Tuesday, November 12, 2013

4 Trading Blunders in the AFL

The AFL truly is a special kind of a game – it’s the best sport in the world to watch because it can be thrilling, intense and it’s tougher than any other ball sport in the world. It combines skill and strength, finesse and brawn and people of all shapes and sizes are suited to it.

But another of the great things about the game of football is in the way that it’s governed. If you look at the soccer in Europe (and all over the world), you could argue that the sport is governed completely by money. In the English Premier League for instance, the richest clubs are the most competitive clubs, and the small market teams really can’t compete. Superstars that establish themselves at small clubs are almost immediately lured to bigger clubs for bigger wages. The NBA and NFL are also dominated by what might be considered overtrading – each team is so very different season to season.
Footy, on the other hand, is a very even competition in comparison, and trades take place at an ideal frequency. We’ve certainly seen a number of questionable ones throughout the history of the game. Here are some of the more dubious decisions that footy clubs probably wish they could take back, many of which involve picks (which does blur the lines somewhat).

Brendan Fevola to Brisbane (2009)

Arguably one of the biggest trades of the last 5 or so years, Brisbane acquired Fevola and pick 27 in exchange for promising youngster Lachie Henderson and pick 12.  The Lions couldn’t resist the thought of having two of the then premier key position forwards in the competition. Unfortunately, this is one move that simply didn’t turn work out in the long term. A problem player with a string of off-field issues, Fevola went down with injury 11 rounds into the 2010 season, which was quite unfortunate. However, the offseason that followed was filled with indiscretions from the wayward forward, which ultimately took their toll on the Lions team and led to Fevola’s eventual sacking at the beginning of 2011. Meanwhile, Henderson has developed into a solid swing player for the Blue baggers and looks like he could kit up for many more matches.


Trent Croad/McFarlane to Fremantle (2001) 
This one’s is a little tricky because it involves a number of picks that were already highly touted and turned into exceptional players. As we’ve heard many times before, hindsight’s 20-20 but if there was one draft class the Dockers didn’t want to miss out on, it was this one. Freo had picks 1, 4, 20 and 36 in what could be described as the superdraft of the last 15 years. However, when Hawthorn offered a duo of versatile swingmen in Luke McPharlin and Trent Croad, the Dockers jumped at the chance, throwing in their pick 1, as well as their second and third round picks. While Croad only lasted in Freo for 2 years, McPharlin has had a long and prosperous career. But when you think of what could have been, you realise how good an opportunity the Dockers had. The first 3 picks of the draft were Luke Hodge, Luke Ball and Chris Judd, who have all been a part of premiership sides and have had fabulous careers. Further, Steve Johnson, Sam Mitchell Leigh Montagna wou ld have been up for grabs with Freo’s later picks. Meanwhile, they walked away with Graham Polak at pick 4, who retired after just 111 games.

Jason Mooney to Geelong (1998)

Another one of those poor-in-hindsight decisions that came about from a team’s need for a key position player. Geelong were after a big forward to replace Gary Ablett (always a tall task). They went for Jason Mooney, a middle of the road marking full forward – hardly worth a selection as early as pick 8. Mooney had a nice 33-goal season in his first year with the Cats, but was soon overcome buy injuries and retired 2 years later. With pick 8, Sydney got their hands on a future 325 gamer in Jude Bolton, who ended up recording the highest number of tackles of any player in the history of the game

Chris Groom to Fremantle (1994)

Another one of Fremantle’s biggest trading blunders was sending a young Andrew McLeod and the lesser know Matthew Collins to the Crows in exchange for injury-prone forward Chris Groom. Again, the Dockers and their fans will be imagining what could have been for many years. Groom played just 8 games in his sole year with the club, while McLeod went on to play 340 games, win 2 Norm Smith Medals and 5 All Australians and 3 Best and Fairest Medals for Adelaide.