AFL 2 years ago

The Trade Week That Was: Cloke Watch, Dogs On The Move And Deledio A Dog?

With the first week of the AFL trade period done, there has certainly been a lot of stories and talking points to come out of what is only the first week of a two-week period.

Bryce Gibbs expressed his desires to go back home to South Australia, despite having three years left on his contract. Cam McCarthy finally got his wish to go home to Western Australia after missing the whole year for GWS. Ty Vickery became the first player to change clubs this year via free agency. Collingwood picked up some experience in Daniel Wells and Chris Mayne. Todd Goldstein was rumoured to get out of North Melbourne just yesterday, whilst Hawthorn are again active as active gets during this time of year.

But nobody saw what moves the Hawks had in store this year. Of course I'm talking about the unbelievable development on Wednesday with Sam Mitchell linked to a move to West Coast. On Friday that became a reality when Hawthorn sent the 2016 best and fairest winner to the Eagles for essentially, pick 88, with both clubs exchanging other draft picks in the process.

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And if that wasn't a big enough bombshell for Hawthorn supporters to take, It was reported on Thursday that the Hawks almost gave away another star midfielder in Jordan Lewis to Melbourne until the Hawks back-flipped in the last minute, but with Lewis allegedly unhappy with this move, it's not yet set in stone that he'll be donning Brown and Gold in 2017.

But what about the Bulldogs? Fresh off a drought-breaking premiership victory, there's a lot of intrigue about who the Dogs may look to bring in for 2017 if there was anyone on their radar, or who might be interested in a fresh start after such a history-making season.

Well the Bulldogs certainly haven't been quiet in terms of making headlines in the first week into the trade period.

Lets start off with the obvious story surrounding the Bulldogs and that's Travis Cloke. It was told by the big-shots of the AFL Media that Travis Cloke would be a Bulldog by the Monday, if not then the latest would've been late in the week, but there have been no developments on this move yet. It's expected that the Bulldogs would give up a fourth-round selection for the Collingwood forward, but with a few Bulldog players expecting to head for the exit, Collingwood are looking to see what pans out of those deals.

Other than that, it seems not many players will make their way into Whitten Oval for 2017, although I did hear a rumour from left-field on Wednesday from The Age's Rohan Connolly. He reported on radio station SEN that Richmond veteran Brett Deledio, who had expressed keen interest in a switch to Geelong for the 2017, also expressed keen interest in joining the Western Bulldogs, and Luke Beveridge was reportedly interested in having a chat, but it looks unlikely at this stage that the Bulldogs will receive the 243-game veteran from Tigerland.

Would you take Deledio in? As a former number one draft pick in 2004, he turns 30 next year and has had a 2016 season derailed by quad and calf injuries. It is considered a massive gamble, but his best footy is very, very good. Somebody suggested the Bulldogs' first round selection (pick 18) and someone like Nathan Hrovat or Mitch Honeychurch. I find that a more reasonable offer than what somebody said on SEN on the Thursday, who suggested a straight swap of Deledio for Marcus Bontempelli. Spare Me!!!

One player who won't be heading for the exit though will be 2016 All-Australian Matthew Boyd, who signed a one-year contract extension and will play-on in 2017 after a lengthy and nervous wait. The former midfielder, now defender has played 282 games across 14 seasons at Whitten Oval. Boyd averaged 27 disposals and five rebound 50s as a defender in 2016, and was a massive part in the Western Bulldogs' elite defensive structures.

Also in news that will delight the Bulldogs' faithful, Lin Jong and premiership player Clay Smith have both signed on for next year. Smith, who has been massive contributor for this club during the finals' series and such an unbelievable story – coming back from three knee reconstructions, signed a one-year extension last Friday, just hours after Jong, who had received strong interest from both Gold Coast and Collingwood, signed on for two more years after missing out on the Grand Final after such a strong performance for Footscray in the VFL Grand Final just a week earlier.

But with a great side boasting so many players capable of playing senior footy, there will be a few players who will be looking for opportunties elsewhere. At this point in time there have been four players so far that have been linked to a move out of Whitten Oval.

Koby Stevens so far has been the only one who has formally requested a trade out of Whitten Oval. Stevens, 25, joined the Bulldogs at the end of 2012 from West Coast after being originally starved of opportunites out West. But after four seasons and 63 games in the red, white and blue, Stevens formally requested a trade to St. Kilda on Wednesday after only playing 12 games for the Bulldogs this season and missing out on the Bulldogs' September run altogether. 

 Stevens would join young GWS tough nut Jack Steele at St. Kilda this off-season as the Saints look to build some midfield support around the likes of David Armitage, Jack Steven and Seb Ross. The ideal scenario would see St. Kilda giving up one of their two second-round picks, most likely pick 36 in exchange for Stevens, but it looks more likely that it will be the Saints' third-round pick they'll give away, which currently stands at pick 50.

Nathan Hrovat also looks set to move after the former round one draft selection has only played 31 games since his debut in 2013. Injuries have played an integral part in why Hrovat has seen minimal game time, but with the likes of Bontempelli, Liberatore, Macrae, Hunter and many others overtaking him for spots in the team, it's gotten increasingly hard for him to get a look-in to this team.

Only two teams are keenly interested in Hrovat, with North Melbourne and Carlton both in the hunt to snare the talented midfielder/forward, who only played four games during the 2016 season after shoulder and ankle injuries derailed 

Another big story for the Bulldogs coming out of this trade period is the future of premiership defender Joel Hamling. Who after keeping Lance Franklin to a goal in the Grand Final has been put a huge offer from Fremantle to come home to Western Australia in 2017. As of this moment, Hamling is still weighing up the offer, which is rumoured to be a three-year deal worth approximately $1.2 million.

Hamling was picked up by the Dogs at the end of 2014 season after failing to play a single game at Geelong for three seasons. Hamling struggled to get into the Bulldogs' 22 in 2016, playing three senior-level games in 17 rounds after breaking through for 11 games in 2015. He got recalled in round 19 and never lost his spot, and from there, played a massive role in defence during the Bulldogs' Finals campaign, having played shut-down jobs on Josh Kennedy, Jack Gunston, Jeremy Cameron and of course, Franklin.

Another player that could move to Western Australia is Marcus Adams, who caused a bit of a shock on Friday after expressing his interest in a return home to WA after only one season in the red, white and blue. Adams, who was taken with the 35th pick in the 2015 AFL draft played 11 games this year and looked a revelation in defence before injuries derailed his entire season, with foot and shoulder injuries forcing him to miss the second half of the season. Adams' contract expires at the end of 2017, and despite his desires to return home, the Bulldogs say the defender is happy to play out his contract and is highly unlikely he'll be moved anywhere until next year, unless an offer too good to refuse comes up.

And for those that had been mouthing off about Adams over the past 24 hours, they probably haven't heard about what happened to his older brother Luke, who like Adams, was a star footy prospect before a cowards punch left Luke in a coma five years ago. This even prompted Adams to walk away from footy in general for a brief period before returning to the WAFL at the end of 2013, and like good brothers should be, Marcus has close ties to Luke as well as the rest of his family and well maybe a move interstate isn't as good as he thought it would be. 

This makes the Hamling decision all the more vital for the Bulldogs. If Adams does go through on his word and request a trade back in 2017, it's crucial that the Doggies hang on to Hamling beyond 2016. If both go – Hamling this year, Adams the next - that leaves Fletcher Roberts and Kieran Collins as the team's only key defenders beyond next year.

The AFL Trade Period concludes this coming Thursday, I'll find it to be very interesting to see what develops from here and if there are anything else to come out of this team from here until then.

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