Hope is conveyed to members of clubs in a number of ways. Sometimes it is a struggling side battling a bit harder against a top four team than they have any right to towards the end of a season. Or maybe it is multiple Rising Star nominations for the club’s young stock. It could even be a highlight worthy GIF or the hiring of a new coach.
Hope is everything as a football fan.
No team has been more invested in winning now during the 2019 AFL trade period than St Kilda. By almost completely trading out of this draft, and out of a chunk of the next one, the Saints have signalled that it is now or never for the club, a time for their stagnant five year plan to be kicked into warp speed.
Zak Jones, on his own, isn’t a sign of the turnaround. That’s not to say the linkman isn’t a good player – far from it. But Jones is a player just coming into his prime, proven at AFL level who has shown some ability in several roles around the ground. He’s the type of player that most sides could use in any best 22.
Despite his brother’s reputation, Zak has not really been deployed full time as an inside mid – only a couple of times in spot situations. Almost all of his disposals come uncontested, but occasionally his disposal by foot will let him down. With Hill also coming to the club, it’s likely that he will be relied on less in this role at St Kilda, and potentially tried more in the first and second layers of stoppages.
Jones has gone at a pretty fair price here, with one club looking to bolster their young stocks during the first steps of a mini-rebuild (Sydney) while the other tapers towards success now.
Immediately, Jones will contribute more next year than the trade picks that they gave up. Again – St Kilda have not made finals for nine years. Clearly, the Saints have signified that is enough.
Verdict: A relatively fair trade.
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.