The 2021 commercialized play was much notable for what didn’t happen: none of the Hawthorn fab 5 whom the nine had connected the artifact were traded, Rory Lobb remained anchored successful Fremantle, and adjacent Essendon’s humble effort to onshore a Giant tiny guardant was unsuccessful.
This was the Seinfeld commercialized period, successful that it was genuinely “a amusement astir nothing”.
Carlton completed a woody that, connected the look of it, was the astir consequential move, by giving up prime No.6 - the lone aboriginal archetypal circular prime traded outright for a subordinate - for a imaginable A-grader successful Adam Cerra.
The Blues did good to recruit Cerra for little than $600,000 per play implicit 4 years, which was considerably beneath what the Dockers would person paid the midfielder to stay astatine their club. They were blessed that determination were truthful fewer suitors for Cerra successful Melbourne and to transportation him to travel astatine a clip erstwhile they didn’t adjacent person a elder coach.
Most clubs got what they wanted, oregon avoided undesirable outcomes.
North landed Callum-Coleman-Jones without forsaking a apical 20 draught prime (this twelvemonth astatine least), Geelong gained prime 22 for Jordan Clark with Freo gaining a half-back flanker, Adelaide secured Jordan Dawson for somewhat nether his draught worth, Collingwood turned a crappy draught manus into capable points for Nick Daicos portion grabbing a mates of speculative ft soldiers, Sydney gained a ruckman (Peter Ladhams) from 1 South Australian nine for a prime swap and were a small miffed with the draught output connected Dawson.
The premiers, intriguingly, bolstered an already stacked midfield with a escaped cause whom the Saints spurned: Luke Dunstan.
Hawthorn, for each the club’s huff and puff, couldn’t merchantability immoderate 1 of Jaeger O’Meara, Tom Mitchell, Jack Gunston, Chad Wingard, oregon Luke Breust - 5 of their apical 8 players - due to the fact that they were selling into a carnivore market. Only GWS truly made a superior play, and the Giants couldn’t transportation Wingard oregon Breust to leave.
If Hawthorn’s non-trades was the defining (non) development, Essendon’s reluctance to bargain anyone of enactment was besides telling, and a measurement of the Bombers’ new-found patience.
Essendon finished an unexpected eighth this year, climbing the ladder successful a play that the nine had earmarked for “development” aft Joe Daniher, Adam Saad, and Orazio Fantasia walked out.
In 2020, they attempted to get Josh Dunkley from the Bulldogs to bolster a midfield that inactive lacks a bigger-bodied wrong beast. The Dogs wouldn’t woody Dunkley, contempt the connection of a archetypal circular pick.
The excitement and bully karma generated by those apical 10 picks that Essendon brought successful coincides with a displacement successful mindset. Back successful 2017 and 2018, the Bombers went for speedy fixes and sought accelerated premiership contention, arsenic they traded successful Jake Stringer, Dylan Smith, Saad and Dylan Shiel, the second costing consecutive archetypal circular choices.
In those Worsfold years, the interior presumption was that they were adjacent to emblem contention and could enlistee accordingly.
This year, the Bombers were successful the smallish number - nary much than fractional a twelve clubs - that had tenable wage headdress space, the immense bulk having been screwed by the AFL-mandated subordinate wage deferrals into 2022.
Yet, they didn’t wound connected O’Meara oregon Mitchell, oregon connected anyone. Rather, they made an inexpensive play for Bobby Hill, whom the Giants refused to trade, hung connected to their remaining draught picks, and inactive anticipation to commercialized their aboriginal archetypal rounder for an aboriginal prime earlier oregon during the nationalist draft, successful a Melbourne-like strategy outlined to the nine committee by shot brag Josh Mahoney.
It is debatable whether O’Meara oregon Mitchell acceptable Essendon’s needs, fixed their comparative spot successful the midfield. Their astir notable holes are successful onslaught - they could bash with astatine slightest 1 cardinal guardant - and perchance successful defence, albeit Zach Reid shapes arsenic a imaginable cardinal presumption defender to regenerate Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker.
None of those cardinal presumption options were available. So, the Dons held their draught and wage headdress cards for different day.
Unlike the Blues, who intelligibly spot themselves arsenic acceptable to motorboat skyward, the Bombers person chosen a longer runway.
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