PICK TWO has become the new pick one.
With North Melbourne having been locked in to select Jason Horne-Francis for some time with the No.1 pick at next month's NAB AFL Draft, Greater Western Sydney's selection at No.2 is the choice that will shape proceedings.
It bears resemblances to Melbourne's No.3 choice in 2019, which came after the Gold Coast were committed to taking Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson with the first two selections so viewed the Demons' decision as the first 'live' pick in the draft.
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That year the Demons were locked in to take Luke Jackson, knocking back big offers – including from the Giants – to move down the board. Two years on, it is the Giants who are receiving the calls about sliding back down the order in a decision that will dictate the rest of the top-10.
Gold Coast has interest to move up from pick No.3 to No.2. The Suns only plan to use one live pick this year but have three second-round selections banked for next year and would have to dip into those to get the Giants to consider a move.
Adelaide has also made inquiries about jumping up from No.4 to No.2, in a shift that would also likely require the Crows to put their future second-rounder on the table given they don't have any picks in between No.4 and 33 this year.
As revealed by AFL.com.au, the Crows tried to get North Melbourne's No.1 pick (and attain Horne-Francis) during the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period by offering pick No.4, their future first-round pick and Melbourne's future first-round pick in exchange for pick one and North's future second-round pick.
It is also believed the Crows tabled a revised offer after that for pick one, which was also denied, before striking their deal with Sydney for Jordan Dawson. That saw them send the future first-round pick tied to the Demons to land the wingman.
Hawthorn also explored moving up to pick No.2 from No.5 during the Trade Period in discussions with the Giants, with a second-round pick (No.21 or 24) likely to be involved if they ask again.
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Richmond, too, has looked at moving up the board from pick No.7, with the Tigers' future first-round pick likely to need to be included for the Giants to shift back.
Clubs are chasing the player as much as the pick, with Sandringham Dragons midfielder Finn Callaghan's run, carry, size, athleticism and striking left-foot kicking viewed as the reason for the possible push up the list.
But will the Giants take the gamble or just hold their spot? There is little point in the club making that call until closer to the draft next month – or even once names begin to be called on November 24 – when the order of selections is clearer.
There looks to be four options in the mix for their pick: Callaghan, Josh Rachele, Josh Gibcus and Mac Andrew.
The Giants are stacked with midfielders, but are a club that has to approach their recruiting strategy differently to others, often using the draft to do their list management.
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Where rivals can lean on trades and free agency to target specific players and address needs, the Giants at times have to do this through the draft given their main free agency approach is retention and few players leave their clubs to join them.
It is why Gibcus as a marking and leaping key defender will appeal to slot next to Sam Taylor in defence, why Rachele's ability to play from round one next year as a small, powerful goalkicker alongside Toby Greene is enticing and why Andrew's capacity as a talented ruck/forward is also a consideration.
Regardless of where bids come for father-son pair Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy, the same dilemma applies for the Giants on whether they move down the order (and lose access to Callaghan) but grab one of the other contenders and whilst bringing in another draft selection for doing so. Therein lies the challenge of navigating backwards down the draft order – can a club still get the player it wants or does it risk missing its priority for the sake of an extra pick?
Another option open to the Giants is to wait to their second pick – No.13 – to go more needs-based and hold with their No.2 choice, which is something of a bonus given they traded it in from Collingwood during last year's draft.
Pick swapping between clubs is open until Monday, November 15 before a blackout period stops clubs from wheeling and dealing until the night of the draft the following Wednesday.