AFL – Trade reflections: Clubs holding firm on contracts
So its been a few days since the trade period finished and it’s given me time to reflect on the winners and losers of the trade period.
I must say I’m conflicted on both the Papley and Daniher failed trades. Whilst Jack Martin also missed his move, he’s still got options, Daniher and Papley do not. Despite both being contracted for next year, they were both looking for a change of scenery and had agreed to terms with their desired clubs. Papley was apparently very unhappy in Sydney and pondered whether he wanted to still play the game, whilst Daniher was seemingly disappointed with Essendon’s handling of his injury and wanted a change of medical staff to get him back on the park. As such, you have to feel bad for them that they weren’t able to get the moves they wanted.
On the other side of that argument is the fact that they are contracted, and they are legitimate assets for their respective clubs. Players are happy to sign contracts to give them security, yet think they can up and leave when they want too. As Adrian Dodoro (Essendon GM-list & recruiting) pointed out, trading out Daniher weakened their team, and as such, wanted a remarkable deal to make the trade. Sydney, rightfully, saw Daniher’s market value as much lower than that and offered what they felt was a fair deal. The problem here was, their respective valuations of Daniher were markedly different.
It’s similar with Papley, they Swans didn’t want to lose a quality player, without gaining one in return, hence why it’s been reported that the Daniher trade held up this trade. Whilst they managed to get in Lewis Taylor through a trade, they seemingly didn’t believe he was of sufficient quality to justify losing Papley over.
Thing is, it is a big risk to take. Keeping players who aren’t happy and don’t want to be there runs its own risks of upsetting the apple cart that you are trying to keep steady. Culture is huge to footy clubs, and the potential risk of having a bad apple in the bunch is that they begin to spoil others. Which is why the decision to retain and not take ‘unders’ hasn’t always been adopted by AFL clubs.
However, we are seeing more clubs doing it now, Carlton 3yrs ago with Gibbs, Geelong with Kelly last year, and now the Swans and the Dons, they are obviously backing the professionalism of the player to play out the next year despite the disappointment of not getting the move they desired. Gibbs (4th in B & F) and Kelly (Runner up B & F) both produced fantastic seasons the following year after missing their respective trades so the Dons and Swans will be hoping this trend follow suit. Otherwise the asset that they hold now may severely depreciate in value next year.
Personally, I say well done to both clubs for holding firm on this. Players were having to much power over their clubs, not only demanding trades to leave, but nominating 1 club which limits bargaining power of the holding club. By holding firm, they have ensured that they retain some power in this situation, not by stopping the player from leaving, just ensuring they get their due value in return.