Tom Boyd, predicted no.1 draft pick. GWS Giants trading opportunities.
No.1 prospect lives up to hype’Highest rated since Riewoldt’Hawks do Buddy sumsVote: trade for no.1 pick?
Greater Western Sydney has declared each of its draft picks, including a potential No.1 selection, is up for grabs during this year’s trade period as the club ramps up its bid to catch an elusive big fish.
Satisfied with the talent they have mined from the 2011-12 drafts, the Giants are hunting players entering the prime of their careers – and they may also have the bait to entice rival clubs to bite.
”Every draft pick, including pick one, is on the table,” Giants football manager Graeme Allan said.
”We’re at the stage we’ve got a few pick ones so we probably need experienced players.”
The revelation means the Giants could theoretically secure Lance Franklin through free agency, plus at least one other young but proven elite player.
GWS CEO David Matthews has criticised Melbourne clubs for failing to get deals done with the Giants in previous trade periods.
“I think in particular the Victorian clubs probably should have worked a bit harder to get the likes of Jaeger O’Meara, Jack Martin and you even saw (Brad) Crouch on the weekend is this week’s NAB Rising Star, Matthews told SEN radio Tuesday.
“They’re players we had the rights to and the rights to trade and in the end without getting anything of value we converted those players to picks.
“Jaeger O’Meara should have been probably at a Victorian club for a couple of mature players for us.
“I thought having watched kids like O’Meara coming through the development pathway that there would have been a more concerted effort with a player like that.”
Also speaking on SEN later on Tuesday, Carlton CEO Greg Swann accused Matthews of a “little bit of rewriting of history” with his version of trading discussions with GWS.
But many clubs would surely now be eyeing Suns prodigy O’Meara, who is averaging 23 possessions in his first season, and wondering whether Matthews is right.
Commentator and former Essendon great Tim Watson said on Monday that O’Meara could become the greatest midfielder in the game’s history.
Winless after 10 rounds, the league’s newest club is well placed to secure its third No.1 selection in as many years. It has also activated a compensation pick, likely to be around No.11, while its second-round selection, in the low 20s, is also likely to arouse interest.
Allan refused to speculate what calibre of player it would take to part ways with their prized top pick but it’s commonly accepted in recruiting circles a top-five draft pick should, barring injury, become a 200-gamer for that club.
One insider at an established club with knowledge in the field said the No.1 pick was worth ”at a minimum” a player around the 21-to-23 age bracket with close to 100 games who was ”already a star”. The insider said a player of the ilk of Richmond’s Trent Cotchin, who recently signed a new deal, would fit that billing.
At 26, Franklin is too old to satisfy this criteria but the Giants can secure the Hawthorn champion through restricted free agency by offering a contract the Hawks cannot match or through the pre-season draft.
Both recruiting methods would leave the Giants’ haul of draft picks intact to lure other stars. Unlike in free agency, the Giants can trade for contracted players but would need that player’s club to agree to a deal before any transfer can occur.
The last time a club traded away the No.1 pick was 2001 when Fremantle gave up access to Luke Hodge and another pick that netted Hawthorn Sam Mitchell in return for Trent Croad and Luke McPharlin. With Tom Boyd, a 199 centimetres and 102 kilograms power forward, the early favourite to be the No.1 pick, the Giants are set to attract interest from clubs on the hunt for a gun spearhead. The Western Bulldogs, St Kilda and Brisbane Lions would dearly love a young forward and with their premiership windows firmly shut might be more prepared to give up a decent player than a club such as Carlton or Fremantle.
The Giants, with Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton, are well stocked in attack.
Allan would not comment when asked who was on the club’s radar but the Giants have clear deficiencies in the key defensive posts and the ruck.
The Giants, however, have struggled to attract proven stars without the lure of exorbitant sums and remain disappointed no established clubs were prepared to trade players for talent in the mini-draft.
”The only club that offered near value was the Gold Coast, hence they got them for early picks, but we would have preferred more elite players in that regard,” Allan said.
”The first two years we tried to bring in some senior players and we also tried to bring in some elite senior players but we found that fairly difficult.
”We have been looking. It’s not easy to get players from other clubs. Exactly where I won’t go into … but we need to put senior players around our kids now.”
But Matthews feels the preponderance of young players on the GWS list means his club will get deals done even even it if has to spend a lot of money on Franklin.
“I think what Graeme Allan and Steve Silvagni have done so far in the list build is get the best talent into the club and a lot of it is young talent and therefore there is a bit of room (in the salary cap). So we’re considering all sorts of scenarios at the moment…”
He pinpointed a key defender and a key forward as the main targets of his recruiting team over the next six months.
Allan was confident the Giants were capable of taking a ”major step” forward in their third season, just as Gold Coast has this year, but would not divulge a pass mark for 2013.
”There’s only one club each year who gets a pass and that’s the team that wins the premiership,” Allan said. ”We’ve got to aim like every club does for that. How long it takes I can’t give you an answer.
”It’s tough and hard work but you see signs and glimpses of brilliance from the kids every week.
”It’s just not sustainable at the moment but you know it’s going to happen.”
– with Will Brodie
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