Current Club: Sydney Swans
Potential Club: Richards preferred destination is not yet known, but big chance it’s a Melbourne-based club. Collingwood, Essendon, in fact anyone with a need for a versatile big man are in the running.
The Original Price: He came to the Swans as part of the 2013 Rookie Draft (pick 29). So he was effectively a free pick up.
The Good: Richards finally got his chance to show what he has to offer when he replaced his brother Ted this season. Got 10 games under his belt and proved valuable up forward, kicking 13 goals. He was very handy as a foil for Lance Franklin, taking the second or third best defender and providing enough of a match-up headache for opposition coaches. Has plenty of upside.
The Bad: Having played just 12 games in three years, there is a question about how far along his development path he is. We saw him play reasonably as a second or third forward, but how useful would he be when given the best defender. He is far from a power forward and is still slightly built considering he is already 23.
What His Club Wants: The club will want to get something reasonable out of any trade. They did give him a chance, and he was an important role player in their title for the premiership. There is no clear option to replace him in the Swans line-up.
What He’s Worth: Richards has that bit of x-factor in that he is untapped and when given his chance this year, did make the most of it. There are plenty of clubs who need a second or third tall forward option, and his request for the trade would have raised a eyebrows at a few clubs.
What We’d Pay: Late third round pick 47-51
Possible Trade Scenarios:
Collingwood trade pick 47 for Richards
Melbourne trade pick 48 for Richards
Essendon trade pick 41 for Richards and Swans pick 52
The Verdict: Although the Richards news came out of left field, the club has apparently been well aware of his intentions, with Swan’s General Manager of Football Tom Harley saying on Monday, “We’ve been in discussions with Xavier’s management through the back end of the year and to this point we haven’t been able to come to terms.
“We will work with Xavier and his management to find a mutually beneficial outcome.”
Harley’s response indicates Richards has already come to an agreement with another club, and the Swans are trying to eke as much value out of his possible destination club now after he played in a GF. If part of his wanting to switch clubs is to go home to Victoria after the retirement of his older brother, this seems the ideal time for both club and player to orchestrate a move.
Star Rating: 2.5/5