The 2021 AFL trade period: day 1 recap

This year HPN will cover the trade and free agency period slightly differently than in past years. HPN will provide a recap of the each day’s action, with other breakdowns happening periodically. There might be more work elsewhere as well.

Trade 1: Collingwood and Gold Coast pick swap

It’s always fun to see when the needs of two different clubs match smoothly.

The ever building Gold Coast had a lot of draft picks heading into the trade period, with six in the first 60 selections. These picks include two high picks, namely picks 3 and 19. However, the Suns were going to struggle to use those picks thanks to expiring list size concessions and a glut of contracted players. 

This made them the ideal partner for Collingwood, who had a severe lack of picks after giving up their first round selection to the Giants last year, and required draft currency to pay for father-son nominee Nick Daicos. North Melbourne are expected to seriously consider bidding on Daicos at pick one.

Collingwood therefore swapped out every tradeable pick next year for a roughly equivalent suite of choices this year.

Italics refers to 2022 draft selections, projected out on 2021 ladder positions.

The balance of the picks changing hands favours the Pies modestly in terms of the expected future value of those picks if used live at the draft, but the Pies of course will not be using them for separate players.

In terms of paying for Nick Daicos, the swap does its job. They can now pay to match a bid for Daicos at Pick 1 if needs be. They’ve gained about 1350 AFL Draft Value Index points, the equivalent of pick 10, and with a 20% discount on bid-matching in the first round, the Pies effectively get the value of a Pick 6 or 7. While clubs can only take a usable number of picks into the draft, they have built considerable flexibility into their list.

That “free pick 6” comes at the expense of picks that could be around 20, 38 and 56 next year, if the lowly Pies finish 17th again.

For Gold Coast, netting a club’s second, third and fourth round picks next year is pretty good business when the picks given up included some with an effective value of nearly zero in 2020. The Gold Coast list is at bursting, and they appear to be settled on the minimum number of list changes. Instead of passing a pick in, the Suns pay a small price to convert it to a time where they may use the choice.

It may also be a sign of how a couple of clubs have rated the 2021 draft crop.

Verdict: Fair trade. The pick swap suits both team’s purposes nicely. Collingwood notionally gain a bit more pick value back.

Note: This article uses a valuation method called Player Approximate Value (PAV) to evaluate trades for fairness and balance. Interested readers can read much more about the method and theory behind PAV at 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.

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