Things could hardly have turned out any worse for the Adelaide Crows and Kurt Tippett.
Photo: Getty Images
Their season may have ended with a shellacking against Fremantle in the first week of the finals, but the Cats look primed for another September tilt after topping up their list with some key inclusions. Geelong beat a number of Victorian clubs to win the services of highly rated Suns midfielder Josh Caddy, nabbed mature tall Hamish McIntosh to address their lack of ruck depth and still managed to hold onto pick 16 in the national draft (which will likely be used on a midfielder). Add to that another mature body in Melbourne free agent Jared Rivers and the Cats are looking solid for next season, with a mighty strong on-ball division brewing down at the Cattery.
Subverting expectations that they would splash cash on a big name like Kurt Tippett, the Giants instead set themselves up to pick the eyes out of the draft for the second time in as many seasons. By trading away mini-draft picks one and two the Giants were able to secure a one-two-three lockout of the best 18-year-old talent in the country, a clever ploy that the AFL apparently never saw coming. GWS, who also hold the rights to picks 12 and 13, will have an incredible 25 first-round picks on their list next season, leaving footy fans everywhere spitting chips at the prospect of GWS circa 2018. The Giants also snagged an experienced defender in Stephen Gilham on deadline day, a smart move that gifted the Hawks Northern Territory zone selection Jed Anderson and an exchange of picks.
The Suns didn't waste any time getting their trading underway, making the first deal of the period by securing highly-rated youngster Jack Martin in the GWS mini-draft. They gave up pick two and an end of round one compensation pick, and Martin can't play until 2014, but seeing as he is rated just as highly as expected No.1 draft pick Lachie Whitfield it seems a strong deal. Gold Coast also shored up its position for future drafts by getting the Gary Ablett compensation pick off Geelong after losing wantaway midfielder Josh Caddy. Picking up Fremantle's Greg Broughton for pick 37 was an absolute steal and they also got the better of St Kilda with a first-round selection (pick 13) for parting with reserve ruckman Tom Hickey.
Mark Neeld flagged that his club would be a major player in the off-season and the Demons didn't disappoint. They started with the coup of securing potential top-10 talent Jack Viney for pick 27, which allowed them to exchange picks three and 13 for 17-year-old key forward Jesse Hogan, Northern Territory zone selection Dom Barry and pick 20. Securing Collingwood forward Chris Dawes for pick 20 and a swap of later picks gives Mitch Clark some badly-needed help, while Geelong's Shannon Byrnes (free agent) and Port Adelaide's David Rodan (for pick 88) bolster the Demons' young list for minimal outlay. On the negative side, the departure of free agents Brent Moloney and Jared Rivers robs the Dees of experience and the outlay of Jordan Gysberts for Cameron Pedersen is a little baffling. Cale Morton and Stefan Martin were also traded away for picks, the former an odd swap that saw the Dees regain the selection given away for Rodan.
We're willing to bet that no Adelaide supporter in their wildest dreams thought it would go like this. Ever since Kurt Tippett declared he wanted out of West Lakes, the Crows had an absolute mare of a trading period. After a week or so of the Swans stonewalling with Jesse White and pick 23 it all fell apart for Adelaide, who were backed into a corner and forced to admit that not only did the rumoured "gentlemen's agreement" to trade Tippett for a second-round pick exist, but they also cheated the salary cap when they re-signed him in 2009. The league swiftly drew the curtains on any potential trade and the Crows lost their highest-paid player for nothing as the trade deadline passed. There is probably more pain to come too, with a fine and the loss of draft picks likely to be handed down if they are found guilty of cheating the salary cap.
Tippett fell out of favour with Adelaide fans when he opted against re-signing at West Lakes, and almost everyone else followed suit when the 25-year-old's homesickness was allayed by a mammoth offer from Sydney; so there has been a distinct air of schadenfreude as Tippett's career collapses around him. Not only did the key forward not get to Sydney via trade, he may not get there at all if the AFL punishes him for accepting $200,000 in illegal and undisclosed third-party payments. Tippett could be forced into the draft, in which case another club (Brisbane, GWS, Fremantle, Carlton) may swoop on him before Sydney gets their chance. Or the AFL could de-register him for 12 months. At the very minimum he will get fined, which will put a dent in that big offer he had all lined up. What a shame.
For a club that missed the finals and has a clear need in the forward line, the Blues were noticeably absent during the trade period. They attracted more attention for their misses than their hits, with plays for Kurt Tippett, Chris Dawes and free agents Travis Cloke and Quentin Lynch all failing to gain traction. Defender Jordan Russell walked to Collingwood and fellow free agent Paul Bower was delisted, and the Blues sat on the sidelines with picks 11, 36 and 56 in the draft. Given the lack of activity it would be safe to bet that new coach Mick Malthouse is almost as bullish on Carlton's premiership hopes as his predecessor, but considering their lack of a true key forward (assuming Levi Casboult is still a couple years away) the ex-Magpies coach could almost certainly have used a big name as a foil for Jarrad Waite.
The Saints, like a sad kid looking for a friend, begged and begged after Mitch Brown to no avail. St Kilda had their heart set on the West Coast defender for the entire trading period and still couldn't convince the stubborn Eagles to budge, not even for Jamie Cripps and pick 25. In the end the Saints couldn't get the deal done but still did the right thing by Cripps, sending him home to the Eagles along with pick 46 for a pair of second-rounders (a steal for West Coast, surely). The Saints also overpaid slightly for GWS pre-selection Tom Lee, giving up pick 12 in exchange for the Claremont forward and picks 24 and 43, and lost Brendon Goddard to Essendon in free agency. On the plus side, the Saints got Trent Dennis-Lane from the Swans for a song and landed prized Gold Coast ruckman Tom Hickey in exchange for their Goddard compensation pick.
It's not as though the Bulldogs didn't try to get involved in the trade period, but it seems that Brendan McCartney and co are struggling mightily to build some enthusiasm out at Whitten Oval. McCartney wanted desperately to land a key forward to sell some hope but couldn't get Chris Dawes or Scott Gumbleton to sign on. Meanwhile, the club agreed to cash in on Brian Lake while they could, sending the veteran defender and pick 27 to the Hawks in exchange for picks 21 and 41 – a trade that left a few fans grumbling. It's not all doom and gloom for the Dogs, who will pick up a couple of young prospects with picks five and six, plucked Koby Stevens from West Coast for a song and another long-term prospect in Pies defender Tom Young. Sadly for Bulldogs fans, none of these players will impact the club's on-field fortunes in a hurry.
Draft and trade features from the vault:
• Trades from hell: Top 10 disasters
• Trades from hell: Docker shockers
• Trades from hell: Past their prime
• Trades from hell: Bad boys
• Draft busts: Wasted trades
• Draft busts: First-round picks
• Draft busts: No.1 picks
• Draft busts: Pick No.6
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