Carlton started the night with pick nine and didn’t end up using it on a player, but made sure Fremantle and GWS were asked to pay a decent market price for their players. Then they got Brodie Kemp, the player they wanted at pick nine, at pick 17.
The Blues had three offers to use pick nine and eventually traded out to the Gold Coast for pick 17.
In the trade period GWS traded aggressively to get ahead of Sydney, fearing a bid for their academy player Tom Green. Whether the Swans would have taken him if the pick was “live” and not a charade – knowing the Giants would match the bid – is moot. The Swans didn’t bother playing the game.
Remarkably other clubs thought the same thing and let Green slide for the next few picks. The surprise was that when a bid on an academy player did finally come it didn’t come for Green.
Carlton was the club that said enough was enough, games or not these players are too good to continue to be let through. They had pick nine and they called out Liam Henry, a player Freo had dibs on. Freo matched the bid – it was about the area clubs thought he might go so probably an accurate market price.
Then the Blues they called out Green. GWS matched. This was later than expected on Green.
Then in a canny bit of trading the Blues traded out to the Gold Coast. They gave up pick 11 and got back pick 17 and 22 in exchange. Pre-draft they had earmarked Kemp as one of the players they liked at nine.
Evidently they did their maths, or at least picked through the intelligence on what they thought clubs were likely to do with picks 12-16, and took the punt Kemp might still be there for them at 17. So it proved.
This was a bold and clever trading by Carlton because they were then able to pair 22 with pick 55 to buy their way to pick 20 – and thus back into the first round. Then they picked a player in Sam Philp that had the feel of the classic draft bolter about him for some. Other recruiters love him and liked the choice.
Whether the Blues had the best of the selections on the night, arguably they made the best of their selections.
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.