – his value in 12 months could go through the roof on the back of a successful year, or could drop if he sustains a major injury. Either way, it’s uncertain. And one thing is for sure: if Jesse Hogan decides that he wants to leave the club at the end of 2017, the Demons will have significantly less bargaining power than if they open talks for a contracted player, which he is right now.
What he’s worth: The Herald Sun reported yesterday that “Hogan, 21, could command as much as $1.5 million a season over at least seven years on his next deal.” The price to pry him off the Demons would be commensurately high. You can’t just develop a Jesse Hogan. You either draft them high (he was effectively rated better than anyone else in the 2012 draft crop at the time Melbourne swooped), or you trade for them. But the demand far outweighs the supply for gun key forwards, and there are only a handful under 23 that have shown the sort of results at AFL level that Hogan has. He’s worth two first-round draft picks, both in the top 10 on average. This could translate to a high (top 5) selection and a lower (mid-late first round) selection, but he’s worth two on balance.
What we’d pay: Two top-10 draft selections
Possible trade scenarios:
Trade scenarios here are complicated further by the fact that neither Fremantle or West Coast made a first-round draft selection in 2015 (traded for Harley Bennell and Jack Redden respectively), and so they are unable to trade their next two first-round selections (2016 and 2017). This means that the stated price of two first-round selections has to be reverse engineered:
- Fremantle trade Pick 3, Pick 39 and their 2017 second-round selection to Melbourne for Jesse Hogan
- West Coast trade Pick 12, their 2017 second-round selection and Jack Darling to Melbourne for Jesse Hogan and their 2017 third-round selection.
The Verdict: It makes sense that Melbourne would try everything in their power to keep Jesse Hogan on their list, and as a result a trade this October would seriously shock. But if the Eagles and Dockers are serious about getting their man, and they would have to strongly consider that the first of them to present a satisfactory offer to Melbourne will ensure the other misses out, then now might be the time to strike, and force Melbourne’s hand. West Coast sending a replacement forward back in Jack Darling might just be something that they’d consider.
Star rating: 5/5
Jesse Hogan is the best player even being discussed right now; however unrealistic a move might be, he’s worth more than anyone else by a fair margin.