MOST clubs will say they’re happy with their movements during the Trade Period each year, that is expected.
But this off-season, Melbourne genuinely came out in better shape than it entered.
From climbing up the draft order to securing their biggest need, the Demons’ seven trades left them in a strong position ahead of season 2021.
“Going into this Trade Period, Ben Brown was a priority to add to our list,” GM of Football Josh Mahoney told Melbourne Media.
“And then it was about finding appropriate trades for Braydon Preuss and Mitch Hannan, and also improving our draft hand.
“It was obviously made pretty difficult only having picks 26 and 53 at the start, so it took a bit of time to get to where we wanted to get to, but there was method to our madness with all the pick swaps that we did.
“We’re really happy to end up with three picks - two at the end of the first round and a mid-second. That result gives us six picks in the first and second rounds over two drafts."
Following two swaps with the Lions, and exchanges with both Sydney and Adelaide, the Demons now have picks 18, 19, 28, 50 and 89 to their name for the 2020 National Draft.
But with the option of trading picks in the lead up to the draft and throughout the actual event, Mahoney says those numbers could change.
“There’s always that opportunity that we may look again to improve our position,” he said.
“But really for now, it’s up to Jason Taylor and the recruiting team to continue to refine their list of players and see where our targeted players of interest will finish up.
“We’ll make that decision as it gets closer to the draft, or we could do it on draft night.”
For the second year in a row, Melbourne opted to trade out its First Round selection in a bid to improve its current draft hand.
And while that may concern some fans, it’s a move that should pay dividends.
“The trade we were able to do with the Brisbane Lions to get both picks 18 and 19 was attractive to us,” Mahoney said.
"The best way to look at it is we’re bringing our First Round pick forward a year, as we did last year when we were able to secure Kozzy Pickett.
"We believe that there is more of a variety of player in this year's draft (compared to next year) which suit the type of players we need on our list.
"We think there is an opportunity this year, with the lack of footy that has been played by the Victorians, that clubs lists could potentially be more different than usual.
“There’s definitely the potential that players we rate very highly in this draft could still be available with our three picks.”
While the club is now in a strong position to land some fresh young talent, it’s the inclusion of Brown which is most exciting for the Demons faithful.
With 287 goals from 130 games, the 27-year-old knows how to have an impact at the top level and should straighten his new side up forward of the ball.
“What we’re excited about with Ben Brown is not only what he can bring, but what he can do to help the development of Sam Weideman and Luke Jackson,” Mahoney said.
“Then also the way he plays – at 200cm's he creates a contest in the air and if he doesn’t mark it, he brings it to ground for our small forwards as well.
“We think it’s going to be a pretty attractive option for our midfielders running forward and it’s also going to make us a lot more predictable for our crumbing forwards.”
Brown’s inclusion means Tom McDonald may look to re-invent himself in 2021, after remaining with the club this off-season.
“It was an interesting time for Tom and the club, to go through the Trade Period with the understanding that we were happy to look for options at other clubs,” Mahoney said.
“Nothing eventuated during the Trade Period that suited Tom or ourselves, and we’re excited by the work he’s already done in his off-season.
“He’s got flexibility to play a number of different roles and he’s going to present himself really well in the pre-season.
“We’re not going to nominate right now the position we see him playing, but if he has a good pre-season, we know he can be a quality AFL player again.”