Some players burst into the league showing tremendous potential from day dot.
When Nakia Cockatoo could get out on the field, his ability to break through and create shone.
There’s little doubt around the talent of Cockatoo, and what he can do on the field. If he was truly fit, he would have played for Geelong in their finals campaign.
Instead, the young talent from the NT hasn’t played at AFL level since April 2018. Constant hamstring and leg issues has hampered his ability to get back on the park. Given the depth and ambitions of Geelong, they can’t afford to give AFL games to a player to rehab at top level.
The talent is there, and the only question is whether the body is as well.
At 186cm with some good pace, he may be positioned to add size to the Lions’ midfield in the second rotation, and act as another forward/mid switching option to create chaos with opposition defences. Brisbane is quietly accumulating a lot of hybrid players who can force defenders up the ground and into contested ball situations.
He has obviously been well regarded by football recruiters in the past, and his 39 games have produced some appealing highlights. The trade here suggests he still is well rated.
Given Cockatoo has basically nothing in the way of exposed output to project him on, any trade is going to look strongly weighted in favour of the pick. The third rounder tied to Melbourne would probably have more chance of producing value for Geelong than Cockatoo did.
This deal hinges almost entirely on whether Cockatoo is over his injury issues. The trade represents a low cost for a chance at a player that transforms the looks that Brisbane can present on the field. Given they were relatively close to a Grand Final this year, Brisbane may only be a couple of pieces away from lifting silverware.
If fit, Cockatoo might be one of them.
Verdict: Seemingly unfair trade due to Cockatoo’s sheer lack of games in the last few years.
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.