We previously discussed Pearce Hanley’s worth and the likelihood Gold Coast would be willing to use one of their glut of early picks to overpay for bringing a 28-year-old into a rebuilding side. Our valuation puts Hanley playing about another three years of football, taking him to the average retirement age of standard AFL footballers of 31:
On that output the trade of Hanley effectively for pick 22 and 30 is a large overvaluation by the Suns. Both picks individually have more upside (on average) than Hanley does from this point of his career.
The potential upside for the Suns is, of course, that Hanley plays more games, plays past age 31 or improves the team significantly in a way that’s beyond his direct contribution. However, this looks like the Suns are thinking shorter term, impatient with development, keen to get established players at any price.
Brisbane are huge winners – 19 down to 22 and then a bonus pick next year is all upside for them. And as good a player as Hanley is (despite his limited worth in trade value here, HPN rates him quite highly in a subjective sense), he probably won’t help the Lions make the finals in the short term. There’s not much more to be said on their side of the swap.
For Port Adelaide, they’ve basically taken a bet on themselves. If they finish 10th again, their pick 9 would have about the same expected return as picks 19 and 30 this year. They’ve split their risk across two players and moved themselves forward in time, to get players sooner.
They may be positioning for a specific player such as ruckman Tim English who is rated in the late first round range by phantom drafters. This may even be an implicit valuation by Port that they see this year’s draft as richer in talent than next year’s.
Most importantly, this trade suggests they clearly feel they need multiple decent shots at good players to complement the layer of top talent already at the club, rather than one somewhat higher rated player. Given that list depth is so important in the modern era of AFL football, this is a solid piece of forward thinking by the Power.
This trade will leave Port with picks 9, 19 and 30 this year, potentially setting the scene for a more substantial overhaul of talent down the track with the aging of players like Westhoff.
At the end of the day, Gold Coast are likely to get less out of Hanley than Brisbane will out of Port’s first round pick, Port Adelaide have basically repositioned themselves rather than gained or lost ground, so in that sense the risk and downside is all on the Suns’ side.
Verdict: A big win for Brisbane, a chance to rebuild for Port and a massive overpay by the Suns.