2023 AFL Trade Period Day 9 – the day of the mini mega trade

The four team trade for Dow and Coffield

Last year’s trade period saw a blockbuster four team MEGATRADE involving the first few picks of the draft and some big names who were very likely to play good senior footy every week changing hands.

This year, the penultimate day saw a more modest version of a four team trade take place. Still mega, just more mini mega. Four clubs sat down and reached minor but important goals in a notably balanced way.

Nick Coffield once looked like a very promising young intercepting defender after converting from a midfield type role, but two years playing no senior footy have left him well on the outer as St Kilda turned in a powerhouse defensive season without him in 2023.

Back around 2020 and 2021, Coffield’s intercepting and counter attacking instincts and ability to read the play earned him a lot of notice from footy analysts such as HPN. If you squinted, you could see the potential to be one of the best handful in that role in the league – dare we say AA adjacent. He was a top ten draft pick delivering on his potential for a team rising up the ladder.

That’s before the injuries hit.

An ACL tear saw him miss 2022 and he didn’t get into VFL footy until the last month of the 2023 season after a calf tear. Historically, players who miss two entire seasons of footy in a row struggle to make it back to what they once were. Quite often they never make it back at all. That means PAPLEY, tuned into past career performances of players, will struggle to project much future value.

If he gets back the combination intercept/rebound play he provides is a potentially perfect fit for the Bulldogs. ‘

In modern footy the extra couple of seconds required for an interceptor to cycle the ball out to a ball user can delay counter attacks and allow defences to blunt rebound surges. That means any combination player (think Blakey or Ballard) can save those seconds, enhancing rebound potency. The Bulldogs weren’t a great transition team through much of 2023, sitting bottom third for scores per defensive half rebound, so the upside Coffield brings could be very handy.

If he gets on the park. That’s a big if, but if he does he is almost certain to outperform this projection. The Saints’ stellar 2023 defence rendered Coffield somewhat surplus to requirements, but the potential for the 23 year old remains there.

There’s also another top ten pick moving clubs in this trade – a much higher profile one as well. Instead of injury, it has largely been opportunity that has been the limiter for the second player involved.

Paddy Dow has been kept from senior footy by the sheer depth of Carlton’s surging midfield. The protypical pack bursting inside midfielder, his inability to get games dampened his output, as he sat behind the core Carlton on-ball crew of Walsh, Cerra, Cripps, Hewett and Kennedy. Dow played 10 games in 2023, all with at least one of those five players missing.

Dow has largely been able to find the ball effectively when positioned on the inside at both AFL and VFL levels, but has often been forced out of position at the top level or into the role of sub. There’s some questions about his off-ball work and positioning, but that’s harder to clearly analyze without a clear and consistent run in his best role.

As St Kilda look to renovate their midfield, they likely see Dow as a more central part of their mix. At worst it’s a cheap flyer on a talent recently rated as being top end.

The balance of the trade is fairly even all around, noting the reasons for the very low Coffield valuation and lowish Dow value.


  • The Dogs get Coffield for the cost of about 50 AFL bid matching points, equivalent of pick 67
  • St Kilda get Dow by shedding Coffield and their fourth selection in the current draft, in the mid 50s
  • Carlton lose Dow and upgrade their third and fourth round draft picks next year in anticipation of matching bids for twins Ben and Lucas Camporeale next year
  • Essendon turn two third round picks into pick 35

The details shake out like this:

Everyone comes out pretty evenly on paper, even though either of Dow or Coffield (or both) of them could hugely outperform the depressed valuations of them here. Given the depth of this draft (and potentially next year’s crop), that might be a fair bet to take.

Verdict: Remarkably fair trade.

Shane McAdam becomes a Demon

Shane McAdam played 50 games in five seasons at the Crows since being picked up as a mature age recruit in 2018, and now slides over to the Demons to help solve their forward line puzzle.

McAdam is talented and dynamic, generally averaging over 1.5 goals per game per season. His pressure work came along during his Crows stint, and he generally looks composed with ball in hand. However, Adelaide has a rich list of talented forwards, and it’s very possible that McAdam would have been out of their best choice forward set up next year.

There’s also a slight question mark is his ability to stay on the park after some injury interruptions. McAdam has played 37 of a possible 67 games in the last three seasons, along with 13 SANFL games. That indicates to some availability concerns.

McAdam should open up some more options for structuring the Melbourne forward line, perhaps reducing the need to find key position players by adding to the stock of effective smaller options. With an eye to Collingwood or Adelaide’s mix of small and mobile hybrid forwards, the Demons may be eyeing the combination of Fritsch, Pickett and McAdam to stretch opposition defences more effectively, and make life easier for whichever talls play out of Van Rooyen, Brown, Smith, McDonald and Petty.

With Jake Melksham being out for most or all of next season (or perhaps even leaving the club), McAdam shapes as a potential direct replacement.

The pick is respectful of McAdam’s upside, a late future second rounder equating to perhaps four of his best season’s output. The asterisk on his missed game time mean he could either produce that value faster with a clear run, or drop away completely if he can’t stay fit.

There’s also the real chance that he fits in behind options such as Charlie Spargo, Kysaiah Pickett, Alex Neal-Bullen and Kade Chandler, and can’t force his way into the team. For a Demons side with significant attacking issues yet so close to a flag, getting extra options in to try things out is probably a worth the gamble.

Verdict: Weighted towards Adelaide unless McAdam’s durability increases.

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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