The HPN Player Value formula tends to rate young players who play a lot of games relatively highly – and that’s been the major external criticism of it. So before we get into the analysis of the Brad Hill trade let’s take a step back and break down why it does this.
The HPN Player Value formula projects the future output of players based on their previous output – both in games played and the “elite” loading – which we dole out based to Brownlow Medal votes or All Australian selections. HPN has noticed that players with long and fruitful careers often play early and frequently, and that players with long careers generally are more successful during their careers than players with shorter careers.
Brad Hill is a 23 year old triple premiership player – a pretty rare club to be a member of. He is also the antithesis of the commonly held perception of the modern day star midfielder – a player that exists only on the outside of contests at the expense of being at the bottom of them. Courtesy of Figuring Footy, we know that last year Hill was 8th for scoring involvements per game at the Hawks last year – a notable feat considering his disposal numbers:
Hill had only two turnovers that resulted in opposition scores last year – a ridiculous number.
For a comparison, think of a less inside Tom Scully – both have similar disposal efficiency, inside 50s, rebound 50s and goal assist number for the past two seasons. Scully gets more clearances per game, but aside from that their player profiles are similar.
The HPN Player Value formula has rated Hill as being worth roughly pick five – which means he’s expected to play about 197 more games of AFL football in his career – which would be at the upper end of any Fremantle expectations.
Really, that 197 games projection is of output of average level games. Hill already plays 22 games a year so he can’t increase that as he enters the oak of his career so the formula is more a suggestion that he’ll pay less games than that, but at a higher quality than currently. At 23 Hill should still be improving as a player, and there’s a chance that moving into a more prominent role at Fremantle could unleash his potential.
Realistically, Hill should perform closer to the lower end of the HPN value assessment – providing another 137-ish games of above-average football for the Dockers. That would be about seven more seasons, assuming he plays 20 games a year across that time.
Even if you assume that Hill will only perform to his lower estimate, than Fremantle have still secured a bargain here. Hill isn’t a unknown commodity as a young player – as mentioned above he has already contributed to three premierships and has managed 66 games in the last three years. His role isn’t as fawned after as others, but he plays a critical part in modern football.
It’s hard to say that Hawthorn lost this trade – Hill wanted to go home, and the Hawks didn’t want to keep a player against his will. They also may view this trade in tandem with the trade for Tom Mitchell, if pick 23 ends up involved in the mooted swap. But it’s unlikely that Fremantle would have drafted a player of Hill’s calibre at pick 23 – or that Hawthorn will either.
Verdict: Hawthorn should have held out for more when sending Hill west.