Player Name: Ben Lennon
Current Club: Richmond
Potential Club: Lennon was heavily linked to Carlton at the end of 2015 before choosing to re-sign with the Tigers, so there’s an existing link between the two. Essendon is also rumoured to be interested in the former first-round pick, while his name has at least been mentioned in discussions with Gold Coast about Dion Prestia.
The Original Price: If you’re a Richmond fan, look away now. Lennon was taken at pick 12 in the 2013 National Draft, and was seen as arguably the most skilful player of that draft year. He was taken ahead of the likes of Patrick Cripps, Luke Dunstan, Blake Acres, Matt Crouch, Zach Merrett and Rory Lobb, who all would have been great fits for Richmond. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The Good: Lennon has showed signs of his skill while at the club, with his ball use outstanding on occasions. He is a great size, who can mark well and operate effectively at ground-level, making him a potential, constant threat. Lennon has some positional flexibility as well, having played off half-back, on the wing and in the forward line for both Richmond’s VFL team and AFL team over his three seasons at the club.
The Bad: Injuries have hurt Lennon’s ability to develop quickly and get regular game-time at senior level. He only played 11 games in 2016 (eight in the VFL, three in the AFL), and lacked the consistency in his game that would earn him games at AFL level. There have been constant questions about his work rate, and at times during games, he doesn’t work hard enough to offer his teammates support. That gut-running is crucial for someone playing as a flanker at either end, and something he needs to work on.
What his club wants: There’s no way the Tigers will be able to recoup their initial investment for Lennon, and for the sake of their whole trade period, they need to be easy and realistic. Ultimately, the club would be asking for an early-to-mid second round pick, which is what he was valued at last season. Lennon’s value, however, has likely depreciated after injuries and poor form hurt his 2016.
What he’s worth: The aforementioned depreciation in his value could be significant. While he has only been in the system for three seasons, clubs have nothing to really go by in terms of exposed form. His finish to 2015 was solid, but 12 months is too long ago. While he is contracted, if Lennon wants to leave, the Tigers have to trade him, and it will likely be for an early third-round pick.
What we’d pay: Pick 37-42
Possible Trade Scenarios:
- Essendon trades its third selection overall (Pick 37) to Richmond, Richmond sends Ben Lennon to Essendon.
- Carlton trades its third selection overall (Pick 41) to Richmond, Richmond sends Ben Lennon to Carlton.
The Verdict: If Lennon wants out, he should be traded. However, the same rumours circulated last season and he ended up re-signing with the club. This is a situation that should be left up to the player. Richmond would probably like to keep Lennon if all they get is a third-round pick in return, and if Lennon is prepared to fight for his spot in the team, his value should appreciate in 2017. If not, he’d fit in at one of the above clubs.
Star Rating: 3/5 – For a young, exciting talent, Lennon just hasn’t come on. He could be a value pick if he ends up moving clubs this trade period, however, and is one to watch for the future.