AFL 3 years ago

The Sweet and Sour of AFL Trading: Brisbane Lions

  • The Sweet and Sour of AFL Trading: Brisbane Lions
  • The Sweet and Sour of AFL Trading: Brisbane Lions
  • The Sweet and Sour of AFL Trading: Brisbane Lions
  • The Sweet and Sour of AFL Trading: Brisbane Lions
  • The Sweet and Sour of AFL Trading: Brisbane Lions

If the sweet and sour headline looks familiar, it’s likely that you’ve previously read my sweet and sour analysis on Brisbane’s drafting since 2001. But now we turn our attention to their trading.

The Lions have had some pretty chaotic off-seasons in the past six years. There has been some handy work done at the trade table, whilst other deals make you want to cover your eyes.  There was the ‘homesick five’ debacle, and one particular trade which has been labelled one of the worst in AFL history.

So let’s get into it. Here are the three sweetest and three sourest trade deals the Brisbane Lions have been involved in since 2001.


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1 – Out: Anthony Corrie, In: Pick 93...But wait, there’s more

This is a cheeky inclusion, but it was a move that would lead to something extraordinary for the Brisbane Football Club.    

In 2008, the Lions made a surprising trade, when they dealt Anthony Corrie to Collingwood, in exchange for pick 93 in the draft.

Corrie was an exciting, young small forward for the Lions, kicking 48 goals in 53 games over four seasons with the club.

It was a trade that many felt left the Lions with nothing, after it was assumed they wouldn’t do anything with the pick. And they didn’t. However, trading out Corrie opened up a senior spot on the Lions’ senior list.

What did they do with the remaining spot you may ask? Well, they drafted Tom Rockliff with the fifth overall selection in the 2009 Preseason Draft (held in 2008).

Corrie played three games for the Pies before being delisted in 2010, whilst Rockliff has had quite a remarkable first 100 games to his career.

He became captain this season and is the heart and soul of the Brisbane Lions. He is a two-time best and fairest winner and was named All-Australian in 2014. In 2013, he finished fifth in the Brownlow count and established himself as one of the premier midfielders in the AFL.

Over his 108-game career, he has averaged 26 disposals, 5 marks and 5 tackles a game. In 2014, in 21 appearances, he averaged an astonishing 33 disposals and 9 tackles a game.

He is unbelievably courageous and a great leader for the Lions. Rockliff is one of the best bargains in AFL draft history. A seemingly wasteful trade has turned into something remarkable for the club.

2 – The Great Zorko arrives

In 2011, the Gold Coast Suns traded Dayne Zorko and pick 47 to the Lions, in exchange for pick 34, in a three-way deal that also saw Matthew Warnock end up at the Suns from Melbourne.

The Suns recruited Zorko as a Queensland zone selection, after AFL clubs had overlooked him in the drafts since 2007.

Zorko is now four years in the system and has had an outstanding start to his AFL career.

72 games in, 70 goals kicked and Zorko has made an incredible impression at the elite level. He a small, fast, robust midfielder who spends a lot of time as a damaging, goal-kicking, small forward threat.

He is a cult hero at the club, and he plays an exciting, unapologetic brand of football that has the Lions crowd buzzing every time he goes near the ball.

He is averaging 19 disposals, 3 marks and 5 tackles a game and there is no doubt he will be in Lions colours for many more years to come. Very sweet indeed.

3 – Beams comes home

As is well documented, in the 2014 off-season, Dayne Beams requested a trade from Collingwood back home to Queensland in order to be closer to his ill father and his brother.

A mammoth five-way deal was conducted, with Beams finally finding his way to Brisbane after a back-and-forth in negotiations between the Pies and the Lions.

The Lions surrendered some valuable assets to get him (most notably pick 5 – which the Pies drafted Jordan De Goey with, and Jack Crisp – who has thrived with his new club), but ultimately the Lions got, well... Dayne Beams.

This complex exchange brought Brisbane an elite, 100+ game midfielder, an A-grade acquisition, a best and fairest winner, an All-Australian and premiership player.

It’s early days, but this trade seems to be a win-win for both Collingwood and Brisbane.

In 2015, Beams is averaging 29 disposals, 4 tackles and 4 tackles a game.

A sweet deal, a sweet player and very sweet times ahead for the club (if they can pull off another big recruit in the next off-season).

Worthy Mentions

2002 – Traded Damian Cupido and pick 15 to Essendon, received Blake Caracella (was a premiership player in 2003 side)

2006 – Traded Jason Akermanis to the Dogs, received pick 34. Wasted the draft pick but the deal removed the controversial Akermanis from the club

2009 – Traded pick 44 to Richmond, received Andrew Raines

2011 – In: Ben Hudson, Out: Pick 70 (to the Bulldogs)

 2012 – Stefan Martin joins the club, picks 52 and 71 traded to Melbourne

 2014 – In: Allen Christensen, Out: pick 21 (received pick 21 in Joel Patfull trade)


1 – That Fev Deal...

No surprises here. This exchange has been branded one of the worst trades in recent AFL history and it ultimately set the Lions back for quite a few years.

I’ll give you the facts quickly, to spare Lions fans from any further agony. In 2009, the club traded Lachie Henderson (a former pick 8 in 2007) and pick 12 to Carlton, in exchange for super full forward, Brendon Fevola, and pick 27.

 To cut a long story very short, Fev played one, tumultuous, controversial season with the Lions, kicking 48 goals in 17 games, before being sacked by the club in early 2011.

The Lions drafted Callum Bartlett with pick 27 who failed to make an impression at the elite level. 

Lachie Henderson has turned into a quality, versatile swingman for the Blues, kicking 103 goals in 111 senior appearances. He will also be negotiating for big money in the upcoming offseason.  

With pick 12, Carlton would be rueing a missed opportunity after they drafted Kane Lucas, who is now at West Coast. 

Nat Fyfe was drafted in 2009. Pick 20. End of story.

Well, almost the end. Daniel Bradshaw and Michael Rischitelli were two Lions players who were initially put on the trade table in the deal for Fev...but the deal fell through and both players left the club shortly after. 

2 – Travis Johnstone 

Travis Johnstone wasn’t a bad recruit at all, but this deal falls into the sour category due to what Brisbane gave up to get him.

In the 2007 off-season, the Lions dealt ruckman Cameron Wood to the Pies in exchange for pick 14 in the draft. This pick was then traded to the Demons in the deal that controversially sent Johnstone to the Lions.

Johnstone was a former number one pick and best and fairest winner with the Demons, however, he is a player who many think fell short of his high expectations.

The midfielder played 49 games over two seasons with the Lions, averaging just over 20 disposals a game with the club. He was delisted in 2010. 

With pick 14 in the draft, the Demons drafted Jack Grimes. With picks 17 and 18, Harry Taylor and Alex Rance went to Geelong and Richmond.

Callan Ward went to the Bulldogs with pick 19; Scott Selwood to the Eagles with pick 22, Jack Steven to the Saints with pick 42 and Easton Wood to the Dogs with pick 43.

The point being, was the investment in Travis Johnstone worth pick 14? The talent on showcase probably suggests it was not.

But hey, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

3 - Okay trade but poor drafting

This final sour selection combines two ‘sweet and sour’ topics: Drafting and Trading.

At the end of 2002, former number one pick and premiership player, Des Headland signalled a return to his home state in Western Australia.

A deal was struck and Des headed to Fremantle, whilst picks 3 and 19 in the draft made their way to Brisbane.

Headland never fulfilled the early potential he showed with the Lions, nor his pick one stature, with the Dockers, as he played 114 games bringing his career total to 166. 

The sour part for the Lions is what they did with their end of the bargain. With pick 3 in 2002, they drafted Jared Brennan. Brennan was a flashy, unconventional utility who played 119 games with the Lions over seven years with the club.

With pick 19, the Lions drafted Troy Selwood. The tough midfielder managed 75 senior games with the club, before being delisted in 2010.

Both were decent contributors for the club, but ultimately never reached the heights the Lions would of hoped for, especially since they lost the talented Des Headland in a high-profile trade exchange.

In the 2002 AFL Draft, Sydney Swans champion Jarrad McVeigh was drafted with pick 5, Andrew Mackie with pick 7, Jay Schulz with pick 12, Tom Lonergan with pick 23, Nick Malceski with pick 63 and Kade Simpson with pick 45. Although 2002 was a shallow draft, all of these players, whom were still available when the Lions had their two picks, are still actively playing in the AFL today.

The Des Headland trade was probably a lose-lose for both Fremantle and the Lions, but the Lions had a great opportunity to stock up on talent in the draft, an opportunity that didn’t come to fruition.

(Not) Worthy Mentions 

2003 – Traded Jason Gram to St Kilda, received pick 23 (drafted Matthew Moody) 

2004 – Traded out Aaron Shattock and pick 34, received pick 27 (Pat Garner) and pick 45 (Justin Sherman) 

2009 – In: Xavier Clarke, Out: Pick 60 

2009 - Amon Buchanan and draft selection 47 from Sydney for draft selection 28, on traded to Geelong, they drafted Mitch Duncan 

2009 – Harsh call, but Brent Staker and pick 39 to Lions, West Coast receive Bradd Dalziell (lose-lose deal due to Staker’s injuries) 

Both sweet and sour – The Homesick Five

Every Brisbane fan is sick of reading about the ‘Homesick Five’, whom asked for trades in 2013.

But, before you exit this article, knowing what we know now, have these trades become a little sweeter than first anticipated?

Here are the facts:

OUT: Sam Docherty (originally pick 12 for the Lions) - IN: Pick 33 (Lions drafted Tom Cutler)

OUT: Elliot Yeo - IN: Pick 28 – The Lions drafted young gun and rising star, Lewis Taylor

OUT: Jared Polec, Pick 29, Pick 45 and 48 (on-traded) - IN: Darcy Gardiner (Pick 22) and Nick Robertson (Pick 34)

OUT: Patrick Karnezis - IN: Jackson Paine 

OUT: Billy Longer and Pick 48 - IN: Pick 25 (Drafted Daniel McStay) and Pick 41 (on-traded)

Okay. So Brisbane lost some quality talent. We know that. But we have to move on.

So here is where we get to the sweet or sour part.

Brisbane has seemingly drafted well, with Taylor, Robertson, McStay and Gardiner all having cemented spots in their senior side.

It was sour at the time and it still probably hurts still; but, knowing what you know now, are the trades you manufactured and the pieces you received in return for the ‘homesick five’ sweet or sour?

Final Words

It’s been a tough grind for the Brisbane Lions Football Club since their premiership glory days in the early 2000’s.

Their drafting has been a hit and miss, and their trading has been a bit of a bag of tricks...there’s been some trash and there’s been some treasure. 

The 2009 trade table was chaotic, controversial and pretty woeful for the club. Every Lions fan would be hoping that the 2013 offseason was an outlier, and never occurs again.

2014 could be their best offseason yet. Beams, Christensen and Robinson all joined the club, and there’s no doubt they’ll be throwing big money at Charlie Dixon at the end of this year.

Their inability to draft and trade for key position players is significant, but they are premier when it comes to spotting, developing and recruiting midfield talent.

It’s been a sour ride, but with big names at the club, things could be turning sweeter for the Brisbane Lions in one or two years to come.





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