GEELONG were one of the big winners of the 2020 trade period strengthening its list with the addition of three big names and improving its 2021 draft hand.
Speaking exclusively to Cats Media, Recruiting and List Manager Stephen Wells shed some insight into the Geelong’s free agency and trade period window, and the deals that went down.
On face value some may view the three first-round draft picks that helped secure Jeremy Cameron as a lop-sided deal. However, many overlook the ‘deal within a deal’ as Wells describes it, which saw Geelong secure two future second round selections for what many are predicting will be a blockbuster 2021 draft.
“I think all along we were willing to part with two first round picks for Jeremy because that was a fair deal,” Wells said.
“Once that extra third first round pick became involved, we needed it to be almost a deal that stood up on its own, the deal within a deal, but to get two second round picks back for the 2021 draft is an enormous result for our club.”
Wells and his list management team haven’t ruled out the possibility of trading up on draft night should a player they like be within reach.
“We are doing our work on the draft at the moment with Troy Selwood and Liam Woodland, the list management team will consider if it’s a good idea to trade up and pick a player this year or to move into next year’s draft.
“List spots are pretty tight at the moment but another part of our strategy about trading into next year was because list sizes are coming down and bringing in three recruits, it is pretty tight on our list, so for us trading up into this year’s draft and getting a player will be a big decision for us, but either way we think we will be okay.”
Wells was pleased that Geelong were also able to secure classy onballer Shaun Higgins, 12 months after failing to lure the two-time best and fairest winner to GMHBA Stadium.
“That worked out well. The negotiations with North Melbourne were very good all the way through.
“Shaun was a target player last year and it would have been nice to have had him then too, but we are really looking forward with what he can provide us over the next couple of years.”
The Cats were also able to welcome triple premiership winning Hawk Isaac Smith as a free agent, who will provide Geelong with a left footed midfield option, something they didn’t have this year.
“Isaac’s motivated for success,” he said.
“He obviously had a great career at Hawthorn, a terrific club and it was an enormous decision for him to leave and he had a few options, so for him to come to Geelong - he sees it as an opportunity to have success as a footballer.”
Another pleasing aspect of the trade period for the Cats was the commitment from some of their younger prospects, namely Esava Ratugolea and Jordan Clark, who are determined to stay at the club and fight for a spot in the club’s best 22.
However, the club did farewell Nakia Cockatoo and Lachie Fogarty.
“They both moved on for their own reasons and were terrific while they were here and everyone wishes them the best in the future, but we have got a lot of good young players that we are trying to find opportunities for, and it looks like at next year’s draft we will be bringing it a good group of players again.
“With our list management strategy, it is hard to get it exactly right and you need to be adaptable and nimble for better words.
"When the opportunity came to get Jeremy and having to give away some picks we thought we may have had in this year’s draft, then we just move our list management strategy back a year for next year, but there are many good young players here and hopefully that Is where our future lies.”
Geelong concludes the trade period with picks 51 and 96 in this year's draft which will be held on 9 December.