Call them the Australian Democrats, because the Swans were keeping the … well, the other teams honest.
Recruiting boss Kinnear Beatson had flagged a willingness to trade out one of their two first-round picks, and in the end Sydney did just that, but not before forcing Adelaide and GWS to pay up.
The Grand Finalists came on the clock at pick 16, knowing their cross-town rivals were picking next, and made things extremely difficult for them by bidding for Academy prospect Harry Rowston.
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The Giants were forced to match the bid, but they paid full value, giving up pick 17 – instead of using a bunch of second and third-round picks to match it, as Brisbane did for Will Ashcroft and Jaspa Fletcher.
The exasperated reaction of Giants recruiter Adrian Caruso, captured on Fox Footy’s cameras, explained it all.
Not that the Giants claimed to be phased by their cross-town rival’s move.
“We planned for the scenario and ultimately it hasn’t affected us too much,” Caruso said after the draft.
“Not at all (were they more disgruntled it was Sydney). Clubs are doing what’s in the best interest for them, I don’t think the Swans owe us anything.
“It is what it is. We’re more looking at what’s our overall draft hand and we don’t feel like it’s affected us at the moment.”
But the Swans weren’t done there, bidding for Adelaide father-son Max Michalanney, after the South Australian side had hoped he would slide into the second round.
Perhaps Beatson and the Swans had in mind the great deal the Crows got for Jordan Dawson during the 2021 trade period, and wanted to make it a bit more even in retrospect.
And then after all of that, Sydney struck a deal with Hawthorn, sending out pick 18 in exchange for pick 27 plus the Hawks’ future second and third-round picks.
That could be an incredible deal for the Swans, given most expect the Hawks to be a wooden spoon contender in 2023. Sydney may end up giving away 18, but getting roughly 20, 27 and 40 – which would be a huge return.
In the end, the Swans blew up the end of the first round of the draft without even drafting a player in a great example of the modern mechanisms clubs can utilise.
“It’s amazing the impact a club can have in the modern way of trading and bidding on players,” Fox Footy talent guru Mick Ablett said.
“They haven’t made a selection yet, but they’ve significantly changed the outcome of the first round of the draft. They’ve affected ongoing picks of the GWS Giants and the Adelaide Crows.
“The beauty of the Swans is they’re not in a hurry. They’ve got a very young side and they’re set up well for the next three to five years. So they’re making some very calculated moves and ensuring that clubs pay what they should for the quality of player they are.”
Having gotten the absolute most out of their first selection, the Swans used their second a few slots later to nab Gippsland Power forward Jacob Konstanty – an aggressive medium/forward who’s happy to lay a tackle and models his game on Tom Papley.
So to recap, the Swans cost two of their rivals first rounders, drafted a Papley clone and added a lowly-ranked side’s future picks.
Quite the night.
Story Credit: foxsports.com.au