2023 AFL Trade Period Day 4 – Who’s left?

HPN will attack this AFL Trade Period in one post a day, either as a roundup or with progressive updates through the day.

With Thursday producing no movement on many of the players mooted to move, reporting has started to centre around difficult negotiations based on incompatible valuations.

This isn’t unusual.

The reason trade period notoriously packs most deals into the last day is simply that clubs hold back looking for the best combination of arrangements. It’s rare that clubs with multiple moving parts reach quick agreement with their counterparts, as occurred for the Swans and Kangaroos on Wednesday.

Instead, for the likes of Essendon, Port Adelaide and St Kilda, the next few days will see them try to find combinations of values that match their draft hands and satisfy negotiating partners. Other deals, often tangentially related, may also have to wait.

HPN has compiled its future projected PAV (known as PAPLEY) valuations for the players tabbed to move to see what might constitute a fair trade. Most of these won’t happen due to the specifics of talent assessment, bargaining power imbalances, different pick hands, and how clubs see this specific draft pool.

But it’s a starting point.

PlayerRecipient clubFuture PAV projectionEquivalent pickNearest held pick
Lachie SchultzCollingwood62.41619
Jade GreshamEssendon56.2209 or 30
Brandon Zerk-ThatcherPort Adelaide36.33840
Jacob KoschitzkeRichmond35.43928 or 49
Xavier DuursmaEssendon34.54130
Tyler BrockmanWest Coast32.54343
Liam HenrySt Kilda30.44634 or 55
Mabior CholHawthorn29.14832 or 53
Esava RatugoleaPort Adelaide22.95948
Paddy DowSt Kilda21.160+Any late pick
Elijah HollandsCarlton20.460+Any late pick
Shane McAdamMelbourne13.060+Any late pick
Elliott HimmelbergGWS11.860+Any late pick
Jack BillingsEssendon8.760+Any late pick
Jordon SweetPort Adelaide4.960+Any late pick
Tom FullartonMelbourne3.960+Any late pick
Nick CoffieldWestern Bulldogs2.660+Any late pick

One observation stands out here – there’s quite a few fringe talls who have little projected value based on little past performance who will probably be traded for more than this minimal value. Some of these talls in general stand to be traded for much more than history suggests is likely to be produced by many of these players.

A number of the talls on the table have either played little senior footy, such as Sweet and Himmelberg, or are difficult to pin to a position and face question marks over role, or may not necessarily be high level performers, such as Ratugolea.

Esava, for example, has already allegedly had an offer from Port of pick 24 rejected by Geelong. For a player who has struggled to nail down a best 22 position across his career even an early second rounder might be seen to be generous. This is a sign that the draft is thin past a certain point (somewhere in the teens) and that teams are desperate for key position players to fill roles, especially mobile talls.

The most valuable players in the remaining market appear to be Lachie Schultz and Jade Gresham, both well established players in their mid 20s with proven track records. For both HPN’s projections – based on their track records – suggest reliable output for a few years. Both probably justify a pick around the late first round mark.

The other reasonably valuable players are those with patches of great senior performance but less reliability. Zerk-Thatcher played every game this season in the improved Essendon defence, Koschitzke has been in the mix as a young tall in Hawthorn’s fluctuating setup, and Duursma often starred when he wasn’t injured. These three could all command trades well above their second round projections here, especially in a year where recruiters seem to agree fewer players will be drafted and the quality available in the second round is unusual scant.

Somewhat in this group of players with decent, but with less of a firm track record, are Liam Henry and Tyler Brockman. Henry has started to find his place on the outside for Freo without locking it in, while Brockman didn’t play a game last year due to injury but was solid in his third year at Hawthorn.

Regarding some specific trade situations:

  • The Adrian Dodoro-mooted straight swap of Zerk-Thatcher for Duursma doesn’t look a mile off base, but HPN suspects Duursma’s youth and substantially higher ceiling, despite multiple injury issues and poor form this year, will see him valued higher than a solid mid-aged defender.
  • Given Port Adelaide reportedly offered, and had rejected, pick 24 for Ratugolea, it’s fair to say the Cats don’t see his lack of high level output to date as a reason to devalue him.
  • Essendon currently want to get Gresham in free agency, but could presumably make a pre-season draft move for Gresham if forced. It’s therefore highly doubtful they will park with pick 9, but something like their 9 and 30 for Gresham and 13 would probably be somewhat fair.
  • Fremantle should end up with 19 for Schultz, and it’s around the right mark for a mid-20s player who should have been in the All Australian mix in a pretty narrow role.
  • The relative valuations of Chol and Koschitzke moving in and out of Hawthorn will be interesting to watch. Chol is three years older with less time remaining in his career but has probably the better track record.
  • The likes of Dow, Hollands, Billiings, McAdam and Fullarton all look to have minimal value and seem unlikely to cause difficulties, especially this year when nobody is planning on using that many draft picks past about 30 or 40 and may just swap token picks that don’t get used.

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 PAVExpressing 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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