If this year’s breathless trade period has proved anything, it’s that we have not had to wait too long for a new bolt from the blue.
That was certainly the case today, as last year’s number one draft pick Tom Boyd stunned the Giants by requesting a trade to the Western Bulldogs. Of course, the news comes just four days after Dogs captain Ryan Griffen announced he was seeking a move in the opposite direction, leading some, including outspoken Bulldogs president Peter Gordon, to speculate a straight swap could be in the offing.
Several hours and thousands of speculative tweets later, The Age reported that the Saints had entered the fray by inquiring about Boyd’s availability with both the Giants and the young forward’s manager Liam Pickering.
I recently wrote a piece about the Saints’ possible pursuit of one of the Giants’ young key forwards – Boyd, Jonathan Patton and Jeremy Cameron. The article was written prior to Patton’s unfortunate knee injury, which will likely keep him out of action for much of next season. Still, I argued that the Saints should do all it can to attract one of the trio to Seaford, possibly in exchange for pick one in this year’s draft.
The Saints would certainly have explored the possibility in recent weeks and months, but with Boyd now seemingly keen on a return to Victoria – undoubtedly with the lure of an enormous pay packet – the Saints could figure in any potential trade.
But wait... hasn’t he nominated the Dogs?
It’s true that Boyd has requested a trade to the Bulldogs, but it’s not clear whether he would only entertain a trade to the Kennel. There would be several factors pulling Boyd to the Dogs, chiefly money and opportunity. But since last week, the club has also been without a coach and captain. While that may not constitute a “crisis” to the Dogs’ hierarchy, it’s not an especially enviable position, particularly when such key issues as list management and contracts are the number one concern of the day.
It must be said, however, that the Bulldogs deserve credit for their bold offer. This is a team that has not had dominant key forward for the best part of 25 years, and a straight swap of its unsettled captain for one of the best young spearheads in the country would be an almighty coup.
Right, but how do the Saints tie in?
The Saints have apparently made preliminary inquiries for Boyd. Of course, St Kilda holds the coveted number one pick. For their part, the Giants have reportedly expressed interest in trading up to draft Christian Petracca, nearly everyone’s presumed top selection. With the Giants said to be unwilling to trade Boyd for Griffen outright, would the Saints’ offer of pick one, assuming it were on the table, trump any other offer from the Bulldogs? It’s certainly plausible. The Bulldogs currently hold pick six, while rumours prior to Boyd’s bombshell indicated that the Giants may have been willing to part with pick four for Griffen.
Is Boyd even worth pick one in this year’s draft?
Most draft watchers say yes. It certainly makes sense practically – Boyd has spent a year in the AFL system and has some senior experience under his belt. The Saints have publicly stated their intention to trade for more selections in the first round of the next few drafts, but a straight swap of pick one for the promising Boyd would represent decent value for the club.
For the Saints, Boyd would also represent something of an heir apparent to champion skipper Nick Riewoldt, who himself would surely relish taking such a potential-laden prospect under his wing as he edges towards retirement.
What about financially?
Twitter has been abuzz with rumours about the financial terms proposed to Boyd by the Western Bulldogs, with some suggesting he has been offered up to $5 million over six years. That’s clearly far in excess of Boyd’s current value, but when you haven’t had a talented big forward for a quarter-century, the kitchen sink is tradeable.
The Saints may, and probably should, be hesitant to match or even approach the Dogs’ reported offer. Keep in mind, the club just made much of its recent #SaintsFutureFest, during which 19 youngsters recommitted to the club on certainly more modest terms. The club should be mindful of respecting its current squad when chasing players at a similar age.
Will the Giants even trade him?
So far, the Giants have steadfastly ruled out any prospect of Boyd leaving before the end of the week, with even chief executive officer Dave Matthews weighing in. But as player power grows increasingly prevalent, if Boyd remains equally steadfast in his push to return home, the Giants risk losing him for nothing in 12 months.
So what’s going to happen?
It’s too early to say. If Boyd were to be traded, the Bulldogs are quite clearly in the box seat, with Boyd having requested a trade there after hearing of their undoubtedly massive offer. But don’t sleep on the Saints, which still has pick one and surely retains an interest in him.
Should the Giants trade him to the Bulldogs, they could still satisfy the Saints’ want for more draft picks in a separate deal. With GWS expected to gain Carlton’s pick seven in a deal involving Kristian Jaksch, the Giants could offer picks four and seven, and possibly more, for the Saints’ pick one. Such a deal warrants an entirely separate post, but it shows that even Boyd choosing the Dogs could yield a silver lining for St Kilda.
Expect more twists and turns before the Trade Period ends on Thursday.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Would you trade pick one for Boyd?
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