A club with cap space could offer to trade that cap space to a club for a national team without having to trade a player with it and have him carry the label of being a salary dump.
The easiest question of the night was who would be the first pick. Answer: Aaron Cadman. Who’s going to pick one hasn’t had any suspense for decades.
Greater Western Sydney’s plan to take Cadman has been known for a long time. Like the fact that Will Ashcroft, much like Sam Darcy and Nick Daicos last year, was bound to leave early in the draft. It was just a matter of how much in terms of draft pick the Brisbane Lions would have to pay to secure him. (If it’s not on the other side the points system, you’re lucky. Solving it is as pleasant as an enema).
Suffice it to say that when North Melbourne called Ashcroft’s name on pick two and Brisbane matched the offer, it wiped out many other draft picks for Brisbane.
What is strange about this? Ashcroft was popularly considered the best player in the draft, but he didn’t go No. 1. That mantle, and all the prestige that goes with it, went to Cadman and the Giants.
The draft is a balance of competing interests, not just a ranking of talent.
The most troubling questions for recruiters occurred in the hours leading up to the draft as the idea of trading picks took hold and serious doubts were raised by Melbourne and St Kilda for Essendon.
The Bombers tantalizingly made it known that they were open to the idea of trading their first pick, which ended up at pick five. Everyone knew that in selection six, the Gold Coast was interested in Moe’s Bailey Humphrey.
However, so was Melbourne. The Demons threw three first-round picks to Essendon (one this year and two next year, one of which they received in the Luke Jackson trade) and there was certainly a demand for picks coming back the other way. The Demons really liked Humphrey and tried to get ahead of the Suns for the powerful forward midfielder – think De Goey, Stringer, Petracca mould. But they could not influence the Bombers.
The Saints also tried a trade, but they also couldn’t tempt the Bombers to part with the player they had in mind, Elijah Tsatis.
Every club has million-dollar questions in the draft, but none like the Cats delivering their bold trade move in the offseason.