The Jake Melksham Problem

Jake Melksham’s Player Value – 1378 points

Essendon value in = 920 points (Pick 25).

Melbourne value in = 1378 points (Jake Melksham).

Verdict – Unfair trade (Melbourne gains 458 points of pick and player value, or 1.497 points back for every point given up).

Jake Melksham, from five years of form at AFL level, is a good football player. Perhaps even, as the late Jack Dyer would say, a good ordinary player. But the HPN Player Value formula and chart rates him as being worth something more than that. HPN nominally values Melksham around pick 7 or 8, which is the territory of very good and even great players.

Still only 24 years old, Melksham has racked up a number of games in not much time for a (mostly) pretty decent Essendon. But he’s yet to really show that extra level that separates the good from the great, and he may never do so.

If you asked most neutral footy fans what Melksham’s best skills were, most would struggle. Indeed, statistics indicate that he tends to do a little bit of everything, but not a lot of anything. This doesn’t make him a bad player – far from it – it just indicates that he hasn’t had to carry the load for his team in any area.

Two other similar types of player have been bandied around the traps during trade week so far, namely Jeremy Howe (1494 points) and Jack Watts (1549 points). Like Melksham, both are young, have played a lot of footy and can do the brilliant or the disastrous. And for all three, the biggest selling point may be “potential”. So perhaps HPN’s formula is overselling all three, but there is a reason that it is doing so – because players that young who play a lot of footy generally work it out and become very good players. Not all of the time, mind you, but enough to not worry over the math too much.

On paper Melbourne has won this trade, but footy isn’t played on paper, and reality dictates different results. Essendon, with an aging list and a brand new coach, are entering at least a mini-rebuild, if not a fully-fledged one. Melbourne, however, is seemingly desperate to end their cycle of relying on young draft picks to carry the load and the hope for their fan base. Melksham should be able to come in and play 20 games a year of decent to good football for them for the next seven or eight years, which would be a good result for the club.

HPN feels that this trade will probably work out for both teams, especially considering Melksham’s stated desire to move. However, both clubs may walk away from this trade thinking that they have fleeced the other side, given the chips in play.

Best/Worst players chosen at Pick 25


Daniel Chick (252 games), Nick Stevens (231 games), Jack Redden (129 games)


Callum Urch (8 games), Spencer White (2 games), Clinton Shaw (6 games)

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