HPN will attack this AFL Trade Period in one post a day. Check back here as the day progresses to get our take on the day’s “action”.
North’s compensation picks do their job
Darcy Tucker and Griffin Logue are the next two Fremantle players after Blake Acres to find new homes as part of Fremantle’s reorienting their list to take account of newfound success. As discussed yesterday, the Dockers have found themselves needing to prioritise which players they invest salary cap space and list spots in, especially in areas where they have perhaps excessive depth.
Griffin Logue is a good example of this. Fremantle aren’t hurting for taller defenders and while Logue played 20 games this year, most of them weren’t down back. He was forced to spend a good chunk of it using his athleticism and size in a tall defensive forward type role in an underperforming forward line. He still finished 6th in the Doig Medal (Fremantle’s Best and Fairest), presumably impressing coaches with his application to the task. At the end of the day, Logue just isn’t currently required in his best position for the Dockers.
Similarly, Darcy Tucker has been on the edges of Freo’s midfield rotation for some time. As a junior Tucker was tabbed as a potential top five pick after making the U18 All Australian team as a bottom age player, before injuries saw him slide down the order in his draft year. Like Logue, he has been shifted around to fill roles as the Dockers have required, but he shows some promise as a depth midfielder or additional rebounding defender.
Both are in their mid-20s and will have seen the writing on the wall about their place relative to other established players and upcoming youngsters.
This move is vintage player market stuff, a mutually beneficial transaction built on differential valuations of the same kind of player due to contrasting list situations. Logue and Tucker are two “good enough” players who’ve been induced to go where they’re needed by the market, with an offer of better contract security and the likelihood of consistent game-time in their preferred roles. Both have flashed upside that the extra opportunities of a bottom two side might present.
For North, still at ground zero of a painful rebuild, the mid-20s age bracket and pure experience is much more valuable than to Freo, hence Logue’s five year deal and Tucker’s three. Fremantle reportedly tried hard to convince Logue to stay, but with the money, role, and tenure North could offer, that just was not happening.
When North Melbourne were given a draft assistant package consisting of two future picks they had to trade, it’s easy to assume this swap was already on the table with the AFL tailoring it to help smooth their passage. At least one of those future firsts could head to Melbourne as part of the Luke Jackson package, and then get moved again and again. Pick six of 2018 might just have a movement rival by the time the pick is finally taken next year.
The trade seems on paper to overvalue Tucker and Logue a little, relative to their recent output at Freo. Crucially of course, both players will play more regularly at North. Both Tucker and Logue should be expected to overperform these projections if North have done their homework. Additionally, the picks North are trading are extra assistance they can’t use themselves.
Verdict: Fair trade, especially considering it’s done with house money.
GWS pay a premium to move up this year’s draft order
For draft picks to have any value to a club, they need to actually be used. That factor explains why the Giants were seemingly happy to give up about twice as much draft pick value as they received in order to move six spots up the ladder.
Pick 21 was already GWS’ 4th pick this year, after 3, 12 and 19. They still have more players still due to be traded out and will likely get more picks back. They already hold five picks in the top 50 after this deal, and now have three in the top 20.
GWS can can also be seen as taking a bet on themselves relative to Collingwood, having swapped in the Pies’ future second and traded away their own. The main game for them though looks like picking as early as possible this year, so look for them to keep trying to move their hand up the draft order from here, potentially by more trades that are lopsided in on-paper pick value.
Brisbane, meanwhile, are playing a complicated game of their own. This trade in isolation is a win overall in pick value terms and the extra future pick helps their trade flexibility. The future pick went on to be immediately used in a further trade with the Suns, discussed below.
They have to manage the dual tasks of paying for a high profile trade in Josh Dunkley with picks that satisfy the Bulldogs, but they also need to prepare for a bid on Will Ashcroft as early as pick 1, and also Jaspa Fletcher sometime early on.
Verdict: Brisbane have the better of this one because GWS don’t value their later picks very highly this year.
A (Ben) Long way to the Suns
Born into a footy family, Ben Long has long flashed potential in his time at the Saints. Thrown around the park in his time at Moorabbin, Long’s best footy has probably come as a hybrid shutdown/rebound defender – a player who can win the ball and hurt the opposition on the rebound. He can play taller than his listed 183cm (although not really as a true KPD), and cover off smaller players as needed.
As the Saints have experimented with different defensive set ups over the year, Long’s name has floated in and out of the setup. Now he falls out of it for good as he moves up north to the Gold Coast.
The trade is largely a swap of Long for a pick, 32, which exceeds his future projection. Long, 25, may play a few years of decent footy, but a pick like 32 has a decent chance of also producing value. The Suns are placing a slight bet that Long can reproduce his best footy in longer stretches if he is given a bit more certainty about his role.
That future fourth, helping the Suns gain stock for mooted academy players next year, evens out the value to a reasonable extent.
Verdict: Fairly even trade with the late future pick balancing out the second rounder.
Tom Berry heads down the highway
Fanbases often get a bit excited when a team drafts the younger brother of an existing player – especially when it’s a good player. Call it a mini version of the Father-Son effect, or a way to save on the banner writing in the stands.
Tom Berry joined his older brother Jarrod at Brisbane in 2018, selected nineteen draft spots later. Originally tabbed as a defender after his junior days, Berry has slowly progressed up the ground as his career has progressed. This year in the VFL Berry mostly played through the middle, emulating his older brother on the level below.
The Suns see Berry moving even further up the ground, seeing him as a low cost pressure forward option – able to help the Suns trap the ball in the forward 50 and create forward entries. Berry’s attack on the ball has been solid, and he has spent a little bit of time in such a role.
This swap was was about draft positions for both parties, as well as helping the Suns nabbing a small forward to fill out their depth chart.
Gold Coast moves value into next year, and the Lions gain pick value this year, following on from the Giants pick trade discussed above. The most valuable pieces are the similar second rounders being swapped, with pick 25 pretty close to where the Giants might be expected to finish next year.
That leaves mostly the ten pick difference between 36 and 46 as the approximate valuation of Berry. With his low future projection, that’s quite reasonable.
Verdict: Pretty even. Berry himself is the least highly projecting part of this trade and the picks reflect that, though with such a low projection he just has to play senior games to exceed it.
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 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.