The first officially declared trade of the year sees a mature age draftee small forward move back to Perth.
Drafted out of the WAFL at age 22, Zac Langdon is a genuine pressure small forward. Langdon has rated inside the top 10 for tackles inside 50 per game in 2018 and 2020 – the only two years that he has gotten a clear run at senior footy.
Unfortunately for Langdon, he suffered a series of injuries in 2019 and missed the the Giants run to the GF. With a relatively tall set up employed by GWS, spots in the team for smaller forwards are harder to come by. It appears that Brent Daniels, Toby Greene and the use of extra midfielders essentially blocked Langdon’s path back into the team.
He helps to bolster the Eagles’ pressure forward stocks, an area that they have long struggled in. With Kennedy and Darling aging, the Eagles may be thinking about providing their powerhouse forwards as many opportunities as possible by trying to lock the ball up forward.
The potential Willie Rioli anti-doping violation suspension may also be influencing the Eagles thoughts – with Langdon a likely replacement.
HPN’s Salary Prediction Tool, which uses PAPLEY to predict what players should be worth based on output, illustrates the value equation for the Eagles. This is likely a downgrade on Rioli, but a cheaper one, with Langdon potentially earning a fairly minimal salary as a recent draftee at a cap-squeezed club.
Given Langdon’s injuries, selection issues and solid performances when he has played, it’s probably fair to guess that he is likely to perform to the top end of projections – especially if deployed in a favourable role.
Langdon has been traded for pick 54, the Eagles’ current second pick, and nearly the same selection with which he was drafted in 2017.
As a 24 year old, Langdon isn’t likely to improve much from here, but what he provides is clearly known to all parties, so clubs have a lot of certainty here.
GWS get back more draft value than Langdon was projecting to provide, West Coast add a homeward-bound pressure forward for probably not much in salary terms. If he can get regular senior football performing at his exposed current level, that will be be enough to make this a value trade for the Eagles
Verdict: Unbalanced trade on the projections, but low stakes all around.
Note: This post is part of a series of posts using a valuation method called Player Approximate Value (PAV) to evaluate trades for fairness and balance. Readers can explore these values with tools such as 5-year player value projection charts and a Salary Prediction tool as well as the HPN Trade Calculator to evaluate potential trades.
Elsewhere, read much more about the method and theory behind PAV. Expressing the value of players and picks in terms of expected future PAV provides a common currency for comparing them in trades and other movements. Players are projected using PAPLEY, a method to derive expected future PAVs.