Callum Ah Chee is perhaps sneakily representative of the current Suns era, where players are leaving less due to being “wantaway” and fleeing the club and the state, and more moving due to just not fitting into the new list building strategy.
Ah Chee, originally from Western Australian, is not trying to leave Queensland for home. Instead, his departure looks like a much more conventional list management decision for a club with the young player resources the Suns are compiling.
The young West Aussie has not figured in the top fifteen Suns in PAV or mPAV terms since his debut season. The perceived potential remains subjective, and perhaps tied to his former number 8 draft pick status and the perception that some players do better once they leave the Suns. Subjectively, Ah Chee has always done some nice things on the field, but has struggled to string it all together.
Perhaps more importantly from the trade perspective, the Suns have plenty of similarly young, raw, and currently more promising talent, as well as the prospect of acquiring several more talented youngsters very soon, and there’s no real reason for them to persevere with Ah Chee in preference to other options.
Brisbane, on the other hand, have a healthy list which is currently contending. The Lions aren’t likely to collect great draft picks in the near future, and they probably have more scope to take a few punts on fringe prospects with bright upsides.
Ah Chee has managed 16, 14, 14 and 1 game since 2016, and the games he missed tended to come in short stints, a stuttering start to a career likely to hamper development. Under Dew he was at one point noted for a shift to defence after generally being a forward or midfielder in his early years, but injury stymied those plans.
His value proposition is thus questionable for several reasons. Even if the Lions can get him playing, he still needs to break into a good best 22, which is another threat to his long term prospects.
The trade sees Brisbane swap two future picks for a player who probably comes in as near-term depth until he can prove himself. Given Ah Chee’s spotty output leaves question marks about his future worth, the trade is an overpay, one that imputes some value from Ah Chee’s subjective potential and his former high pick status as much as anything. The Lions would need to get him fit and playing senior footy for him to live up to the value of the late second round pick they’ve given up here.
Verdict: Gold Coast win unless Ah Chee outperforms projections based on his career to date.
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.