Last year on Bulldogs Centre, we reported about what happened in the Western Bulldogs' opening week of the trade period, and it was met with a roaring success.
That's why I bring back the trade week that was for the Western Bulldogs, and a lot has been going on for the red, white and blues. We've seen a bit of player movement this week and plenty of rumours and other deals to be done as we approach the final few days of trading.
We've seen Adelaide defender Jake Lever get his wish and go to Melbourne, finally putting an end to his rather ugly departure at the Crows, but at what cost? With Melbourne having to give up two first-round draft picks and with Charlie Cameron also requesting a trade to go to Brisbane, one has to wonder whether or not there are problems internally for the Crows?
We've also seen Port Adelaide go hammer and tong with their recruiting, having signed Brisbane midfielder Tom Rockliff via Free Agency, and with Steven Motlop and Jack Watts both possibly to come, it's clear that the Power are recruiting to win it all in 2018 after they finished fifth in the 2017 home and away season, yet were knocked out in extra time to the eighth-placed West Coast.
And with other players such as GWS' Nathan Wilson and Gold Coast's Brandon Matera both requesting trades to Fremantle, Gary Ablett's return to Geelong imminent, talk of Carlton's Bryce Gibbs going to Adelaide refusing to go away and many other names on the trade block, there's still a lot to play out with the trade period ending on Thursday the 19th of October.
But what about the Bulldogs? After a disappointing 10th place in 2017, they have been very busy both recruiting and have had a few names reportedly on the move.
Welcome Hayden Crozier
The big news out of the Western Bulldogs' camp on Friday is the trade the saw young versatile Fremantle player Hayden Crozier come to the Western Bulldogs after days of speculation that he was interested in a move back home. The trade was officially made around 12:30pm, which saw Crozier and a future fourth-round pick come to the Dogs in exchange for the Dogs' pick 40 in this year's draft and the Dogs' fifth-round pick, which stands at pick 82.
Crozier was taken with the 20th overall pick in the 2011 AFL Draft as a half-forward with an exceptional leap and it was reported that at the time of the draft, the Bulldogs were actually very keen on the young man from Rowville, as they had the 17th pick in the Draft, but instead opted to go with Clay Smith, who despite having several knee reconstructions, has been a very decent player whenever he's been able to get on the park.
In the six seasons he has spent at the Dockers, Crozier has only managed to play 69 games as he found himself constantly in and out of Fremantle's side, but managed to play a career-best return of 19 games in 2017 after playing 16 games in 2016. Despite being recruited as a half-forward, Crozier has developed his game and can play a variety of roles, but it will be off the half-back line that Doggies fans can expect to see him in 2018, averaging 16.5 disposals, five marks and three rebound 50s for Freo in 2016.
With the retirements of Matthew Boyd and Robert Murphy, both outstanding rebounding defenders, the recruitment of Crozier is a very promising one, and at 23 years of age, turning 24 in December, he is yet to hit the prime of his career, which will be something that is surely to excite Bulldog fans.
Stringer To Stay?
The big headline all throughout the off-season is the story of wayward forward Jake Stringer, with the club openly declaring that the 2015 All-Australian forward is on the trade table. Stringer has openly stated that he wants Essendon to be his preferred destination, but at the moment, it looks as though it'll be very tough to get a deal done.
The Bombers have been another side that are going all-in on their recruiting this off-season, also gunning for GWS forward Devon Smith and Gold Coast defender Adam Saad. The Bombers finished seventh in the home and away season and were bundled out by Sydney in the opening week of the Finals. The Bulldogs were initially keen on a top-10 draft pick for Stringer, but seeing as the Bombers had pick 11, the Dogs looked prepared to settle for it, but on Thursday, Essendon traded away pick 11 as well as a future third-round pick to GWS in exchange for Smith, pick 24 and a future second-round pick.
This makes things all the more difficult for the Bombers and the Bulldogs to make a deal work, with the Bulldogs adamant they want high quality compensation in return for Stringer. It also doesn't help the fact that Stringer is in contract with the Bulldogs until the end of 2018, and the Bulldogs have made it perfectly clear that he will stay at Whitten Oval unless they can get suitable compensation.
New Homes For A Few Dogs?
Talk about new homes for out-of-contract players Mitch Honeychurch and Stewart Crameri haven't gone unnoticed, as both players have been linked to moves out of Whitten Oval, as well as fringe ruckman Tom Campbell. If trades were to be done for all three, I wouldn't imagine the club getting much in return.
Crameri's past two years have seen him go through some rotten luck, after playing 42 games in a return for 70 goals for the Bulldogs. He missed all of 2016 for serving a year-long suspension for his involvement in Essendon's supplements scandal, and missing all but two games this year after he was required to go through hip surgery. Crameri is strongly linked to a return to Essendon, the club which Crameri came from as he arrived at the Bulldogs at the end of 2013.
Honeychurch also came to the club at the end of 2013, as a late draft selection, taken at number 60 overall, but has had limited playing time, only playing 22 games in four seasons. A former Rising Star nominee and a two-time premiership player at the Bulldogs' VFL affiliate Footscray, Honeychurch played six games in 2017, all of them in a row, and had made steady progress, before a facial infection derailed his campaign. The Greater Western Sydney Giants have emerged as a possible suitor during the week for the 22-year old.
However, it's Campbell's potential departure that looms the most shocking, given that he is in contract until the end of 2018, but with the arrival of the tall and versatile Jackson Trengove from Port Adelaide, it has made things increasingly difficult for Campbell, who was recruited to the club as a rookie ahead of the 2012 AFL season. Opportunities for Campbell have also been extremely limited, with the 25-year old playing 42 games in six seasons at the Dogs. It's reported that the Brisbane Lions have expressed significant interest as their ruck stocks are extremely thin.
Could Schache Become A Dog?
Another huge sub-plot in this year's trade period is the future of Josh Schache, a full-forward taken with the second-overall pick in the 2015 AFL Draft.
Despite months of ongoing speculation about the future of Schache, he agreed to a two-year extension midway through the season. however during the week, it was revealed that Brisbane is prepared to ship Schache back home to Melbourne, joining a long list of young players to depart the Lions to return to their respective home states. Schache played 17 games in his debut season in 2016 in return for 16.18 - for a first-year player, it's quite a respectable total. But in 2017, Schache only managed 10 games for nine goals, as talks about his future began to emerge.
He signed a two-year contract extension in June, and for a while, the talks quietened down, but by the off-season it was confirmed that Schache, citing homesickness, wanted out of the club, despite Brisbane seemingly on the improve. Interest for the 20-year old has been very limited. Bulldogs have emerged as a suitor for the wantaway forward, but talks between the Bulldog camp and the Schache camp have been very limited and at the moment, looks a very outside chance of happening.
It could be a steep asking price to get him out of Brisbane and back home to Victoria as to why not many clubs have expressed interest, but it could all change in the final week of the trade period. Schache is only 20 years of age and dominated the National Under-18 championships in 2015 - there is still plenty of room for him to grow and emerge as a star forward in the game. Could we potentially see a one-two combination of Schache and Tom Boyd in the future?, it is a very interesting proposition and if so, would it be able to work?
It definitely looms as an interesting week ahead, could we see the Dogs do one more deal from out of the blue?