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The Trades – Day 9: Port Adelaide piles up the senior talent


Port Adelaide wasted no time giving its fans a look at Jack Watts in his new colours. The former Demon was exchanged for pick No. 31. Picture: PAFC

The Trades – Day 9: Port Adelaide piles up the senior talent

Rohan Connolly    

Just a few weeks have certainly changed popular perceptions about Port Adelaide’s immediate future.

The Power’s heart-breaking post-siren loss to West Coast in a home elimination final was a shattering blow to the confidence of an entire club, one which for a few days at least seemed to raise doubts about even coach Ken Hinkley’s future.

Hinkley, though, widely tipped to be off to the Gold Coast, ended up instead getting a three-year contract extension.

And a team which, despite its early September exit, had nonetheless managed to finish fifth on the ladder only a game outside the top four and with the second-best percentage in the AFL, is having a bumper trade period.

That was underscored on Tuesday when Port closed the deal to deliver Melbourne’s Jack Watts to Alberton Oval in exchange for a second-round draft pick (No. 31).

With two days left of the trade rush, the Power have now brought on to the list Watts, prolific Brisbane on-baller Tom Rockliff and talented Geelong runner Steven Motlop.

Watts wasn’t the only deal done by the Power on Tuesday, either, Port also swapping Brendon Ah Chee and its on-traded 2018 future round four pick with West Coast for the Eagles’ 2018 round three selection.

Port Adelaide is a clear beneficiary of the trade action thus far, epitomised by a simple read of its ins and outs, Watts, Rockliff and Motlop by anyone’s measure better value in the immediate term than the departed trio Ah Chee, Jackson Trengove and Jarman Impey.

Watts certainly thinks so. “They finished just outside the top four, have some really promising young players who are getting some experience under their belts and they’ve added two great footballers already to their list in Tom Rockliff and Steven Motlop,” he said after signing off on the move.

“Personally, I can’t wait for pre-season to begin so I can start working with the likes of Charlie Dixon, Robbie Gray, Travis Boak and Chad Wingard.”

Power list manager Jason Cripps said Watts would be a valuable addition to the forward half.

“He has great skills, particularly by foot which we feel is an area where we can improve as a team,” Cripps said. “He’s a good athlete too and an experienced player so we’re confident he’ll make our team better.”

Not every club can be an active trade participant, however, and while Port has been arguably the busiest of any side so far, St Kilda has been conspicuously absent from much trade discussion this year.

The Saints officially conceded defeat on Tuesday in their attempt to lure Greater Western Sydney defender Adam Tomlinson to the club.

St Kilda chief operating officer Ameet Bains told AFL Trade Radio on Tuesday that while there was a period GWS might have considered releasing Tomlinson, despite having signed him to a two-year deal last February, the Saints had now called off the chase.

“We have had discussions as late as yesterday but I don’t think anything will happen,” Bains said. “The reality of that is that Adam has wanted to come home. There appeared to be an opening there for a period where the Giants were, I suppose, open to thinking about that.

“As the season progressed, the finals played out the way they have and some of the players they’ve already lost, they made it clear that they don’t want to be losing any more players. In fairness to them, Adam is contracted for two more years.”

And in a year marked more by big names staying put than heading elsewhere, you can also add Melbourne spearhead Jesse Hogan to the list, his manager Matt Bain telling Trade Radio he’d become tired of the incessant rumours about Hogan heading home to Western Australia to play with Fremantle.

“I’m not too sure how many times we have to say it but he definitely won’t be going to Fremantle, Bain said, praising Hogan’s toughness in a difficult year which saw him lose his father and battle serious illness.

“I’ve probably never met a more resilient kid in my life … he’s been really strong and hopefully Melbourne get a really strong year out of him next year,” Bain said. “So many times he could’ve thrown the towel in this year with what he’s been through.”

Bain said he was hopeful, however, of engineering a Melbourne-Fremantle deal in the other direction, with the Dockers’ Harley Balic likely to join Melbourne before the end of the player exchange period.

So with two days to go, we’re still to see deals completed for most of the names about whom most of the trade discussions this month have centred, that is Charlie Cameron, Josh Schache, Bryce Gibbs, Gary Ablett, Jake Stringer and Lachie Weller.

Will any or all of them find new footballing homes? Stay tuned to Footyology to find out!

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