IN AN era where determining a resolute outcome to every complex deal completed at the trade table has become somewhat of a necessity, last October's blockbuster swap of NAB AFL Draft picks between North Melbourne and Melbourne looms as a rare 'win-win' for both clubs.
The Demons, with eyes firmly locked on securing gun young duo Luke Jackson and Kysaiah Pickett, looked to trade for a second selection in the early parts of the 2019 draft and found a willing suitor in a rebuilding Kangaroos outfit.
Melbourne parted with a future first-round draft pick, as well as picks No.26 and No.50, in order to prise North Melbourne's opening selection (then pick No.8, but bumped back to No.12 after Academy and father-son bids) during the Telstra AFL Trade Period.
The Kangaroos swapped around the later picks involved in the deal in an effort to ultimately secure three selections in the 30s (drafting Charlie Comben, Jack Mahoney and Flynn Perez), diluting the exact value of the trade somewhat.
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However, in terms of the first-round picks that were exchanged, if you were to stop the season after round 12 it would leave Melbourne landing picks No.3 and No.12 last year and North Melbourne holding picks No.2 and No.12 this year.
A recent return to form for the Demons, which has seen Simon Goodwin's side win its last three matches to soar into the top-eight and back into finals contention, has squared the ledger of the deal significantly.
Melbourne also has the added advantage of having the runs on the board. Both Jackson and Pickett have already become senior regulars, both have already secured NAB AFL Rising Star nominations and both appear bright long-term prospects for the club.
Now the pressure shifts to North Melbourne. In order for the deal to still be viewed as a 'win-win' going forward, it must nail its picks at the upcoming draft.
A junior season heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, where securing tape on blue-chip draft prospects has become difficult, will undoubtedly complicate matters.
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A host of other future trades completed during last year's exchange period also have rather interesting permutations heading into the final rounds of the 2020 season.
Adelaide would currently hold two top-10 draft picks courtesy of Greater Western Sydney's recent poor form, while Geelong and Brisbane also hold multiple first-round selections.
The Cats would take picks No.11, No.16 and No.17 into the draft as things stand thanks to deals with the Suns and the Eagles, while the Lions would hold picks No.18 and No.19 after a trade with the Power.
INDICATIVE DRAFT ORDER
2. North Melbourne
6. Gold Coast
9. Western Bulldogs
10. Adelaide (via Greater Western Sydney)
11. Geelong (via Gold Coast)
12. North Melbourne (via Melbourne)
15. St Kilda
16. Geelong (via West Coast)
19. Brisbane (via Port Adelaide)