It's panic stations all round as the final week of the AFL trade period opens. Here’s a quick look at a few of the big free agent moves over the weekend:
Nathan Brown -> Saint Kilda
Ex-Magpies defender, Nathan Brown, joined the Saints on the final day of the AFL free agent trade period after Collingwood declined to match St. Kilda’s offer to the 27-year-old. Brown, who signed on a two-year contract, joins recent Saints acquisitions, Jack Steele (Greater Western Sydney), and Koby Stevens (Western Bulldogs) at the Docklands Stadium.
If he can stay free of injury, (a hamstring problem cost him much of the most recent season) Brown’s arrival could prove a coup for St. Kilda, providing insurance behind the aging (and out of contract) defender, Sam Fisher, and depth in the absence of the injured Hugh Goddard, who is out with a ruptured Achilles.
Brown’s trade could also make St Kilda a more attractive prospect for his brother, Mitch. The Saints have been trying to lure Nathan’s twin to Melbourne since 2012.
Paul Ahern -> North Melbourne
A bit of a gamble for the Roos. Paul Ahern’s time at Greater Western Sydney (GWS) was marred by two identical cruciate ligament injuries (and knee reconstructions) six months apart. He’s young and unproven at senior level, having missed his two seasons at the Giants with injury, and he’ll miss the entirety of the 2017 season for the same reason.
However, he’s a proven ball-winner and kicker in the second tier (he was originally described on the Giants’ website as the “next GWS player to take big strides” in the AFL) and still young enough that a hiatus from the field isn’t the end of the world. Melbourne traded pick no.69 for the young midfielder.
Jordan Lewis -> ???
There's a good chance that Jordan Lewis is going to leave Hawthorn this week; where he’s going exactly is the question that needs resolving. Lewis is reportedly unhappy with being asked to leave the club by coach, Alastair Clarkson, a development that prompted offers from the Gold Coast Suns and the Melbourne Demons for the midfielder.
Hawthorn wanted to use Lewis as leverage in a deal for the Suns’ Jaeger O’Meara. However, the player’s exit would mean that, instead, the Hawks may have to part with their no.10 pick. Lewis is now odds on to join the Demons on a three-year contract, despite ongoing protests from Hawthorn.
Other developments at the end of free agency include Daniel Wells' and Chris Mayne's move to Collingwood. Fremantle have picked up Bradley Hill and Cam McCarthy, Tyrone Vickery and Tom Mitchell have joined Hawthorn, and the Eagles have gained Sam Mitchell.
Steven Motlop failed to find a suitor and will remain at Geelong for the next season. Motlop, a game-breaker on his day, played all 24 games of the recent campaign but his talents in offense don’t make up for the fact that he’s not always an enthusiastic defender – or occasionally “rubbish”, to quote Cats’ coach, Chris Scott.
His overall inconsistency towards the tail end of the season and a lacklustre showing in the recent finals series (he was goalless in the Cats’ finals loss to the Swans, with just one tackle all night) was enough to land the 25-year-old on the trade table. However, his potential salary kept the clubs well away.
Elsewhere, Marcus Adams will remain at the Bulldogs after teammate and fellow defender, Joel Hamling, requested a move to Fremantle, while Zac Clarke looks likely to stay at the Dockers.