All-Time WORST AFL Trades

Ahh, the AFL trade period…

Wheeling and dealing is taking place.

Fans are hitting constant refresh on the trade day blog on the various footy websites.

Dazza from Hoppers Crossing is calling into Trade Radio suggesting a radical 18-way trade that somehow gets Dustin Martin to North Melbourne.

Tom Browne is tweeting things that only Tom Browne can.

The Big Footy Forums are providing the biggest inside word and hot tip-offs that not even Deep Throat could inform Woodward and Bernstein in Watergate.

Adrian Dodoro is making sure the Bombers continue their trade period premiership dynasty.

To celebrate the AFL trade period, which now drags on longer than the US election, we’re recapping just some of the dud deals from over the years.

Feel free to contribute in our comments section on Facebook with some of your own memorable dud AFL trade deals.

Fremantle’s First Draft 1994 

The Dockers first-ever venture into recruitment is considered the gold standard in dud trades.

The card reads as follows:

A young man by the name of Andrew McLeod was all set to join the inaugural Dockers squad for the 1995 season when the then coach of the club Gerard Neesham thought he had a bit of an attitude problem.

Fremantle did a deal for Chris Groom from the Adelaide Crows to head west and for McLeod to become a Crow.


McLeod went on to be a 300 gamer, dual premiership player/Norm Smith Medalist and five-time All-Australian.

Groom played five games for Freo in 1995, was delisted and then played a further five for North Melbourne.

It didn’t just stop with Chris Groom either.

Freo though they got the deal of a lifetime when they lured Tony Delaney and Todd Ridley out West.

The Dockers handed pick 4 in the 1994 draft and a compensation pick which resulted in Essendon drafting Matthew Lloyd and Scott Lucas.

Fremantle 2001 

The Dockers also took a deal that allowed Hawthorn’s Luke McPharlin and Trent Croad head West in exchange for pick 1 at the 2001 “super draft”.

In exchange, Hawthorn picked up Luke Hodge – a three-time premiership player, Norm Smith Medalist and legend of the game.

Trent Croad also ended up back at Hawthorn in 2004 and McPharlin went on to have a pretty good career overall.

For the Hawks it was a brilliant deal, as for Freo it’s another classic Dockers trade howler.

Josh Kennedy: Hawthorn to Sydney 2009

So Hawthorn didn’t suffer from trading Josh Kennedy away, but it’s one they would most certainly like to take back.

The Hawks trading someone from the Kennedy bloodline could have been seen as sacrilege in the first place but the deal was done.

Hawthorn traded Josh Kennedy to Sydney for pick 39, which saw them draft Sam Grimley – a man who played three games for the Hawks.

Kennedy on the other hand, became a premiership player, named swans captain, three-time All-Australian, three-time Sydney best and fairest and played his 250th game this season.

Brad Ottens: Richmond to Geelong 2004

When Terry Wallace arrived at Tigerland with a five-year plan in 2004, he and his recruiting team opted to trade away the former number 2 draft pick Brad Ottens to Geelong in return for two first-round draft picks.

The draft picks the Tigers picked up was Danny Meyer (pick 12) and Adam Pattison (pack 16).

Meyer managed only 16 games for the Tigers and Pattison played 61 games.

Ottens would go on to play in three Geelong premierships, 116 games for his new club and his noted for his efforts in the 2007 Preliminary Final for the Cats against Collingwood.

Aaron Hamill: Carlton to St Kilda 2000 

Aaron Hamill wasn’t happy with life at Princes Park so the Blues traded him to St Kilda in exchange for pick 4 and another priority pick at the 2000 national draft.

Carlton picked up household names such as Luke Livingston and Sam Cranage.

Hamill would go on to be the captain of the Saints and be a regular feature of finals football.

Brendan Fevola: Carlton to Brisbane 2010 

After a string of off-field related incidents including that infamous night at the Brownlow medal, Carlton had no choice but to give Fev the Freo heave-ho.

Despite the warning labels, Brisbane was keen to send Fevola up North and were willing to throw everything including the kitchen sink including Daniel Bradshaw and Michael Rischitelli, who opted to be traded after being used as bait to Carlton.

In the end, Brisbane gave the Blues pick 12 and Lachie Henderson.

Fev’s one season at the Gabba was one to forget and he was sacked by the Lions during the 2010 off-season.


Things have most certainly changed for the Brisbane Lions since the Fev trade.

These days, the Lions are a highly sought-after destination club (with a wonderful major sponsor if we do say so ourselves) and many players are knocking on the door to be part of the pride.

Joe Daniher becoming a Lion is a great example of this and we can’t wait to see him in the maroon, blue and gold in season 2021.

Jordan McMahon: Western Bulldogs – Richmond 2007 

Richmond sent pick 19 to the Western Bulldogs in order to lure Jordan McMahon to Punt Road.

The Western Bulldogs used pick 19 to draft Callan Ward, McMahon would only play 34 games for the Tigers – a dud deal, on paper that is.

If anything this is not the all-time worst AFL trade.

This is the sliding doors moment which took Richmond from a laughing stock to the absolute powerhouse they are today.

Jordan McMahon kicked that goal after the siren against Melbourne in 2009, allowing the Dees who did not tank (but got fined) to receive picks 1 and 2 in the national draft for which they recruited Tom Scully (1) and Jack Trengrove (2).

Richmond opted to pick some kid by the name of Dustin Martin at number 3.

It was all part of the plan.

Mitchell White: West Coast to Geelong 2000 

You may remember Mitchell White as the player Kevin Sheedy did a throat-slitting action at when playing for West Coast in 2000.

Later that year, White was lured to Geelong from the Eagles on a three-year deal which was rumoured to be worth $1 million in exchange for draft picks.

White was 28 years old at the time when he arrived at Geelong and had injury issues with his knee.

He would go on to play 23 games for the Cats which averages out to around $43.5k per game.


Essendon Winning Every Trade Period Premiership 

Like clockwork, the name Adrian Dodoro and constant speculation about Essendon landing a big-name player that will bring the Bombers back to the promised land.

Then once they land the messiah, the media froths over Essendon’s prospects – case in point:

It wasn’t that long ago that the Trade Period was trade week, everything all done in a nice tidy package.

Instead, it drags on and on and given that the Trade period gives fans of clubs that haven’t had much success in recent years hope and something to be excited about, in typical AFL style they milk it for all it’s worth.
Essendon is a great example of this.

The Bombers haven’t won a flag in over 20 years and as of time of publish it’s 5,911 days since they last won a final.

Yet, somehow every trade period Adrian Dodoro talking up a big game and the Bombers somehow coming out victorious and are set for a glorious season with their new recruits playing a starring role.
Rinse. Wash. Repeat.



Josh Gibson: North Melbourne – Hawthorn 2009 

North Melbourne opted to trade young defender Josh Gibson to Hawthorn and received two mid-round draft picks.

As a result, the Kangaroos picked up Aaron Black and Ayden Kennedy.

Black did ok for the Roos and Kennedy failed to play a game in his four years at the club only to be delisted at the end of 2013.

Josh Gibson, on the other hand, played in three Hawthorn premierships, two B&F’s and was an All-Australian in 2015 along with a stint in the jungle on “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me out Of Here!”

North Melbourne’s Photoshop Job on Aiden Bonar

It’s too early to pass judgement on Bonar and his time at Arden Street.

However, whatever he may achieve in his football career, he’ll always be remembered for this botched up Photoshop job by the Kangaroos media team last year.

Photoshopping new jumpers on to players is a Trade Period tradition and this North Melbourne job will live in infamy.

Fortunately, the North digital team rectified the situation and provided a far more superior Photoshop image of what Bonar would look like in a Kangaroos jumper.