THE WESTERN Bulldogs loom as one of the key players of this year's Trade Period, and not for the reason you might expect.

The Dogs are on the search for a small forward and another tall defender, but what makes them a crucial part in this year's marketplace is their first pick – No.12.

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Every club knows the selection is up for grabs, because the Dogs will be looking to bolster their draft hand for points to match an early bid for Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, their Next Generation Academy gun who could be the No.1 choice this year.

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Clubs are smart at targeting rivals who have Academy and father-son players coming through and offering them a suite of later picks that are worth more under the Draft Value Index than a single early selection.

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By doing so, they can move up the order, whilst in the process offering the club with the player more points to pay for an early bid. Such will be the case for the Dogs this year, who can look to stock up on points with later selections to afford the exciting key forward prospect.

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It is why North Melbourne, which is looking to generate as many top-end picks this year as possible, could target the No.12 slot to add to their No.2 and 9 picks by packaging later picks together for the Dogs.

The Crows, whose current hand of picks No.20 and 29 equates to more draft points than pick 12 (1565 to 1268), could also have a look at grouping their second-round picks to land another prized early slot.

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The Bulldogs will be looking at the selections as points rather than picks given they know a bid anywhere inside the first handful of picks will wipe out the majority of their draft hand.

They could also look at moving next year's future first-rounder and then, if they did go into a points deficit, the deficit would only be taken off their second-round selection in 2021.

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This is much like the Giants' approach to the bid they matched for Tom Green last year, when the Giants offloaded their 2020 first-round pick to Adelaide but then fell in a points deficit for their first pick this year.

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It means that, even though the Giants are likely to get a first-round compensation pick for Zac Williams departing to Carlton as a free agent, the points deficit from last year's draft will only push their second-round pick back.

With a flexibility to get involved in more deals for points, the Bulldogs are operating in a sellers market. There'll be no shortage of buyers.