The business end of the AFL Premiership Season is creeping up and with the AFL Trade Period to follow, The Inner Sanctum has taken a look at who has been your club’s best trade bargain over the past decade.
The trade: Lynch for Pick 37.
Years earlier, Tom Lynch was a first-round pick at St Kilda.
As the Saints were striving for a premiership, Lynch found his opportunities limited and the Crows, coming off a few barren seasons and a change in coach, switched Pick 37, which they had acquired for Ivan Maric, for him.
Lynch burst into the Crows side in 2013, highlighted by a bag of 10 goals against the GWS Giants.
He’d go on to become a vital link man between the Crows’ midfield and attack, with his football smarts often on display.
He was the Crows’ leading goal-kicker in 2013, won a Showdown Medal in 2016 and was a part of the side which finished as grand finalists in 2017.
More than 150 games and 190 goals later, Lynch remains one of the Crows’ masterstrokes at the trade table.
Other candidates: Josh Jenkins (2011)
The trade: 2011 QLD zone selection (Gold Coast) and Pick 47, traded to Brisbane Lions for Pick 34.
In a three-way deal, the Gold Coast Suns traded their academy zone selection to the Lions which proved to be the start of a long list of recruiting and list management failures from the expansion side.
Since making his debut in his first season at the club, Zorko has played 198 games for the Lions in a career that has claimed four best and fairest awards, claimed All Australian honours in 2017 before taking over as captain in 2018.
Zorko has even twice won the Lions leading goalkicker as a midfielder/half-forward.
Zorko has developed a reputation as one of the most durable, consistent and classy players across the competition.
Other candidates: Lincoln McCarthy (2018),
The trade: Carlton’s Second Round Pick (number 33 overall) for Docherty.
One of the famous ‘Go Home Five’ from the Brisbane Lions at the end of 2013, Docherty joined his boyhood club with the Blues giving up a second-round pick.
After making his debut for Carlton in Round 7, 2014, Docherty did not take a backward step, forging a reputation as one of the best young half-back flankers in the game – duly rewarded with maiden All-Australian honours in 2017.
After 13 games at the Lions, Docherty has now played over 100 games for the Blues, a milestone well earned and wanted for following successive seasons on the sidelines with repeated ACL injuries.
Having ascended to co-captaincy of the club in 2018, Docherty has proven to be one of the more valuable lower base trade acquisitions for Carlton in the last decade.
Other candidates: Liam Jones (2014), Nic Newman (2018).
The trade: Crisp, Picks 5 & 25 for Dayne Beams and Pick 67
In the deal to get Dayne Beams back to his hometown to spend time with his late father, Collingwood may have definitely had the better end of the bargain, after not only securing Crisp but using pick 5 to select Jordan De Goey in the draft.
Consistent for the Pies, Crisp holds the current longest streak of consecutive games played, with 155 games (correct at publishing).
Crisp is a constant ball-getter, averaging 27 disposals this year, with an average of 21 for his career.
His versatility to move across the midfield and the halfback line allows the Pies to select him for key matchups where he continually out battles his opponents.
Other candidates: Jamie Elliott (2011), Jordan Roughead (2018).
The trade: Nick Hind and pick 77 for picks 67 and 74.
After achieving just 21 games in two seasons at St Kilda, Nick Hind was out of contract at the end of 2020 and was looking elsewhere, especially after being dropped on the eve of finals.
Already, in his first season at Windy Hill, Hind has played all 16 games and is a huge reason as to why the Bombers are right in the mix for the top eight.
Averaging almost 23 disposals a game blitzes his previous season-best of 10.91 in 2019, only dipping below 20 disposals twice.
Hind’s work off of halfback has provided the Dons with plenty of damaging forays forward as he’s averaged almost four rebounds a game in 2021.
Impressively too is his ability to be a ball carrier, using his blistering speed to get out of trouble, often going on runs up the ground, with a couple of bounces in between including nine bounces against Hawthorn in Round 4.
Other candidates: Jake Stringer (2017), Adam Saad (2018).
The trade: Bradley Hill for Pick 23
In the 2013 grand final, Brad Hill took the field in Hawthorn’s colours, not knowing that in a few years time, he would be donning the purple worn by his opponents.
Three years later, the three-time premiership player was reunited with his brother Stephen in 2016 after requesting a trade back to Western Australia.
With quick, intense gut running on his side, the wingman was a welcome inclusion in the Fremantle midfield, which was already stacked with talent.
In his first year at the club, Hill beat out Nat Fyfe, Lachie Neale, and the ever-consistent David Mundy, to win the Doig medal off the back of a terrific season.
His expertise and brilliance was missed in 2018 as he spent time battling a knee injury. However, he quickly rebounded and played every game in 2019, re-establishing himself as one of the competition’s elite midfielders. He also finished third in the Doig Medal that year.
After three years of service for the Dockers, Hill sought a trade back to Victoria and was traded to St Kilda for picks 10 and 58, and Blake Acres who is becoming a mainstay in Fremantle’s young, but classy midfield.
Options: Joel Hamling (2016)
The trade: Gary Rohan for Pick 61.
After spending nine years at the Swans, forward Gary Rohan made the move to the Cattery after wanting to return home to Victoria.
With Geelong bowing out of the 2018 Finals series at the hands of Melbourne, the Cats were looking to add some more firepower up forward.
Rohan played in both the 2014 and 2016 Grand Final losses while at the Swans after missing out on the 2012 Grand Final win due to a leg injury. He appeared in the Cats’ 2020 Grand Final loss to the Tigers.
In 2021, Rohan has once again proven to be a great option up forward for the Cats, kicking 25 goals including a goal after the siren to give the Cats the win over the Western Bulldogs.
Other Candidates: Rhys Stanley (2014)
The trade: Greenwood for future Round 3 and future Round 4 picks.
At the end of 2019, the Adelaide Crows publicly stated that they were entering a full-scale rebuild.
Experienced campaigners such as Josh Jenkins, Sam Jacobs, Eddie Betts and Alex Keath and Greenwood were traded.
The big-bodied midfielder was recruited for his presence at stoppages and in the locker room, a vocal leader and magnetic personality on and off the field.
In 2020, Greenwood enjoyed a career-best season excelling as the Suns enforcer, protecting their younger midfield.
He averaged 17.8 disposals (up from 17.1), 6.9 tackles (up from 6.1) and was ranked first in tackles, sixth for clearances, fifth in contested possessions across the whole competition.
Greenwood has taken yet another leap in 2021 and is on track to play a second consecutive career-best season.
The Suns recruited a consistent top 10 tackler and clearance player, as well as a vocal leader for their young list and a bodyguard for their slight midfielders.
Other candidates: Jarrod Witts (2016)
The trade: Shane Mumford to GWS for a third round pick (35 at time of trade).
After Lance Franklin turned his back on the Giants in the 2013 offseason, choosing the Swans, GWS wasted no time securing the services of crosstown rival ruckman Shane Mumford.
Mumford was seen as expendable to the Swans even though he was part of their 2012 premiership side as they needed to open up salary space for Franklin.
Therefore, the Giants received a 27-year-old Mumford entering into his prime, with 100 games of senior experience under his belt.
Big Mummy had an instant impact at the developing Giants being named into their leadership group and winning the Giants’ Best & Fairest, the Kevin Sheedy Medal in his inaugural season in 2014.
Since then, Mumford has been an integral part of the Giants outfit where his size has proven difficult for many of the competition’s elite ruckmen to handle.
After GWS got knocked out of the finals in 2017, Mumford retired at the age of 31 and became the Giants ruck coach for 2018.
In 2019, he came out of retirement and played 20 games in the home and away season and all the Giants’ finals games including the 2019 Grand Final loss to Richmond.
Mumford has now played over 100 games for the Giants and has been one of their most loyal servants over the past seven years.
Other candidates: Steve Johnson (2015)
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The trade: Lake & Pick 27 for Picks 21 & 41.
Coming as somewhat of a surprise on the first day of the 2012 trade period, after being at the Western Bulldogs for 10 years, Lake made the switch to the Hawks.
Seen as the last piece of the Alastair Clarkson jigsaw puzzle, Lake played a pivotal role in the three successive premierships that Hawthorn won between 2013-2015.
In his first season at Waverley, Lake played 21 games as the Hawks made it to the Grand Final where they defeated Fremantle, and he would win the Norm Smith Medal.
Lake was the backline general for the Hawks as they went on an unbelievable run, winning three consecutive premierships as they dominated the competition.
In total, Brian Lake would go on to play 54 games in his three seasons with the Hawks, winning three premierships before retiring at the end of 2015.
A true bargain if there ever was one.
Other candidates: Jarman Impey (2017), Jack Scrimshaw (2018)
The trade: Vince for Pick 23.
Despite Vince having played 129 games in nine seasons for Adelaide, Melbourne secured his services at the end of 2013, pulling him away from a club where he still had a year to run on his contract.
While the 2009 Malcolm Blight Medal winner later revealed he was kept in the dark about his time at the Crows coming to an end and that the club would move him on a year later regardless, his time at the Demons saw his game go up a notch.
Giving up pick 23 for Vince – the Demons compensation draft selection they received from Colin Sylvia’s move to Fremantle -, it was the perfect opportunity for recruiting manager Jason Taylor to sway Vince over.
The new Demon spent five years at Melbourne for an even 100 games of a possible 109 in his time at the Dees, splitting his time between the midfield and half-back. His first three years at Melbourne yielded consecutive 24+ disposal average seasons and averaged over 21 possessions in 2017.
Vince won the Demons Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Medal in 2015, after finishing third in his debut year in the red and blue. In 2016, Vince was elevated to the Demons’ leadership group alongside five others. Even after his retirement in 2018, Vince remained loyal to the Demons, staying at the club in an off-field, part-time leadership and ambassadorial role.
Other Candidates: Jake Melksham (2015), Michael Hibberd (2016)
The Trade: Stephenson, Atu Bosenavulagi, Pick 39 for Picks 26 & 33 and a future fourth round draft pick.
When Collingwood was looking to offload some of its stars to have room in the salary cap, North Melbourne came knocking
After a massive player turnaround of its own, North Melbourne was looking to bring in players to be a part of the club’s future and next premiership surge and that’s exactly what they did.
Jaidyn Stephenson quickly became known as one of the future stars after an excellent first season at Collingwood, winning the NAB rising star and was a part of the Grand Final loss to the West Coast Eagles.
Stephenson has had an injury-interrupted season after missing a chunk through a fractured wrist, but his recent form has helped the Kangaroos pick up a few wins in the back half of the season.
His most recent game against the Eagles was one of his best while at the Kangaroos, finishing with one goal and 38 disposals.
Other Candidates: Aaron Hall (2019)
The trade: Ebert & Pick 45 for Picks 28 & 49.
Following a horror season that saw record back-to-back defeats at the hands of Collingwood and Hawthorn, Port needed to add to its list.
The Power had seen ‘retired’ pair Dean Brogan and Chad Cornes move to GWS, so it welcomed a famous name back through the door with Brad Ebert.
Ebert had been dropped by the West Coast Eagles in their failed finals campaign in 2011, and he’d go on to be a Port Adelaide champion.
Ebert would play 184 games for Port before retiring at the end of 2020 due to concussion issues.
Other candidates: Angus Monfries (2012), Aliir Aliir (2020)
The trade: Nankervis for Pick 46.
Richmond’s disaster 2016 season saw it miss finals for the first time since 2012.
On-field issues were compounded by an embarrassing 113-point loss to Sydney at the SCG in the final home and away game.
To address their lack of depth, Richmond went shopping during the 2016 trade, draft and free agency period, bringing in Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy and Jack Graham to boost their on-ball brigade.
Without a doubt, the biggest find of the period though was hard-hitting ruckman, Toby Nankervis. After managing only 12 games in three seasons at the Swans and losing his place in Sydney’s 2016 finals campaign, the big Tasmanian crossed to Punt Road.
Since the move, he has managed 81 games for the Tigers and played a vital role in their premiership success from 2017-2020.
More importantly, he has endeared himself to Richmond faithful with his hard-nosed, maximum effort style.
Other candidates: Jacob Townsend (2015)
The trade: Jack Steele for 2017 second round pick.
After the retirement of Lenny Hayes in 2014, the Saints were screaming out for their next contested beast in the midfield.
Jack Steven and Seb Ross were the Saints premier midfielders at the time but were unparalleled to the feats of Hayes. Enter Jack Steele.
The young inside mid played 17 games in his first two years at the Giants but struggled to play regular minutes in his preferred position.
The struggling Saints made Steele an offer he couldn’t refuse, a spot in the best 22 and the hope of growing with the young list.
In his first three years at the club, Steele built nicely, earning a spot in the AFLPA 22 under 22 squad in 2017 and 2018 and finishing third in the Trevor Barker Award in 2018 and 2019.
However, 2020 was the breakout year that solidified Steele as a trade bargain.
He finished third in the Brownlow medal, made the All-Australian team and won the Trevor Barker Award.
His stellar season also saw him land the captaincy for 2021.
Other candidates: Dan Butler (2019)
The trade: Tom Hickey, Picks 34 & 60 for Picks 58 & 62 and a future second and third round pick.
Sydney’s ruck department was in dire need of another ruckman, with Sam Naismith’s continued injury woes leaving Callum Sinclair as the Swans main, and at times, only ruck option.
It was another ex-Eagle who came to their aid, as four club veteran Tom Hickey joined the Sydney Swans.
He has not only become a key cog in the Swans line-up but is in the best form of his career at his fourth club, averaging career-best statistics in disposals, clearances, contested possessions, inside 50s and one-percenters.
Few would have imagined that Hickey would be as important as he has been for the Swans.
He may not have been the first choice, but he’s repaid the faith in spades so far, and the Swans are a much better side with him in it.
Other candidates: Callum Sinclair (2015) Mitch Morton (2011) Ryan Clarke (2018)
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The trade: Elliot Yeo for Pick 28.
After 27 games for the Brisbane Lions, a 19-year-old Elliot Yeo requested a trade to West Coast, wanting to return home to WA.
At this point, the Lions were scrambling to keep players on their list, with several players also considering leaving.
In his early days, Yeo often spent time as a utility, making the All Australian interchange in 2017. However, things changed in 2018 with the retirements of Matt Priddis and Sam Mitchell, Yeo now finally could answer his calling.
Off the back of a John Worsfold Medal-winning season, he finally moved to the midfield for good where he made a name for himself tagging some of the competition’s biggest names.
He also tasted flag success before winning another club best and fairest and continuing his excellent form into 2019 where he again made the All Australian bench.
Unfortunately, his career was temporarily halted in 2020 and 2021 as he battled osteitis pubis until round 11 this year.
Other candidates: Jamie Cripps (2012)
The Trade: Josh Bruce for Picks 32 and 51.
After a horror defeat at the hands of the Giants in the Elimination Final, the Dogs were looking to add an experienced key forward to their list that was able to help support young talls in Aaron Naughton and Josh Schache.
The move to the Bulldogs marked Bruce’s third AFL club after starting his career at GWS before moving to the Saints for the 2014 season.
He has kicked a career total of 222 goals across 144 games to date, including a ten-goal haul against the Kangaroos during the Good Friday clash earlier this season.
Bruce has been a valuable part of the Bulldogs rise up the ladder, kicking 40 for the season and well placed in the race for the Coleman medal.
Other candidates: Alex Keath (2019), Adam Treloar (2020)