One of St Kilda’s key secondary bits of business has fallen neatly into place in a swap seemingly tailored to Port Adelaide’s penchant for swapping around the draft order each year.
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.
Dougal Howard is a key defender or swingman from Wagga who perhaps didn’t quite fit into Port Adelaide’s future plans with the likes of Clurey and Jonas holding down the key defensive posts and Bonner and Burton seemingly locked in as mid-sized defenders. Up forward he also found the goals, but the fit around Marshall and Dixon, the resting ruck, potentially a returning Jack Watts, and resting midfielder targets like Grey, is also dicey.
While Port were initially reluctant to trade him under contract given his versatility and talent, they’ve relented and sent him to St Kilda where he still may present a selection dilemma. Does he slot in as a third key defender with Carlisle and Brown, or does he move into the forward line about to be vacated by Josh Bruce?
Paddy Ryder is another ruck on the move, but unlike some of the others probably moves into best 22 considerations for the short remainder of his career.
Ryder was clearly surpassed at Port Adelaide this year by Lycett and Ladhams, and being surplus to requirements and on presumably reasonable pay, but also good at rucking, he’s found a new home at the Saints.
With Rowan Marshall, Ryder could form an effective mobile ruck pair, both being useful enough up forward to justify not being solo rucks in their team. Even assuming Howard moves into the forward line part time or full time, with Bruce likely leaving and McCartin’s future uncertain, there should be room for Ryder to help reshape St Kilda’s attack in the short term.
Port have signed on to a pretty fair deal, upgrading their draft position both this year and next year via pick splitting, in a move that’s typical of their last few seasons. St Kilda get their structural pieces while retaining pick 10 for future trades.
The trade looks pretty fair, with St Kilda gaining slight overs and an immediate onfield boost. Having already gotten in Howard and Ryder, they still need to find a way to get Bradley Hill, Zak Jones and Dan Butler in from amongst their five nominated targets.
To make these trades, the Saints have probably enough resources but some conversion challenges ahead. They hold pick 10 and 72, their future second round pick and the likely trades of Jack Steven and Josh Bruce.
Verdict: Quite a fair trade given the number of moving pieces.