Something of an undeserved punchline after winning the notorious crapshoot that is the Rising Star Award ahead of Marcus Bontempelli, Lewis Taylor’s career has stalled at Brisbane. He is quite a small-bodied forwardish type who during 2019 fell comprehensively out of favour during the Lions’ ascent to the top 4.
Taylor shifted between a midfield role and a more forward-oriented role over the years, peaking at nearly a goal a game in the 2016 season where his disposal count was unsurprisingly at its lowest. Unfortunately for him, though, his 2019 form wasn’t great and he found himself kept out this season by the likes of Zorko, McLuggage, Rayner, Christensen, Berry, Robinson and McCarthy, from all of the various iterations of mid-forward and outside mid roles open to him.
Note: This article is part of a series using a valuation method called Player Approximate Value (PAV) to evaluate trades for fairness and balance. Elsewhere, you can read much more about the method and theory behind PAV. You can also read about PAPLEY, the projection method used to derive expected future PAVs, which has been revised for 2019.
Sydney will have gotten a good look at Lewis Taylor this season despite his lack of senior games, playing against them once at AFL level and three times at NEAFL level. They obviously liked what they saw enough to offer him a three year deal. At the Swans, he should find an easier best 22 to break into, and is likely being targeted as something of a direct replacement for Tom Papley should he leave.
Although a substantial downgrade on recent form, Taylor can provide run and attack in midfield as well as goal sense like Papley does. Even if Papley does not leave, Sydney’s developing outside midfield and mid-forward hybrid brigade could always use another body, after producing one of the worst seasons for clearance and inside 50 differentials in recent years.
The trade is exactly on the mark for Taylor’s recent output and HPN’s projection of his future value as a fringe best 22 player. Sydney acquired the pick used via a swap of two later ones with Carlton, which was a bit of a conversion loss for the Swans, but it involved their then 4th and 6th selections in the draft suggesting those picks were not likely to be used.
Verdict: Fair trade.