The 2021 AFL trade period: day 2 and 3 recap

This year HPN will cover the trade and free agency period slightly differently than in past years. Key trades will be covered at ABC news at this link with rolling updates.

HPN will provide a recap of the each day’s action, with other breakdowns happening periodically.

Trade 2: Collingwood acquire Nathan Kreuger

Coverage at the ABC:

With a couple of years in a good AFL system under his belt — and at a cheap trade price — Kreuger would be appealing to a Magpies side focused on Nick Daicos at the national draft and thinking about results well into the future.

For their part, the Cats get to upgrade their fourth draft selection in an even draft.

Trade 3: Port get a Giant on the cheap

Coverage at the ABC:

Finlayson’s positional flexibility may enable the Power to cover super-sized opposition attacks, while still retaining firepower up forward.

At the cost of just a future third-round pick, it is a small cost to pay to fix a potentially big weakness.

Trade 4: Four club pick swap

For the first time in HPN’s history covering trades, a club managed to give away six individual things at once, forcing a re-jig of spreadsheets. The culprit was Adelaide, who as part of a deal to move their ample draft hand into next year, sent six picks to three other clubs in exchange for the premiers’ future first rounder.

~indicates the approximate future value of a pick based on 2021 ladder position.

Some of these picks likely changed hands for similar picks going back merely to fulfil AFL requirements that clubs participating in complex trades make exchanges rather than unilaterally sending picks away. That for example is why Melbourne gave 37 and 49 for the pretty similar 33 and 45.

In the overall balance, it’s the Crows who were sending value to Dogs and Saints. Adelaide took a hit in the conversion of these picks into that future first rounder, while the Dees got back roughly what they gave up.

The sliding game

The balance for St Kilda and the Bulldogs is quite tidy in terms of the PAV expectations of those picks, but they’re being used here to improve their ability to match tied players. For the Bulldogs the points gain is obvious and helps them pay for Sam Darcy. St Kilda’s apparently loss-making move takes some explaining.

The quirk of mathematics which occurs on draft night is that picks slide up the order when earlier picks are “consumed” by other bid matching. Thus, for picks of equal Draft Value Index (DVI) value, it is more valuable to clubs to hold those picks as multiple later selections, but it is even worth going into an apparent points-losing trade in the right year.

This year, early bid-matching for Daicos as well as for Sam Darcy will see Collingwood and the Bulldogs swapping as many as seven and three picks for one player respectively. That will remove at least six and up to ten selections from the order entirely, before the top 10 is even selected.

St Kilda gave up pick 49 (worth 287 DVI points) for picks 62 and 66 (123 and 80 points) which on paper is an 84 DVI point loss. But when those slide up six positions, they become pick 43 vs picks 56 and 60, a DVI value of 378 vs 340, a gap of just 38. If the Dogs and Pies consume eight selections, the gap becomes just 22 points. Still a gap, but there’s more sliding to come. The breakeven point is 11 picks and the Saints make a profit if 12 picks are struck off the list above their current pick 62.

Some clubs like the Suns or Brisbane will likely be passing before those new Saints picks come up, which will slide late selections up further. And several other likely bids – Collingwood’s Youseph Dib, GWS’ Josh Fahey, Port’s Jase Burgoyne, are all a solid chance to consume multiple selections before the Saints are called on to match anything (note that Next Generation Academy players aren’t eligible to be matched until pick 21, so the Saints have a ceiling of possible payment).

After the Daicos and Darcy selections, it will only take a couple more picks worth of sliding for the Saints two late picks to overtake the value of the single one they gave up.

Verdict: Nominally lopsided trade away from Adelaide in favour of St Kilda and the Bulldogs, who are working in a different currency anyway.

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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