By Ollie Nash
Jeremy Cameron has told the Giants he wants out, with Geelong his club of choice. Photo: AAP/Dave Hunt
Since the 2015 AFL off-season, the Greater Western Sydney Giants have lost seven walk-up starters to requested trades and look like losing another two in 2020.
Adam Treloar, Cam McCarthy, Devon Smith, Nathan Wilson, Rory Lobb, Dylan Shiel and Jonathon Patton have all asked to be traded and now Jeremy Cameron and Aiden Corr look set to join them.
How many players have GWS received back in trades for these guys? None. When it came to stars like Treloar and Shiel it was two first-round picks, for others like Smith it was a first and third round pick.
In short, the AFL trade period is filled with picks as compensation for star players. In the Giants case, some of these picks have ended superbly. In losing Cam McCarthy they were able to eventually get Tim Taranto in the 2016 draft as one example.
However, for a club that possessed so much talent from years of early draft picks in their infancy, that talent list is dwindling. Two-first round picks for Jeremy Cameron won’t cut it, they need players that can help them win now.
Despite losing so many players, the Giants still have a strong list. Photo: AAP
The Giants are still entrenched in the premiership window. 2020 form needs to be taken with a grain of salt for some of these clubs and players. Geelong and Richmond were able to hold their nerve in the hub away from family and friends. However, clearly GWS, West Coast and North Melbourne struggled.
Their list still consists of the likes of Toby Greene, Josh Kelly, Jacob Hopper, Lachie Whitfield, Nick Haynes, Stephen Coniglio, Tim Taranto, Phil Davis, Callan Ward and Harry Perryman. This is a team that made the 2019 Grand Final with half of its list on one leg.
So, with that in mind, the Giants have to play hardball and get a player that can impact on the field for them now. AFL rules make it hard. The player they ask for in return must agree to the trade. It has to be brought up though and the question at least asked.
I’ve said this for years but asking for players in return needs to become normal in AFL trade talks. It's the norm in the U.S. For example, when then Cleveland star Kyrie Irving wanted out in 2017, LeBron James and Kevin Love wanted immediate compensation to help them win a title the next season. Therefore, Boston gave up Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round pick for Irving. Help for the now and a pick for the future, simple as that.
If I were Geelong in last year’s trade period, I would have asked for at least one player in exchange for Tim Kelly with a couple of draft picks as well. You are a team in the premiership hunt, about to lose one of your best midfielders, what are first round picks going to do for you?
I can tell you who didn’t want those first-round picks; Gary Ablett, Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood.
The same applies to GWS. Coniglio, Ward, Kelly, Taranto and all the rest couldn’t give two f***s about first-round picks. They want to win a premiership next year, get them players who have at least some experience at AFL level.
Why not ask the question about Esava Ratugolea? Maybe Rhys Stanley to strengthen their ruck stocks. Even some mid-sized players would be helpful, Jordan Clark, Charlie Constable, Quinton Narkle or a Tom Atkins who have all fallen out of favour in 2020.
Brandan Parfitt’s name has been mentioned, as has Ratugolea’s, Parfitt’s possible move being shut down by his manager Tim Lawrence today.
Ryan Burton was one of the high-profile forced moves of recent years, going from Hawthorn to Port. Photo: AFL Photos
For someone of Cameron’s calibre, one of these players, a first rounder and a second rounder would be fitting. Some help now and draft picks for extra compensation.
Port Adelaide did this in the off-season of 2018. Hawthorn were going hard at Power star Chad Wingard, so Port asked for then 21-year-old Ryan Burton in response. In a three-team trade that included Brisbane, the Power got back Burton, Sam Mayes, pick five, 15 and a future fourth rounder while giving up Wingard, pick six and two future third rounders.
Since the trade, Burton has played 16 and eight games in 2019 and 2020 respectively, this year hampered by injury. He was still able to be a starter in both of Port’s finals this season, while Mayes played six games in 2020.
The Power were able to get a young star that could come into their side and contribute straight away. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for, because Hawthorn are wanting to recruit one of your superstar players. Play hardball and get something in return. Just because your player wants out doesn’t mean you have to settle for picks.
GWS have to do the same. Cameron wants to leave, fair enough, he’s been a great servant of your club. However, play hardball. He’s a Coleman Medalist, two-time All-Australian, Best and Fairest winner and a nine-time leading goal kicker at the Giants. Oh, and he’s averaged two and-a-half goals per game throughout his career.
He is a star and they need to demand fair compensation for him. Geelong will know that and should be willing to depart with some of their young stars.
Cover Photo: Getty Images