The free agency period began at the end of October and ran through the first week of November. The first day was a busy one with five players heading to other clubs. The breakdown on the first day:
Adelaide's Rory Atkins joined Gold Coast as an unrestricted free agent. The Suns received an end of round two draft selection as compensation. Atkins, 26, played 101 games for the Crows but managed just four in 2020. The Crows were unable to match the lucrative offer made by the Suns, believed to be worth $400,000 per year for five years. Atkins advise the club in August he would explore rival offers and left the club before the end of the season.
Zac Williams joined Carlton from GWS. The Giants received a first round compensation draft selection. Williams, 25, requested a trade to be closer to family in Victoria. He listed Carlton as his preference after 113 games with the Giants.
Unrestricted free agent Isaac Smith joined Geelong with the Hawks receiving a round three compensation selection. Smith was a mature age recruit in 2010 and played 210 games with the Hawks. He was a key member of Hawthorn's three-peat premierships. Smith, 31, had interest from Melbourne and a new two year deal on offer from the Hawks but chose the Cats as his preference. He said it was for a lifestyle change and that it was a difficult decision. he joked that Cat fans would be happy at his arrival after two last gasp misses for goal in 2016 and 2017 which handed Geelong victory, "I've already won them two games ... so I'm guessing the fans will be happy."
Aidan Corr, 26, joined North Melbourne as a restricted free agent, with GWS receiving a second round compensation selection. Corr told GWS at the end of the year he wanted to return home to Victoria. The Irish recruit played 98 games for the Giants.
Joe Daniher, who requested a trade at the end of 2019, has gotten his wish and joined Brisbane on a three year deal which Essendon chose not to match. The Bombers receive a first round compensation pick. Daniher, 26, played 108 games and kicked 191 goals. However, groin injuries restricted him to just 15 games over the past three seasons.
Just after the free agency period ended, the trade period began. About a week after the Tigers' Grand Final win, Oleg Markov requested a trade with Gold Coast his preferred choice and the two clubs were able to broker the deal with Gold Coast giving up their 2021 their round draft selection. Markov 24, played 23 games in five seasons with the Tigers and was a member of the 2019 premiership side.
Forward Jesse Hogan told Fremantle he wanted to be traded to GWS and the two clubs came to an agreement with the Dockers receiving selection 54. The Giants received the selection from West Coast for forward Zac Langdon. Hogan 25, had requested a trade to the Giants. Hogan was originally drafted by Melbourne and played 71 games before being traded to Fremantle for a further 71 games. He has kicked 170 goals in his career. Langdon had previously told GWS he wanted to return to West Australia to be closer to his family after being drafted by GWS in 2017. He played 31 games and kicked 23 goals for GWS.
Restricted free agent Brad Crouch joined St KIlda after the Crows declined to match the Saints' offer of a long-term contract Crouch, 24, wanted more from the Crows than they were willing to offer, and joins the Saints on a four year deal to bolster their midfield. Crouch played 95 games with the Crows in eight seasons. Adelaide received selection 23 in this year's draft in exchange. Crouch won Adelaide's best and fairest award in 2019.
Delisted free agent Shaun McKernan has signed with St Kilda on a one year deal. McKernan, 30, was originally drafted by Adelaide where he played 34 games before being traded to Essendon in 2015. He played 53 games for the Bombers. The Saints believe McKernan, a ruck/forward can bolster their attack along with Paddy Ryder, ben King and Rowan Marshall.
Defender Kyle Hartigan, 28, has joined Hawthorn as an unrestricted free agent after 113 games with the Crows, including 12 in 2020. As a free agent, Hawthorn could have gotten him for nothing, but opted to trade so as not to lose their compensation selection for the departed Isaac Smith. Hawthorn gave Adelaide a future round four draft selection in exchange.
Mitch Hannan, 26, has been traded to the Western Bulldogs, signing a two year deal. Melbourne, in exchange, received the Bulldogs 2021 third round selection. Hannan was playing for the Footscray Bulldogs in the VFL when he was drafted as a mature-age forward in 2016, He played in Footcray's VFL premiership in 2016, played 50 games and kicked 55 goals for Melbourne. Hannan has speed, can apply tackling pressure and has the versatility to play a variety of positions.
Mature-age ruckman Braydon Preuss was traded by Melbourne to GWS in exchange for the Giants selection 31. Preuss, 25, is 6'7" and 250 lbs. He was originally drafted by North Melbourne in the 2015 rookie draft and spent four seasons there learning his craft under Todd Goldstein. He played just eight games before being traded to Melbourne in 2018. He managed just seven more games with the Demons, playing second fiddle to Max Gawn.
With Joe Daniher off to Brisbane, Shaun McKernan gone to St Kilda and Tom Bellchambers retired, Essendon was in the market for a tall forward and they got him in Peter Wright from Gold Coast. The Suns received a future fourth round selection from the Bombers. Wright signed a three year contract. Wright, 24, played 66 games for the Suns in six seasons with the Suns. He played 17 games in 2019 but failed to play any in 2020 due to the Suns opting for young gun Ben King and the emergence of Sam Day. He was an emergency on more than 10 occasions. With so many short turnarounds, Wright missed out on playing a number of scratch matches to press his claims for a recall and was left on the sidelines. Wright also has the capability to be a backup ruckman to support the emerging and still developing Sam Draper.
A three way trade between Brisbane, North Melbourne, and the Bulldogs saw Brisbane ruckman Stefan Martin join the Bulldogs and rookie Bulldog defender Lachie Young join the Kangaroos. As part of the deal, Brisbane traded their selection 70 to the Kangaroos and received North's selection 63. Martin, 33, was not offered a new contract by the Lions after 190 games in 13 seasons - including the 2020 finals. After missing out on acquiring Hawk Ben McEvoy, the Bulldogs are delighted to have someone who can support and mentor young rucks Tim English and Jordan Sweet. Young, 21, requested a trade to North after managing just eight games since being drafted in the 2018 rookie draft. He was behind Hayden Crozier, Jason Johannisen and Caleb Daniel in the defensive pecking order and was looking for more playing opportunities. For Brisbane, it leaves Oscar McInerney as primary ruckman with Archie Smith as his backup.
Brisbane gave Melbourne their round three selection and their 2021 round four selection in exchange for Melbourne's round three selection and the 2021 round four selection. The trade allows Melbourne to move up 10 spots this year and the Lions to skip ahead next year. Melbourne's only pick ahead of the one it traded for is selection 26.
Adelaide and Melbourne also swapped selections. Adelaide gave up their second and third round selections in exchange for Melbourne's future second and fourth round picks.
Geelong traded Lachie Fogarty and their selection 48 to Carlton in exchange for Carlton's selections 30 and 51. They also traded Nakia Cockatoo to Brisbane for a future round three selection (acquired by the Lions in an earlier trade with Melbourne). Fogarty was originally drafted in 20176and played 15 games for the Cats in hi first season but was hampered by injury in 2019, In the past two seasons, Fogarty, 21, played a further eight games for a total of 23 in three seasons. He also kicked six goals. Fogarty was highly rated as a junior with excellent agility, speed and skills.
Geelong also traded the speedy Nakia Cockatoo to Brisbane in exchange for a future third round selection (acquired from Melbourne in an earlier trade). Cockatoo, 24, was drafted in 2014 but played just two games due to injuries. A versatile type, he can play defense, forward and midfield.
Essendon traded Adam Saad and their selections 48 and 78 to Carlton in exchange for selections eight and 87 in this year's draft. Possessing exceptional speed, Saad is rated as one of the best small defenders in the league. Saad, 26, also has the skills to shut some of the most dangerous small forwards in the game. He has been a very consistent player for the Bombers with four finishes in the top 10 in Essendon's best and fairest. He missed just one game in his last four seasons and has played 109 games.
Sydney traded Alir Alir to Port Adelaide in exchange for a future second round selection. Alir signed a four year deal with the Power. Alir, 26, was drafted in 2013 and played 64 games for the Swans. An athletic defender with an excellent leap and intercept skills, he can rebound out of defense, Alir can also pinch-hit in the ruck and the Swans even had him play forward on occasion.
North Melbourne traded Shaun Higgins to Geelong in exchange for selection 30 (acquired from Carlton in the Fogarty trade). Higgins was originally drafted by the Western Bulldogs in 2005 and played 129 games and kicked 128 goals. He signed with North Melbourne in 2014 as a restricted free agent after the Bulldogs opted not to match North's offer. He played a further 108 games and kicked 96 goals for the Kangaroos. Higgins earned All Australian honors in 2018 and won the Kangaroos best & fairest in 2017 and 2018. His sister Danielle plays for Geelong's AFLW team.
West Coast traded big man Tom Hickey, their selections 34 and 60 to Sydney in exchange for Sydney's second round future selection (acquired from Port) as well as Sydney's selections 58 and 62 in this year's draft. Hickey, 29, requested the trade to be closer to family. Originally drafted by Gold Coast in 2010, Hickey played 12 games for the Suns but requested a trade to St Kilda at the end of 2012 to be closer to his then girlfriend. He played 67 games for the Saints but was troubled by injuries for several seasons at St KIlda and was traded to the Eagles at the end of 2018 where he played 23 games.
North Melbourne traded forward Ben Brown, their selection 28 and a future round four selection to Melbourne in exchange for Melbourne's selections 26, 33 and a future round four selection. The trade strengthens North's draft position. Brown was drafted in 2013, played 130 games and kicked 287 goals.
Young Richmond midfielder/forward Jack HIggins requested a trade for more opportunities and named St KIlda - the club he supported growing up - as his preferred destination. he Saints gave up their selection 17 and their 2021 round two selection. Higgins, 21, was drafted by the Tigers in 2017 and played 43 games. In 2019, he suffered a brain bleed which required two surgeries but fought his way back to play 10 games in 2020.
Collingwood traded forwards Jaidyn Stephenson and Atu Bosenavulagi and their selection 39 to North Melbourne. North received Collingwood's selections 26, 33 and 70. The deal strengthens Collingwood's draft hand. Stephenson was drafted in 2017 and played 76 games and kicked 76 goals in his three seasons as a Magpie, He won the Rinsing Star Award in 2018. His 2020 season was delayed due to a bout of glandular fever. Bosenavulagi, 20, was drafted in 2018 and played three games - all in 2020. He comes from a rugby background and the Kangaroos believe his speed and tackling pressure will be of great benefit.
Orazio Fantasia, originally from South Australia, requested a trade back home at the end of 2019 but a suitable deal could not be brokered. He again requested the trade, nominating Port Adelaide as his preference. Along with Fantasia, 25, Essendon gave up their selection 73. Port gave Essendon a second round selection and a future round three selection. Fantasia was drafted in 2013 and played 80 games and kicked 111 goals. He was a Rising Star nominee twice, was named best club man twice and won an award for most improved player. He has had injury issues the past several seasons and played just five games in 2020. He was a member of Norwood's 2013 premiership team which was coached by current Port forward coach Nathan Bassett.
Colllingwood traded winger Tom Phillips to Hawthorn in exchange for a round four selection. Phillips, 24, was drafted in 2015 and played 89 games. He spent much of 2020 as a small forward due to the emergence of a new midfield group at the Pies.
Collingwood rounded out their trading by sending midfielder Adam Treloar, 27, to the Western Bulldogs They also gave the Bulldogs selections 26, 33 (received from North Melbourne in an earlier trade) and selection 42. The Bulldogs gave Collingwood their selection 14 and a future round two selection. Treloar was originally drafted by GWS in 2011 and played 79 games before being traded to Collingwood at the end of 2015. He played a further 94 games for the Pies.
At the end of their season, forward Jeremy Cameron told GWS he wanted to be traded to Geelong to be closer to family. Prior to the trade period, Geelong made a bid for Cameron, a restricted free agent, but GWS matched Geelong's offer. forcing a trade. The Giants were keen to keep Cameron but are believed to have offered him a five year deal for $750,000 which was less than what he was previously getting. Cameron agreed to join the Cats on a five year deal believed to be worth around $900,000 per season. Geelong gave up selections 13, 15, 20 and a future round four selection to the Giants in return for Cameron and the Giants and Essendon’s second round picks in the 2021. Cameron was drafted in 2011 and played 171 games and kicked 427 goals, both a club record for GWS. He was named All-Australian in 2013 and 2019, won the Coleman Medal in 2019 and the club best and fairest in 2013. He has led the club's goal kicking every year since his debut. He is fifth on the AFL's goals list.
The trade sees the Giants make history for several reasons. It is the first time a club has matched a rival club's bid for a player. It also is the first time a single club has secured three first round draft selections for one player.
Jye Caldwell, who also requested a trade, went to Essendon for GWS' selection 29 and a future round two selection. The latter selection on-traded to Geelong as part of the historic Cameron deal. Caldwell was drafted in 2018 but has played just 11 games in two seasons.
Speedy St Kilda Nick Hind was traded to Essendon. The Saints also gave up selection 77. Essendon gave the Saints selections 67 and 74.Hind, 26 , was playing for Essendon's VFL side before being drafted by St Kilda in 2018. He played 21 games for the Saints. Essendon sees Hind, who was out of contract this year, as a forward line replacement for Orazio Fantasia.
Brisbane traded defender Alex Witherden and their selection 86 to West Coast in exchange for selection 58 and future round three selection. Witherden, 22, still had two years to run on his contract. He was drafted in 2016 and played 53 games for the Lions. He managed just six in 2020 due the acquisition of Grant Birchall and Callum Ah Chee and the development of Brandon Starcevich. He has a two year deal with the Eagles who see him as a replacement for veteran Shannon Hurn.
Jackson Hately, 19, requested a trade from GWS back home to Adelaide .Drafted in 2018, the midfielder played just 13 games as he was unable to cement a spot in the side. However, a deal between the two clubs could not be agreed upon before the closing deadline for the trade period.
Josh Dunkley, 24, requested a trade from the Bulldogs to Essendon with the hope of spending more time in the midfield. Dunkley, who has two seasons to run on his contract, also said he would be happy to remain with the Bulldogs if a suitable trade could not be done. It is believed Dunkley was offered a four year deal at $650,000 per season. The Bombers are also believed to have promised to draft his brother Kyle who was delisted by Melbourne after being picked up in the 2019 midseason draft. The clubs were unable to come to an agreement so Dunkley will remain a Bulldog.
Shortly after their Grand Final victory, Richmond delisted Luke English and Fraser Turner. Both were drafted in 2018 but never played a senior game. Both did, however, play in Richmond's VFL premiership team.
Shortly after the trade period got underway, the Western Bulldogs delisted Billy Gowers, Fergus Greene and Brad Lynch. Gowers, 24, was drafted in 2017 and played three senior games in 2020. Greene, 22, was drafted in 2016 and played five games in 2018. Lynch, 23, was drafted in 2018 and played nine games that year.
St KIlda delisted Matthew Parker and Ed Phillips.. Parker, 24, was drafted in 2018 and played 19 games. Phillips, 22, was drafted in 2016. debuted in 2018 and played a total of 15 games. List manager James Gallagher described Philllps as hardworking, dedicated and always willing to help others.
Just after the trade period ended, Port Adelaide delisted Jake Patmore. Patmore, 21, was drafted in 2017 but never played a senior game. He played 18 games in 2018 in the SANFL, but missed all of 2019 due to a ruptured ACL, and was still working his back to full fitness in 2020.
About a week after the trade period concluded, Melbourne delisted defender Oscar McDonald. McDonald was drafted in 2014 and played 81 games. He played all 25 games in 2018, but just 12 in 2019 with the club opting for Steven May and Jake Lever. He was nominated for the Rising Star Award in 2016.
The club also delisted Aaron Nietschke but they are committed to redrafting him as a rookie in December. Nietschke’s AFL career has gotten off to a rocky start. Drafted in 2018, the young defender ruptured his ACL just before the 2019 season. He was on the road to recovery but suffered the same injury which put him out once more for the 2020 season.
Carlton delisted Harrison Macreadie, Callum Moore, Fraser Phillips and Cameron Polson, joining fellow delisted players Hugh Goddard, Darcy Lang, Finbar O’Dwyer and Ben Silvagni. Macreadie and Polson were both drafted in 2016. Macreadie played nine games while Polson played 19 games. Moore was drafted in 2019 and played two games in 2020 while Phillips failed to make his debut after being selected in last year's rookie draft.
Sources: Club Media Releases - Allison Zell (GWS), Karla Zanardo (North Melbourne), Adrian Ceddia (Western Bulldogs), Loretta Johns (Sydney), Kevin Diggerson (Geelong), Loukas Fouten (Port Adelaide), Nicki Malady (Richmond), Stephen Rielly (Collingwood), Clair White (St KIlda), Matt Goodrope (Melbourne), afl.com.au. theage.com.au, AFL Record Season Guide
Article last changed on Monday, September 12, 2022 - 5:09 PM EDT