It is a business after all, so it is not uncommon to see key AFL players bolt from top teams to lesser ones for the prospect of a heft contract.
Then, there are those instances that find a player jumping out of one frying pan into another, as seems to be the case of Fremantle’s Lachie Neal going to the Brisbane Lions for 2019.
A rather elaborate trade scenario involving the Dockers, Lions and the Port Adelaide Power is unfolding, although the final details have yet to be locked down. The early speculation is that the Power will receive the number four pick in the next draft and the Dockers to receive to top 10 picks.
The fourth pick would come from Brisbane to Port, with Neale going to Brisbane.
Neale is not giving away much in terms of league standings. He would drop one spot from the 14th rung to the 15th if the swap in consummated and given the uncertainty that surrounds football players’ careers, it would be hoped that by switching kits, Neale would be well compensated in the bargain.
For Port, the deal would potentially allow them to pick up valuable South Australian talent with the fourth pick; something the Crows would like to do as well, as both clubs finished outside finals despite seemingly having September play as their aim at the beginning of the season.
The Dockers, despite losing Neale, would find some talent with the ninth and 10th pick, but might instead use the high picks to pry Jesse Hogan back to Perth from Melbourne.
Both Hogan and Neale have deals with their current clubs that run through the 2019 AFL season, but both have indicated a willingness to make the move, but the trade scenarios involved absolutely dictate that Fremantle and Melbourne would not release either player without the proposition of a worthwhile trade package being offered.
Fremantle needs young talent to its list that has been carried by Nate Fyfe for too long. The way things stand, that would be hard to do, as their current draft position, other than the five, does not hold a lot of promise unless a roughie can be found with the 77th pick.