AFL Free Agency Grades

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Hawthorn: B

IN
Players: Ben McEvoy
Picks: Second, Fourth Round

OUT
Players: Lance Franklin, Shane Savage,
Picks: First Round, First Round Free Agency Pick

Nothing too special from the premiers, and why would they need to? Sure Lance Franklin has left, but they planned a whole season’s work on the fact that he was leaving. Getting Ben McEvoy is a pretty big move for them, bolstering their ruckman stocks with Jared Roughead moving down forward for good with the departure of Buddy. It will be interesting to see who takes the number one ruck role at the Hawks now, but we may see something similar to what the Swans did this year with Mumford and Pyke.

Savage leaving isn’t a great loss to the Hawks, with the young midfielder struggling to break into the elite group. He was on the verge of breaking through after starting as the sub in a losing grand final team, but unlike the Swans’ sub Luke Parker, didn’t really take his game to the next level. He should slot nicely into the St Kilda midfield

Fremantle: A-

IN
Players: Colin Sylvia, Scott Gumbleton
Picks: Fourth Round

OUT
Players: Viv Michie
Picks: Third Round

Signing Sylvia and Gumbleton is a big win for the Dockers, and may just be what they need to take that extra step in 2014. Starting with Gumbleton first, the Freo forward line now looks much more solid. Instead of Pavlich and a resting ruckman as the talls, Gumbleton now offers the Freo midfield something else to look at going forward. Considering Pav is on the verge of retirement, signing the 25 year old is a great long term investment. Much of the talk about Fremantle is about whether or not they have the capacity to kick a winning score against a powerful attacking team like Hawthorn. The addition of Gumbleton will surely give them much more potency in the front 50.

Colin Sylvia is a bit of an unknown really. He has never played with a decent club or coach, so who knows what he will bring? What we do know is he slots right into the tough and contested ball game style that Ross Lyon asks of his players, so look for Sylvia to really step up next year

Geelong: C

IN
Picks: Third, Fourth, 2 x Fifth Round

OUT
Players:  Trent West, Paul Chapman, Josh Hunt, James Podsiadly

Nothing much out of Geelong this trade period in terms of recruitment, as most of their focus was finding a suitable trade option for some aging stars. It was a shame they had to say goodbye to the likes of Chappy and the Pods, but they had to be moved on if the Cats were going to start a small rebuild. In a mould similar to the Sydney style, they’ll try to avoid a fall from their lofty standards and manage a rebuild while still staying in the top eight.

Sydney: A+

IN
Players: Lance Franklin
Picks: Second, 2 x Third Round

OUT
Players: Andrejs Everitt, Jesse White, Shane Mumford

The Swans get the A+ based purely on the fact that signing Lance Franklin could have been the biggest signing in AFL history. Tipped to go to the Giants, the Swans somehow came in and got the biggest name on the market for the second year in a row. We won’t go into details about Buddy fitting into the forward line, but with two heavyweight key targets, the Swans are almost going to be impossible to match up on.

To make room for Buddy, the Swans had to turf off a few big names, and none bigger than Shane Mumford. The emergence of Mike Pyke has allowed for this, so he’ll go to number one ruck with Tippett as the backup. Unfortunate for Jesse White to go, but again, he just couldn’t fit into the forward line as it stands with Buddy. For Everitt, a strange career with the Swans comes to an end. Always in and out of the side based on who was fit, but he can have a big role at the Blues in 2014.

Port Adelaide: C

IN
Players: Matt White, Jared Polec
Picks: Second, Third Round

OUT
Picks: First, Second Round

No real action from Port Adelaide, but bringing in Matt White and Jared Polec adds further depth to their already impressive midfield. A luxury that few teams have, with around eight or so solid bodies who can run through the midfield, the high intensity and power running midfield that Port will bring to the 2014 will be something to look out for.

Carlton: A

IN
Players: Dale Thomas, Andrejs Everitt, Sam Docherty,
Picks: Second Round

OUT
Players: Eddie Betts, Shaun Hampson
Picks: 2 x Second Round

A big trading period for the Blues, with big names in, and big names out. Securing Dale Thomas is one of the biggest signings and may be the boost the Carlton midfield needs. Struggling to implement Mick Malthouse’s game style in 2013, the midfield at the Blues will learn a lot from Thomas and how to fully implement Mick’s plan for a full four quarters. Grabbing Andrejs Everitt in the last minutes of trade period is a massive boost for the Blues, and may turn out to be one of their more valuable pickups. He’ll be able to play anywhere on the ground, filling in for what Jarrad Waite did for a lot of the year in a swingman role. The ability to play as a tall defender, coupled with some decent pace may see him play a bit on the wing, and even push forward at times. One thing is for sure, he’ll get a start every week at the Blues. Sam Docherty is another valuable pickup, and obviously fits the Malthouse criteria as this was a long sort after trade for the entirety of the three weeks.

Richmond: B

IN
Players: Shaun Hampson

OUT
Players: Matt White
Picks: Second Round

Like Port Adelaide a bit over the trade period, they decided not to break the run they have going at the moment. The only exception was to add Shaun Hampson to boost their ruck stocks. As a backup for Ivan Maric, a quality ruckman like Hampson will be crucial to ensuring the Richmond midfield gets first use of the ball for the majority of the match.

Resigning Dustin Martin was a crucial part of their off season, and while it looked unlikely for a couple of days there, they got their man. Expect the Tigers to push for top four next year with this impressive young team getting another preseason under their belts.

Collingwood: B+

IN
Players: Patrick Karnezis, Taylor Adams, Jesse White
Picks: First, Third Round

OUT
Players: Dale Thomas, Jackson Paine, Heath Shaw
Picks: First, Second, Third Round

A very aggressive trade period for Collingwood, and it was well overdue. Seemingly stagnant for much of the season, some new blood was needed, and they definitely got that. Karnezis, Adams and White are all massively talented AFL players and will inject new life into a team that desperately needed it. On top of that, they secured the 6th overall draft pick from West Coast, ensuring they grab an elite rookie who will most likely slot straight into their side.

The effect of losing Dale Thomas and Heath Shaw won’t be known until the start of the year, but the Pies have enough strength around the ground to cover losing two quality players. With Shaw’s discipline issues leaving the club with him, expect a massive culture shift at the Pies, which will ultimately see them playing better team football.

Essendon: C+

IN
Players: Kurt Aylett, Paul Chapman, Shaun Edwards
Picks: Second, Third Round

OUT
Players: Stewart Crameri, Scott Gumbleton
Picks: Fifth Round

Signing Paul Chapman to a 2-year contract somewhat deals with the short-term pain that losing 2 time leading goalkicker Crameri does to the side, however his departure does expose how thin their forward stocks are. Expect Chappy to contribute 20-30 goals and be a strong performer, but doubt always will linger over the veterans’ injury concerns. The loss of Gumbleton is easier to swallow considering his constant unavailability, however one wonders whether a fit Gumby was the missing ingredient for the Bombers over the last few years.

North Melbourne: B+

IN
Players: Nick Dal Santo
Picks: Fifth Round

OUT
Players: Luke Delaney

Already possessing a list full of young talent, the Roos determined a requirement for another top-end midfielder, being successful in luring the silky-smooth Dal Santo to Arden Street. His signing is a massive coup that should add to their half back line and already impressive engine-room stocks. The improvements by Grima and Thompson meant that Delaney was an expendable commodity, however an injury to either of the two key defenders could expose a lack of back-up key defensive depth. Dal Santo should enjoy more freedom and support to escape a strong tag at the Roos, helping them reach the finals and even possibly pushing for a top 4 spot in 2014.

Adelaide: C

IN
Players: Eddie Betts, James Podsiadly
Picks: Second Round Compensation Pick (Melbourne)

OUT
Players: Bernie Vince
Picks: Fourth Round

Last year the injury to Taylor Walker exposed a lack of goalscoring options at the Crows, resulting in Dangerfield logging heavy minutes as a key forward. Reacting to their poor season in front of goals resulted in the Crows delisting Ian Callinan and signing established goalscorers Betts and Podsiadly. These large contracts may prove to be a problem in the salary cap when the likes of Sloane, Crouch and Talia are due for a bigger payday. The loss of Vince shouldn’t affect the team too much, provided that some of their midfield guns are ready to take on a bigger role. Betts should provide a couple of years of solid service as a crumbing forward, however his best years appear to already be behind him after taking a step back in 2013. J-Pod is there to ease pressure of the likes of Walker and Jenkins and should serve his role, provided he stays healthy. Time will tell whether these moves pay off, as the Crows are desperate to show that 2012 was no joke.

Brisbane: D-

IN
Players: Jackson Paine, Trent West
Picks: 3 x Second, 2 x Third Round

OUT
Players: Sam Docherty, Elliot Yeo, Billy Longer, Jared Polec, Patrick Karnezis,
Picks: 2 x Second, 3 x Third Round

Brisbane was the big loser in the trade period, without really having done anything wrong. New coach Justin Leppitsch was faced with the ‘homesickness’ of 5 draftees who all wanted out of the club, forcing Brisbane to negotiate up to the last few minutes of the draft to get their wishes granted. Five draft picks between picks 22 and 34 was their gain for the players, with their losses far outweighing the players’ worth. One thinks how much the departure of Michael Voss impacted these kids’ decisions to return home, as it was well known that he was a great developmental leader and well-liked amongst the playing group. The transfers of Paine and West are not particularly inspiring either, however arguably the best addition to the Lions this offseason has been the return of Leigh Matthews to the club.

West Coast: B

IN
Players: Xavier Ellis, Elliot Yeo
Picks: First, Second, 2 x Third Round

OUT
Picks: First, Second, Third Round, Third Round Compensation

Elliot Yeo is a strong pickup from the Lions, whilst Xavier Ellis’ signing proves to be an intriguing one that looks to be a low risk-high reward, type signing. If he can remain fit, Ellis will slot straight into the Eagles lineup with his impressive skill set, however that certainly is a big if. Going from pick 6 to 11 was not believed to be a major loss by the Eagles decision makers, so it will be interesting to see who is picked in that range.

Gold Coast: C

IN
Picks: 2014 Magpies Compensation (old Josh Fraser trade)

OUT
Picks: Third Round

Not much movement from the Suns this trade period as they have already assembled a young squad full of talent, believing that 2014 is the key year for their improvement.

Bulldogs: B

IN
Players: Stewart Crameri, Sam Darley

OUT
Picks: Second, Fifth Round

The Bulldogs got their man in Crameri, who fills arguably the biggest hole in football, being a goal scoring threat at the Bulldogs. If he can average 2 goals a game, the club will have done its job. Sam Darley is a nice addition to their backline, who showed plenty of promise in his games at GWS. Overall the Dogs have done nicely, causing a splash in the trade period for the first time since the acquisition of Barry Hall.

St Kilda: A-

IN
Players: Luke Delaney, Billy Longer, Shane Savage, Josh Bruce
Picks: 2 x First Round

OUT
Players: Nick Dal Santo, Ben McEvoy
Picks: 2 x Second, 2 x Third, Fourth Fifth Round

St.Kilda went all-out in the trade period, publicly stating their desire for 3 top 20 picks, whilst trade rumours swirled about seemingly every senior player on the list. Luke Delaney will slot straight into the starting 22, whilst Josh Bruce should serve as a solid back-up key defender for the next few years. The steal of Billy Longer from the Lions makes the Shane Savage-Ben McEvoy swap even more favourable, however much is now being banked on the development of the raw Tom Hickey. Hats off to the Saints for their bold moves, however their much maligned drafting success will now be under further scrutiny to select some key pieces to help the rebuild currently underway. Losing the classy Dal Santo whose desire was to remain a one-club player was a huge decision to make by the team management, so let’s hope they make the right decisions on draft day.

Melbourne: C

IN
Players: Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince, Viv Michie
Picks: First Round

OUT
Players: Colin Sylvia
Picks: First, 2 x Second, Fourth, Fifth Round

In a desperation motivated move to add established midfielders, the Dees in a head-scratching decision traded away pick #2 and two other top 25 draft picks. Despite the big wraps on him, Dom Tyson will join the list of Melbourne youngsters playing with a massive weight on their shoulders, as he looks to prove he was worth the trade. Bernie Vince is a good pickup and the loss of Colin Sylvia will be easier than expected, as his late-season form suggests. Much trust was placed in Roos’ decision to trade for Tyson and a good player is needed to be selected with pick #9 for Melbourne to seem like they’ve accomplished anything significant from this trade period.

GWS: A+

IN
Players: Shane Mumford, Heath Shaw, Josh Hunt, Jed Lamb
Picks: 2 x First, 2 x Second, Third, 2 x Fifth Round

OUT
Players: Dom Tyson, Taylor Adams, Kurt Aylett, Shaun Edwards, Josh Bruce, Sam Darley
Picks: First, 2 x Second, Third, Fifth Round

An excellent trade period for the Giants, signing premiership players Mumford, Shaw and Hunt who will help fill gaping holes in their ruck and down back. Poaching Jed Lamb from their rivals was another great move, as he showed great versatility whenever given a chance for the Swans. If the first two picks in this year’s draft prove to be stars, and rightly should be; the Giants list will be much more stronger than ever anticipated and should challenge for years to come.

 

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Religiously tennis - senior coach at Canberra School of Tennis, playing and watching. Sydney Swans nut and fan of the five day game.

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