A Brownlow medalist, a newly crowned Best and Fairest winner and last year’s No. 1 draft pick all switched clubs in a hectic AFL trading period.
Last season’s top pick Jason Horne-Francis moved back to South Australia, star rucks Luke Jackson and Brodie Grundy also found new clubs, while recently dominant teams Geelong and Richmond only grew stronger.
The Daily Mail Australia assesses how all clubs have fared during the trading period, analyzing all the key trades from the league’s busiest weeks of the year.
in the: Isaac Rankine.
out: Billy Frampton.
Massive coup for the Crows. Rankine, an Adelaide native and the 2018 AFL Draft pick 3, comes off the Suns for pick 5 and an exchange of future picks. The exciting little keeper will belatedly fill Eddie Betts’ boots and joins the greats Taylor Walker, Riley Thilthorpe and Darcy Fogarty in a strong Crows forward line. Rankine has had the best season of his career as he began to show off his generational talent. His sense of purpose and skill is outstanding and being back home in Adelaide with his family will no doubt help his development as well.
Crows list manager Justin Reid revealed the seeds of the trade started back in June when Rankine played for Gold Coast against Port at the Adelaide Oval in front of a large group of family and friends. “A bit of a lightbulb moment was when he played Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval and had his family in the dressing rooms. That really opened the door for us. Once that happened, things moved pretty quickly,” he said.
The Crows will get a future pick for the adaptable big Frampton, who fell out of favor with coach Matthew Nicks in the second half of the season. Affordable trading as Adelaide has plenty of depth with major utilities.
in the: Jack Gunston and Josh Dunkley.
out: Daniel McStay and Tom Berry.
Did the Lions just pave the way from perennial finalists to firsts? The Dunkley deal ended by deadline but was finally closed when the Bulldogs blinked and accepted only a first-round draft pick and a multitude of future selections. Dunkley wins fresh from being the best and fairest in a largely defensive midfield role. A strong midfielder is just what the Lions need to complement their aces in smaller midfielders Lachie Neale and Hugh McCluggage.
‘Watching the Lions through the Finals I found them really impressive and I feel like I can add to that and bring my own Finals experience to bear. I want to be someone who can stand up in big moments and in big games, so I’ll try to do that to help the Lions take that next step,” Dunkley said after securing the move north.
The Lions’ forwards were poor in the 71-point win over Geelong in the group stage final – and the arrival of three-time Prime Minister Hawk Jack Gunston brings nous, versatility and leadership to a forward line that is electric at best but completely gone at worst. The 30-year-old is still playing at a consistently high level, backed by 17 goals in the last five games. They didn’t give up much to get a proven player who could be the last piece of the Premiership puzzle. He essentially makes up for Dan McStay’s loss to Collingwood.
“He (Gunston) is 30 and has three flags and we don’t have too many people in our side who have played in Premierships so it’s always good to get that experience. Also to help our younger forwards it’s a good buy for us,” said Lions football manager Danny Daly.
Daniel McStay departed for Collingwood, but the adaptable tall man was a reasonable departure when Gunston arrived. Tom Berry, brother of star midfielder Jarrod, moves down the highway to the Gold Coast in search of more opportunities.
in the: Blake Acres.
out: Will Setterfield, Liam Jones.