23/04/2024

Bobby Hill has been traded to Collingwood for a future second-round pick and a third-round pick swap. (Image: AFL.com.au; Design: Will Cuckson)

The AFL Trade Period 2022 officially kicked off with Bobby Hill the first player on the move. GWS has sent Bobby Hill and pick 40 to Collingwood and will receive a future second-round pick and pick 43.

After being selected at pick 24 in the 2018 National Draft, Hill went on to play 41 games across his four seasons at the Giants. He started to cement his place in the side in 2021 and the beginning of this season before a bout of testicular cancer ruled him out after Round 11.

A dynamic small forward with breath-taking athleticism and a unique goal sense, Magpie fans will be hoping he can replicate his best work in Melbourne.

Hill can terrorise defences as good as anyone, as seen in his game against eventual premiers Richmond in Round 17 2019, where he racked up three goals and 15 disposals (both career-highs) to go along with seven score involvements.

New midfield role on the cards?

Collingwood General Manager of Football Graham Wright briefly explained the Pies’ plans for Hill on Monday, naming him as one of their key targets for this trade period as a small forward who can rotate through the midfield.

“We identified a need in our group and Bobby compliments what we already have in the forward/mid area of the ground,” Wright said.

“We feel he has the scope to play other positions and is committed to working on his game in all areas to get the most out of his career going forward.

“I am confident Bobby will add great value to our squad.”

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Adding a touch of intangibility to an already exciting forward line

Hill’s inclusion to the Collingwood side as a small forward is set to apply pressure on Jack Ginnivan and Jamie Elliott to continue their good form from 2022 into next season. His spot in the team would be closely contested with Trent Bianco and Beau McCreery if he’s expected to rotate through the midfield group as well.

Hill only managed 11 games for nine goals this season before his diagnosis. However, through 17 games in 2021, he averaged one goal assist per game- ranked seventh in the league for general forwards, to go with 3.9 score involvements and 13.4 pressure acts per game.

Not many players can do what Hill can when he turns it on. Paired with Elliott and Ginnivan, Collingwood look set to have an electric forward line.

How does he affect the midfield?

After being earmarked for stints in the midfield, it’s hard to see how he fits into a group that already features the likes of Taylor Adams, Jack Crisp, and Jordan De Goey.

With expected improvements from Nick Daicos and Finlay Macrae hoping to get a look in centre bounces as well, it’s set to be a tight squeeze for midfield time at the Pies in 2023.

Although a strong rotation of impactful forwards has become the way forward in recent years. Richmond has Dustin Martin and Shai Bolton, and Tom Papley was handed a five-year extension off the back of his midfield role that took Sydney to a Grand Final.

Expect to see Hill included in the midfield battle as a point of difference to break open a stale contest. With his ability to find extra time with the football, he’s going to make a massive difference to the usually contested side.

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