Being at the fringes of a premiership team is a hard place to be. Sometimes when opportunity knocks, you have to answer.
Jack Higgins is a small forward/midfield type who has been in and out of Richmond’s side since his debut, and is moving to St Kilda to try and cement a best 22 spot in a good side.
The Saints aren’t lacking for small forward options themselves, having boosted their forward efficiency with a heavy use of high pressure smalls and short passes to leads.
Butler and Kent provided a strong combination of pressure and goal scoring. Despite Butler being billed as a defensive forward, he ended up leading St Kilda’s goalkicking.
While Higgins is far from a defensive non-entity, he’s likely to bring a more explosive pure small forward factor to a Saints team already set for forward 50 pressure. He can also, like the existing set of Saints smalls, provide second rotation midfield stints.
Higgins has previously stated that he wants to evolve into a Robbie Gray type of player, who splits his time in both parts of the ground. In limited midfield minutes at Richmond, he showed some promise. At St Kilda, he may get more opportunity to grow into this role.
It is easy to imagine a reshaped forward-line featuring the three of these smalls all working around Max King, Tim Membrey and Josh Battle, with reduced involvement from hybrid midfielders and purely defensive forward options.
This is also as good a time as any to relive Higgins’ extremely fun Goal of the Year from 2018.
HPN humbly submits to the public record that this Higgins’ goal was definitely a goal and not a throw.
When kicking, ball drops are allowed to travel upwards, which is why a player on the ground being tackled is allowed to throw the ball at their foot for a legal kick.
Higgins is young and he’s a good footballer and the trade has valued him at roughly a late second round pick.
He projects to provide plenty of value for quite a long time, if he can break into St Kilda’s best 22 and stay there. Although that’s not sure thing, the Saints presumably have a plan to fit him in and the fit looks simple enough.
Verdict: Slightly unfair trade in St Kilda’s favour.
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.