DAN BUTLER this year added to the long line of small forwards who have gone on to have successful careers at their second AFL home.
The overlooked Richmond premiership forward has had an immediate impact at new home St Kilda, booting 27 goals and being named in the 2020 AFL All-Australian squad.
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Of the current group of small forwards scattered around the competition, Charlie Cameron took his game up several notches when he crossed to Brisbane, Eddie Betts grew into a star at Adelaide and Jamie Cripps became a premiership player at West Coast.
The race for small forwards narrowed after Tom Papley's decision to remain at Sydney next year. A group of clubs were circling the star Swan if he again decided to seek a trade back to Victoria, but his call to stay in the red and white has seen their attention shift elsewhere.
Orazio Fantasia is contracted at Essendon until the end of next year, but as a 'pre-agent' is back in South Australia weighing his future at the club after the Bombers' miserable end to the season. The smart and classy goalkicker has suitors despite another injury-hit season, but his best is A-grade.
But who will be this year's Trade Period's Butler? Who can rise from the fringes of one club to be a permanent and dangerous small forward option at another?
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There are many options to watch for. Jayden Hunt finished his season in brilliant form for Melbourne last week with four goals against Essendon and is out of contract at the Dees.
Hunt, who kicked 21 goals in 2019 as well, offers genuine speed in the front half when stationed there.
Jack Lonie remains without a deal for next year at St Kilda having fought his way back into the Saints' line-up ahead of the finals series. Nick Hind, another forward option given his pace, doesn't have a deal for next season and earlier this year kicked three goals against Sydney.
Hawthorn, the Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne and Carlton will be among the clubs on the lookout for some forward pocket rockets in the upcoming exchange period.
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Ben Ronke will be another considered. After booting 33 goals in his first 31 games for the Swans, Ronke managed just three goalless appearances for Sydney this season.
He is another who is unsigned for 2021 and brings legitimate leg speed, a high work rate and nous around goal, would likely come at a low cost and, aged 22, has youth on his side.
His crosstown small forward rival Zac Langdon, who averaged a goal for every one of his 21 games in his debut season of 2018 but has only played 10 games since then. The 24-year-old is among the large number of Giants without a deal for next year at this stage.
Clubs could also target contracted players who have fallen out of their respective first-picked forward lines.
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Gold Coast has a stack of small forward options, including the arrival of Izak Rankine this year, which has seen Darcy MacPherson squeezed out of the line-up. MacPherson is a valued part of the Suns' mix, and is contracted until the end of 2022, but will be looked at by rivals given the juggle for spots in the Suns' side.
And will clubs come knocking for Jack Higgins? The Richmond livewire has been in and out of the Tigers' line-up this season as the fleet of small forwards at the club was boosted by the inclusion of Jake Aarts. Higgins is contracted to Richmond until the end of next year.