The Western Bulldogs shape to be the first club to leverage the AFL's new live trading of draft picks with three clubs circling their first draft pick.
The possibility has emerged that the Dogs could trade their pick to move a few places in the draft in exchange for an extra draft pick in this or next year's draft, and still secure the player they wanted.
Adelaide, Port Adelaide and Greater Western Sydney are all keenly interested in the Dogs' first selection at pick seven. The three clubs have eight of the next 12 picks in the draft after the Dogs' pick seven, with the Crows holding eight, 13 and 16, the Power 10 and 15, and the Giants nine, 11 and 19.
It is highly unlikely that any of the clubs with the first six picks – Carlton, Gold Coast, St Kilda and Port – will trade their early selections, so the Dogs' pick shapes as an attractive, attainable, option.
The Bulldogs are believed to be keen on midfielder Bailey Smith while the clubs after them have other priorities. So potentially the Dogs could trade seven and still get Smith, or another player they rate equally, as well as an extra draft pick.
Adelaide have the next pick in the draft at eight so while it would seem unusual for them to trade to move one place in the draft it makes sense if they feared another club, such as Port Adelaide, were to trade for the pick and leapfrog them into pick seven.
That would especially be the case if a prized South Australian talent such as Connor Rozee unexpectedly slipped through and was still available.
"I would imagine every club is open minded to the possibilities of live trading and we are in the same position," Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said.
"The challenge for us and for everyone is that this is the first time we are doing it and we are doing it with a five-minute pick period. There is a tight time frame on it."
This year is the first time the AFL has permitted live trading of draft picks. The draft this year is spread over two days, commencing with the first round on Thursday night and resuming for the remainder of the draft on Friday afternoon.
Most clubs believe there will be more trading in the back end of the draft as this is a draft popularly considered to be strong at the top end but thinner for talent after the first 30 players. Also, once clubs have traded for academy and father-son players and have clarity around what points they need, they will be more inclined to trade picks.
Michael Gleeson is a senior AFL football writer and Fairfax Media's athletics writer. He also covers tennis, cricket and other sports. He won the AFL Players Association Grant Hattam Trophy for excellence in journalism for the second time in 2014 and was a finalist in the 2014 Quill Awards for best sports feature writer. He was also a finalist in the 2014 Australian Sports Commission awards for his work on Boots for Kids. He is a winner of the AFL Media Association award for best news reporter and a two-time winner of Cricket Victorias cricket writer of the year award. Michael has covered multiple Olympics, Commonwealth Games and world championships and 15 seasons of AFL, He has also written seven books – five sports books and two true crime books.