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Historic live trades not expected until after first round

Who will make the first live trade? - AFL,Draft,Trade
Who will make the first live trade?

THE FIRST live trade is not expected to be completed until after the opening round of the NAB AFL Draft on Thursday night.

That's the view of clubs and player managers contacted by AFL.com.au ahead of teams being allowed to trade for the first time during the draft.

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In the lead-up to this year's inaugural two-day national draft, there has been the inevitable speculation around whether pick No.1 will be traded by Carlton, while Port Adelaide (picks No.5, 10 and 15) and Adelaide (No.8, 13, 16 and 21) have been widely viewed as teams keen to move up the draft order via one of the Gold Coast's raft of picks (No.2, 3 and 6) or St Kilda's pick No.4.

Greater Western Sydney, with picks No.9 and 11, is another team well positioned to trade up and has been linked with the Western Bulldogs' pick No.7.

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However, industry sources thought it was highly unlikely any top-10 selections would change hands this year, and unlikely any other first-round selections would, especially after the deadline for pick swaps had been extended by a month this year (November 16).

"I don't think anything will happen early in the first round, all of the possible pick swaps have been fleshed out already and if they haven't happened by now I can't see them happening," a player manager said.

"Something might happen late in the first round if a player slips and is unexpectedly still available, but I'm expecting Thursday night to be relatively quiet."

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The fact clubs have been restricted to trading draft picks – from this year and 2019 – is another reason why insiders are not expecting a flurry of deals.

"We don't have enough assets or flexibility to generate a huge amount of trades," a recruiter said. 

"In the original discussions around live trading, there was the option to trade players acquired on the night of the draft, but when that was taken off the table our options became pretty limited."  

Most agree the best chance of trades occurring will come when the draft resumes on Friday with West Coast's end-of-first-round selection (currently No.20). 

By that time clubs will have had a night to consider the players remaining in the draft pool and if there is someone they want badly enough they could, for example, target one of West Coast's picks No.20 or 22, or Adelaide's No.21, in a bid to snare him.

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In that scenario, the club looking to trade up the order could dangle their future first-round pick as part of their offer. The teams most likely to explore this option are those who are confident of finishing near the top of the ladder in 2019, which would give them a late first-round selection in next year's draft.    

Meanwhile, AFL.com.au has confirmed clubs with rights to father-son and academy prospects will be able to trade their next available selection after a rival bid is received and match that bid's points value with later picks.

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For instance, if Adelaide bids on Greater Western Sydney Academy member Kieren Briggs with pick No.16, the Giants would still be free to trade their next pick, No.19, and then match the Crows' bid with subsequent selections No.25 and 52.