Player name: Matthew Lobbe
Current club: Port Adelaide
Potential club: Matthew Lobbe resisted the Western Bulldogs’ overtures during last year’s trade period, opting to stay with the Power. This could see interest sparked again by the Dogs. Lobbe hails from Victoria, and with multiple clubs on the lookout for a ruckman, he is likely to have a horde of suitors. A move west should not be ruled out, with West Coast’s ruck depth issues well documented.
The original price: Lobbe was taken with Port Adelaide’s first pick in the 2007 National Draft, at pick 16 overall. In a draft pool filled with promising rucks, Lobbe was the third ruckman picked overall behind Matthew Kreuzer and Ben McEvoy.
The Good: Lobbe’s strength lies in rucking solo. When Paddy Ryder joined the Power in 2015, Lobbe’s influence in the ruck significantly dropped from the previous year. At 27, Lobbe has age on his side and potentially has five or more years left at AFL level – a significant amount for a club at any stage of their premiership window. As mentioned earlier, many clubs are in the hunt for a ruckman, and Lobbe’s experience will hold him in good stead here.
The Bad: His fall from grace has been rapid. Since his breakout year in 2014, Lobbe’s output has decreased over the past two seasons. Injuries blighted his 2016 campaign, however Lobbe’s 12 week knee injury was suffered in the SANFL – after he had fallen out of favour and was dropped. Whether he can regain this form is up for debate, and with the return of Paddy Ryder, it is no certainty that Lobbe will get this opportunity at the Power.
What his club wants: Port Adelaide could have received much more last season for Lobbe but rightfully held onto their big man. One year is a long time in football, and with the Power looking to be an active player in this year’s trade period, it seems like there is now no room at Alberton for their former number one big man. As such, Port Adelaide’s valuation of Lobbe is set to be significantly lower than last year. This doesn’t mean Port will settle for a low pick, with Lobbe still contracted at the club until the end of 2019.
What he’s worth: Suitors will drive a hard bargain, pointing to the fact that Ryder is back, and Lobbe fell out of favour in 2016. Lobbe’s contract status may complicate matters somewhat, but a late second round pick sent to the Power should get the job done.
What we’d pay: Pick 32-37
Possible trade scenarios:
- Western Bulldogs trade their second round selection (35 or 36) to Port Adelaide, the Power send Lobbe to the Dogs.
- West Coast send next year’s second round selection to the Power, Lobbe joins the Eagles in return.
The Verdict: Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and Port could have significantly improved their 2016 draft prospects had they traded Lobbe last year. With Ryder injured however, the Power did make the right decision, and would likely make the same decision if they had their time again. Having said that, Lobbe’s value has dropped substantially in the meantime, with a pick in the 30s a likely end result.
Star rating: 3.5/5 – Lobbe still does hold some value thanks to his experience and a pure need for rucks raises Lobbe’s worth in the open market.