THESE weren't necessarily the players who left you gushing about your team's 2019 hopes after last year's NAB AFL Trade Period.

Yet, in hindsight, you probably should have been.

The likes of Dylan Shiel, Lachie Neale and Chad Wingard dominated discussion and came at a high cost for their new clubs, whereas Jordan Roughead, Jasper Pittard and Linc McCarthy were (in some ways) afterthoughts. has ranked the top 10 bargains from the 2018 trade table, judging them purely on this season's output. 

10. Will Setterfield

Carlton, from Greater Western Sydney
Key stats: 15 games, 17.3 disposals, 3.1 inside 50s, 284.8 metres gained, 3.1 tackles 

The No.5 choice in the 2016 draft narrowly qualified for our criteria, after the Blues parted with a third-round selection and a future second-round pick. Setterfield is still making his way in the AFL, but is proving a versatile addition to the blossoming Blues line-up. Has the height to be a marking target up forward and is athletic enough to go through the middle as well, and the utility life might be his lot.

9. Tom Hickey

West Coast, from St Kilda
Key stats: 15 games, 12.9 disposals, 4.5 clearances, 4.6 groundball gets, 5.5 hitouts to advantage

Hickey has exceeded expectations since crossing from the Saints as ruck cover for the Eagles, who lost Scott Lycett to Port Adelaide and knew they would be without Nic Naitanui (knee) for much of the season. With Nathan Vardy also being on the way back from a knee injury, Hickey is now West Coast's No.1 big man, after being part of a multi-pick trade. He's, perhaps, most valuable once the Sherrin hits the deck.

8. Jack Hombsch

Gold Coast, from Port Adelaide
Key stats: 18 games, 8.9 disposals, 3.6 marks, 1.3 intercept marks, 6.3 spoils

Fell behind Tom Jonas, Tom Clurey, Dougal Howard and Jarrod Lienert at the Power last year, but an opportunity presented itself at Gold Coast when Steven May chose to depart. A future fourth-round pick was all it took, and Hombsch's importance at his third club increased when Rory Thompson went down with a serious knee injury in March. He's played all bar one match this season and his experience is proving crucial. 

7. Tom Scully

Hawthorn, from Greater Western Sydney
Key stats: 18 games, 18.9 disposals, 14.1 uncontested possessions, 3.3 inside 50s, 4.4 score involvements

Scully might as well have been pronounced dead last year, so grave was the prognosis for his damaged ankle. As a result of that, plus the Giants' salary cap woes, the Hawks scored a player who not long ago was considered the game's best two-way runner for just a future fourth-round pick. He was in the Hawks' senior side by round two and hasn't been out since. The best is still to come but he's been solid enough.

6. Gary Rohan

Geelong, from Sydney
Key stats: 17 games, 9 disposals, 2.4 inside 50s, 1.4 marks inside 50, 1.4 goals 

Rohan would have been much higher on the list if this was written after round nine, when he already had 20 of his 24 goals, including four bags of at least three. Not bad after being traded for what was pick 61 at that stage. He's struggled to recreate those heroics during the Cats' form slump, but he is still a major reason they sit atop the ladder. Rohan's inclusion is part of the much-vaunted Geelong overhaul in attack. 

5. Linc McCarthy

Brisbane, from Geelong
Key stats: 19 games, 13.2 disposals, 5.2 groundball-gets, 3.7 tackles, 1.0 goal 

The Lions have a strong case to be regarded as the AFL's best medical team, and McCarthy is the proof. There was never any doubt about his talent, but he couldn't get on the field at the Cattery. McCarthy played 29 matches in seven years there, including 19 in 2016. He will beat that season tally this weekend, adding durability to his goalkicking nous, aggression and noted vertical leap. Best of all, McCarthy came virtually for free in a pick swap.

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4. Nic Newman

Carlton, via Sydney
Key stats: 17 games, 21.8 disposals, 7.1 marks, 1.7 intercept marks, 492.2 metres gained

This ex-Swan, who was keen to return to Victoria for more senior opportunities, has become one of Carlton's kick-in specialists and is also adept at cutting off opposition forays. With Sam Docherty again on the shelf because of a second knee reconstruction, the Blues were desperate to find someone who could provide drive from defence. In Newman, they got their wish (for a future fourth-round selection). He ranks ninth in the competition for average metres gained.

3. Jasper Pittard

North Melbourne, via Port Adelaide
Key stats: 19 games, 17.9 disposals, 6.1 marks, 1.8 intercept marks, 5.8 spoils

Pittard tried to tell us in November last year: "I'm probably in the best shape I've been at this time of year for two or three years." How quickly we forget that this ex-Power defender made the All Australian squad in 2016. The 28-year-old hasn't missed a game for the Roos and his intercept marking and assuredness by foot has quickly made him a fan favourite at Arden St. Pretty remarkable, after he was just a throw-in in the Jared Polec swap.

2. Sam Lloyd

Western Bulldogs, via Richmond
Key stats: 19 games, 15.6 disposals, 5.3 marks, 1.9 marks inside 50, 1.7 goals

Has a case to be the best trade bargain. Was a fringe player for most of his five seasons at the Tigers despite outstanding VFL form, and understandably went searching for greater opportunity last year. The Dogs handed over pick No.64 for him, which seemed fair at the time, but now looks a terrific deal for Luke Beveridge's side. Lloyd is the Dogs' leading goalkicker, with 32 from 19 games. 

1. Jordan Roughead

Collingwood, via Western Bulldogs
Key stats: 19 games, 12.2 disposals, 5.3 marks, 2.2 intercept marks, 6.7 spoils 

Through all the Magpies' key defensive injury carnage, this ex-Bulldog has been the one constant – and he cost them the princely sum of last year's No.75 draft pick at the time. That only came about after West Coast pulled out of the race. Roughead was pigeonholed as a back-up ruckman at the Kennel in 2018 and struggled for opportunities, but he is now reprising his previous deeds as a lockdown backman on the game's best forwards. 

The others: Marcus Adams (five games), Ryan Clarke (12), Travis Colyer (10), Taylor Duryea (10), Corey Ellis (four), Aaron Hall (six), George Horlin-Smith (six), Dean Kent (13), Sam Mayes (zero), Anthony Miles (16), Braydon Preuss (six), Jack Scrimshaw (nine), Tyson Stengle (two), Jackson Thurlow (nine), Dom Tyson (three)