With the Trade Period all done for another year, it was one of the more spectacular finishes to player movement in recent history. there were38 players that moved clubs, with a total of 113 draft picks exchanged before Thursday's 2pm deadline.
Which teams won out this year? Which teams failed to impact or lost out?
I've identified six winners and six losers to come out of this year's trade period, and I'll go through each today with a little bit of depth.
Winner #1 – St. Kilda
The Saints unexpectedly finished just outside the eight this year, and look set to make a serious tilt at September action in 2017. To GWS, Jack Steele was just a fringe player, but a move to St. Kilda will see Steele get plenty of exposure in their engine room and his toughness around the ball will help. Likewise goes to Koby Stevens, who sought a trade from the Western Bulldogs after a lack of opportunity in 2016, his ability to play as an inside or outside midfielder will get him more game time.
Signing Nathan Brown as a free agent helps St. Kilda's defensive stocks immensely, and with Jake Carlisle coming back from suspension next year, it'll be interesting to see how they can work together as a key defensive duo. What's even better about their trade period this year was the acquisiton of Hawthorn's 2017 first-round pick, if the Hawks fall into the midfield next year, it could be seen as one of smartest trades of all-time, especially if next year's draft class is stacked on talent.
Loser #1 – Adelaide
Adelaide spent most of the Trade Period trying to secure the services of a contracted Bryce Gibbs from Carlton, hoping that might be the missing piece to their premiership puzzle, but they failed to do so, believing that giving away pick 13 and someone like Mitch McGovern or Charlie Cameron was 'too much'. Adelaide have signalled their intent to go after Gibbs again next season, but they'll rue this missed opportunity.
On top of that, they also Jarryd Lyons to the Gold Coast for essentially pick 43. For those who don't know much about Lyons, he broke through to play 20 games for the Crows this year after playing 35 games in the previous four seasons. He averaged career-highs in disposals, tackles and clearances, as well as kicking 15 goals as a midfielder. The Crows still have a plethora of options in the middle, but losing Lyons certainly doesn't aid their premiership chances.
Winner #2 – Melbourne
Melbourne were maybe one superstar player away from making a serious charge towards their first finals appearance since 2006. They pulled off a major coup by acquiring premiership midfielder Jordan Lewis from Hawthorn for pick 48 in a move that no one saw coming. In a midfield that already boasts quality players such as Jones, Viney, Vince and Petracca, The addition of Lewis just makes it all the more better. His premiership experience, his leadership qualities will prove to be valuable to this Demons side.
Lewis' arrival at Demonland kind of takes the spotlight off of Michael Hibberd, who is no slouch either. The former Bomber arrived for a second-round pick (29) after missing the year with suspension, and will be a welcome inclusion to Melbourne's back-line, and with another former Bomber in Jake Melksham back into the team after his suspension, all of a sudden Melbourne look like more of a finals-aspirant than a side just making up the numbers.
Loser #2 – Port Adelaide
This was a side that missed out on a Grand Final by a goal two years ago. Since then they've missed the Finals in both seasons. Most expected the Power to try and do something this year in attempt to make Port Adelaide relevant again, but failed to really impact in this years trade period.
They looked to offload Hamish Hartlett and Matthew Lobbe to ease their salary cap issues, but nobody really expressed significant interest either of them. But if there is one small positive to take out of their trade period, it's that they've got two picks in the top 20 (pick 14 and pick 17) as well as picks 30 and 31. They'll need to nail at least two of these picks in next months draft if they are to go forward.
Winner #3 – Richmond
Richmond's goal for this year's trade period was to acquire highly-touted midfielder Dion Prestia from the Gold Coast, and not only have they done that, they managed to snare Prestia's good friend Josh Caddy from Geelong, who is also a very good player in his own right. Both men will help out the likes of Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin in the midfield and should turn the Tigers midfield from mediocre to at the very least respectable, whilst the inclusion of Toby Nankervis shouldn't be underestimated. He'll be locked in a battle for the number one ruck position with Shaun Hampson, but there's no doubt he'll get more opportunities at Tigerland than he did at Sydney.
Losing Ty Vickery is no real issue, but losing Brett Deledio to GWS is what I consider to be a huge loss, given the amount of talent he possesses, but given that the Tigers are in rebuilding mode and Deledio will be 30 next April, his exit from Punt Road shouldn't come as a massive shock. Richmond supporters should be very happy with this outcome, given their horrid run of recruiting in recent years.
Loser #3 – Collingwood
Collingwood made a lot of moves in this trade period, but I'm not sure if they were really the right moves to make. They signed Chris Mayne and Daniel Wells as free agents, but both men have massive question marks on their heads. Ex-Roo Wells is too injury-prone, and even though Mayne's forward pressure is still first-rate, his goal-kicking form has been way off since his 2012-13 form where he kicked a combined total of 76.19 in both seasons.
On top of this, they lost a number of key defenders in Nathan Brown and Jack Frost and have left their stocks at this post their pretty thin. Ben Reid is too injury-prone to have confidence in and Lachlan Keeffe who is fresh off serving a two-year suspension for doping. Lynden Dunn fills in a key defender spot, but he isn't a defender I highly rate. The one positive they could possibly garner from this is the inclusion of Hoskin-Elliott from the Giants. The kid is blessed with unbelievable pace and will get serious game time in 2017, providing he stays fit.
Winner #4 – Fremantle
One of the biggest winners of this trade period I believe are the Dockers. After such a fall from grace this year, they recruited heavily, acquiring two premiership players in Bradley Hill and Joel Hamling. Hill joins his brother Stephen, and his pace on the wing is without a doubt a valuable asset, whilst Freo hope that Hamling's unbelievable efforts in the Bulldogs' finals run carries over to his home state of WA. The recruitment of talented forward Cam McCarthy (pictured) is another plus, and with Pavlich's retirement, looms as the number one forward target in season 2017, and will get support in the forward line with the acquisition of Shane Kersten from Geelong.
All this, and I haven't even mentioned that they've still got a draft pick in the top 10. Freo initially had the third overall pick in the AFL draft, but traded it away in the McCarthy deal, receiving GWS' pick seven in a package deal that included McCarthy and a couple of other draft picks.
Loser #4 – Western Bulldogs
They're not massive losers here, but I still feel that they lost out in this year's trade period. Joel Hamling is their biggest loss, given how spectacular he was during the Finals, and it certainly didn't get much better as Marcus Adams signalled his interests in a return home to Western Australia despite a year to run on his current contract. The Dogs now have a fight on their hands to entice the key defender to stay at Whitten Oval beyond 2017. Nathan Hrovat and Koby Stevens, as talented as they are, struggled for opportunities this season and were traded away, but not for a lot. Stevens was traded for pick 50, whilst Hrovat - a former first-round draft pick, was traded away for a couple 2017 late draft picks.
Travis Cloke's inclusion fills more of a need at the key forward spot, given Jack Redpath will be out for most of 2017 and if Tom Boyd falls with injury again during next season, but Doggies fans can only hope that a change of scenary will rejuvenate his flailing career, but if there's one thing for the supporters to look forward to, is that who the Dogs will select with the 18th and 26th pick in the AFL draft. They've made a habit of nailing their draft selections in recent years.
Winner #5 – Greater Western Sydney
They were already firming as premiership favourites heading into 2017, but with the acquisition of Brett Deledio, there is no doubt that they WILL be the premiership favourites come the start of next year, as much as it pains me to say it. If he stays fit, Deledio will be a fantastic addition to the team, with his skill and versatility both major assets. Even more impressive about their trade period is the fact that they offloaded nine players, and they still managed to make their list even better.
But there's more here, the Giants have the second-overall pick in the draft, after trades with Collingwood (last year), Fremantle and Brisbane got them to this unbelievable position. They also have picks 15, 37, 39, 45, 52, 55, 57, 58, 59 and 60 to play with in next month's draft.
Loser #5 – Hawthorn
Hawthorn may have gotten a really good midfielder in Tom Mitchell, they picked up Ty Vickery and they eventually got their man in Jaeger O'Meara, but why are they losers in this year's trade period?
They practically gave up the world to get O'Meara – a guy who hasn't played a game of footy for nearly two years with dodgy knees from the Gold Coast to Hawthorn, giving up a number of picks, as well as premiership stars Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis, both of which going for late draft picks – pick 88 for Mitchell, a guy who had just won the Hawks' best and fairest – ARE YOU SERIOUS HAWTHORN???
Hawthorn's first selection in this year's draft comes in at pick 88, that's how much they gave up this year. No first-round pick, no second-round pick, no third-round pick, not even a fourth-round pick, and it gets better. They have no first-round or second-round pick in next year's draft either. But if they get O'Meara's knees right, it might just pay off for them.
Winner #6 – West Coast
They didn't do a great deal throughout the trade period, but as a side that had been in the Finals for the last two years, the acquisition of Sam Mitchell for practically nothing is a massive plus and gives their premiership aspirations a well-needed shot on the arm. Mitchell won Hawthorn's best and fairest this year, and is capable of playing good footy for another couple of years yet. Put him in a midfield with Priddis, Shuey, Masten and company, it's a very elite midfield set-up.
But despite this, they'll miss their star ruckman in Nic Naitanui for most of the year as he recovers from a ruptured ACL suffered late this season. The Eagles went and secured a ready-made solution in Nathan Vardy. If he can keep his body on the park, Vardy has got good athleticism and will provide as a handy back-up ruck to Scott Lycett, who'll have to carry most of the ruck duties in 2017.
Loser #6 – Geelong
Despite gaining a talented half-back in Zach Tuohy, they lost a lot more than they gained in this year's trade period and for a side that finished in the top four this season, that's simply not good enough. They used Josh Caddy as trade bait to try and get Brett Deledio to the Cattery, but that trade didn't eventuate, and worse still, Caddy still went to Richmond anyway. They lost talls Shane Kersten and Nathan Vardy for virtually nothing and went and recruited Aaron Black from North Melbourne on the deadline day. Black hasn't really done much at North, and I highly doubt he'll do much at Geelong either.
On top of all this they also dangled Steven Motlop as trade bait, for little interest and inexplicably forced a Brownlow medallist in Jimmy Bartel to retire, which is absolutely poor of Geelong, given how great and how loyal he's been to them over these years.