The first piece of AFLW trade paperwork as been lodged, and it sees Collingwood’s best and fairest winner Nicola Stevens traded to the old enemy Carlton for a number of draft picks.
Stevens and pick 28 are off to Carlton in exchange for the Blues’ first three draft picks, selections 5, 13 and 21.
The Magpies already have pick 4 after finishing fifth on the AFLW ladder, and with players selected in separate state-based drafts, Collingwood’s picks 4 and 5 are as good as 2 and 3 in the Victorian draft.
Only the Western Bulldogs have a better Vic draft selection (pick three).
The news of the first official trade fits perfectly with the floating speculation that Victorian players representing Brisbane and GWS may seek a route home.
Though not a Victorian, Tayla Harris has already signalled her intent to move down south, and she could be joined by Lions teammate Kaitlyn Ashmore and Giants players Jessica Dal Pos, Phoebe McWilliams, Alex Saundry and Louise Stephenson.
The cost of living interstate is not supplemented by a standard AFLW contract. Taking Ashmore for example, she was offered a priority signing contract at a higher value than most players, and still had to take a job through the week.
Not knowing each of their personal circumstances, it’s all speculation. However, it seems reasonable that some will seek an avenue home.
It’s unlikely Brisbane or GWS will be able to secure trades for all of these players, with draft picks meaning little to interstate clubs who essentially have free reign over their respective state’s talent.
Collingwood’s pick 4 and newly acquired pick 5 mean the Magpies could clean up, either by selecting proven players or highly-touted future stars in Chloe Molloy or Isabel Huntington.
The Magpies will also have picks 12 and 13, as good as 6 and 7 in Victoria.
It all depends on how the cards fall, and more importantly, what the Western Bulldogs do with the first pick in the Vic draft.
It’s expected the Dogs will select Tayla Harris, and they now have a clear path to do so.
The only threat to the Bulldogs’ plan was Carlton, who have now used all of their ammunition to secure Stevens.
Alternatively for the Magpies, all of their high picks give them trading power with other Victorian clubs, and they could be used to secure the star midfield the list appears to be missing.
For Carlton, the signing of Nicola Stevens is a considerable get, but one that is somewhat of a head-scratcher.
The Blues’ critical missing element in season 2017 was a midfield that could match the opposition.
They were consistently beaten in the clearance stakes, and though were one of the top rebounding teams thanks to Brianna Davey and Danielle Hardiman, were under constant pressure.
This trade does give the Blues some options, however, as the acquisition of Stevens could allow Davey to go into the midfield, where she plays for the St Kilda Sharks in the VFLW.