Who is your AFL club death-riding this year?

The introduction of future draft pick trades in 2015 has given us, the footballing public/nerds, the wonderful spectacle of clubs quite literally taking bets on each other and then “death-riding” them the following year in the hopes of securing a better pick.

In 2016, for example, Collingwood’s struggles resulted in the pick they traded for Adam Treloar turning into pick 8 (in addition to the pick 7 from 2015), significantly more than they would have hoped to have paid for him. By contrast, Melbourne took a bet on themselves last year and traded their 2016 first round pick for a 2015 one from Gold Coast, a deal that ended up in Melbourne’s favour due to their moderate rise up the ladder.

Thus, we give you, a death-riding chart for 2017:


We’ve kept this to the first two rounds as there’s probably not a lot to be gained from pick shifts in the third and fourth rounds.

St Kilda stand to win handsomely from the Hawthorn trade even if the Hawks end up premiers, but if the Hawks miss the eight it will turn from a bargain into an outright heist. Here’s what we said at the time of the trade:


St Kilda, for their part, effectively split their first rounder into two useful second round picks while retaining a first rounder of currently unknown quality. The pick split is a move we think works in isolation due to the greater expected output of two picks in this range vs a typical pick 10 but the addition of a 2017 selection is a massive bonus.

St Kilda gave up pick 10 for multiple good picks, and right now there’s a chance that Hawthorn’s first rounder by itself could land around the pick 10 they gave up.

Hawthorn, in a frenzied final day’s trade, were left holding just one pick in the first two rounds, and it’s tied to GWS’ finishing position. This was due to the Hawks swapping the equivalent of more than entire draft in multiple moves to obtain O’Meara. Currently GWS are one of two teams sitting 1-1 so on our death-ride chart the pick looks better, but the Giants are still one of the presumptive premiership favourites (Matt Cowgill at The Arc has them with a 15% chance of finishing in the top 2). If that pans out it leaves Hawthorn entering the draft at pick 36.

Richmond have ended up with Geelong’s first round pick after it changed hands no less than three times. First it moved to Carlton in the Tuohy-Smedts swap, then went to GWS in the deal that moved Marchbank and Pickett. Finally, GWS traded it to Richmond in the swap for Deledio. The end result is that the Tigers will be hoping Dangerwood fails to repeat last year’s preliminary final appearance.

Brisbane acquired Port Adelaide’s first round pick in the Pearce Hanley trade, where the balance of traded goods roughly values Hanley at whatever the Port pick nets them:

hanley swap.PNG

Port Adelaide had pick 9 in the first round last year after finishing 10th and popular opinion (although not that of HPN) had them getting worse and regretting giving up that first rounder this year. However, on early season form that looks less likely.

After a subsequent, perfectly weighted swap with Sydney, Port took four picks in the first 33 last year, including round 1 Rising Star Sam Powell-Pepper. The others, Todd Marshall, Willem Drew and Joe Atley haven’t been seen yet. If Port can get some use out of those other draftees, they’ll be pretty happy with their 2016 trades even before we consider a potential jump up the ladder devaluing their first rounder.

GWS ended up with St Kilda’s second round pick for Jack Steele, which as we noted last year, was a win-win, with the Giants getting extra value from a pick and the Saints getting more from Steele than the Giants would. A Saints preliminary final appearance (or complete collapse after their 0-2 start) would probably be required to alter the pick value enough to change this equation.

The Giants also got Collingwood’s second round pick for Will Hoskin-Elliott, and that bet remains one between Collingwood’s ladder expectations vs Will Hoskin-Elliott’s potential.

Gold Coast are sitting on a glut of second round picks, and should be variously tracking the fortunes of Fremantle, Hawthorn and Richmond this year. They got the Hawks’ second rounder as part of the swap for O’Meara and the Tigers’ pick for Prestia.

Most interesting is probably the Fremantle pick, which was a mundane pick swap and represents a pure bet against the Dockers improving:



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