How to survive the AFL Trade Period without losing your mind

Here we go again. A fortnight where most logic goes out the window in pursuit of new shiny toys and as many clicks as possible.

While it may seem strange on the surface to say this, there’s a reason for everything you’ll see from now until the time the trade period ends.

And once you learn how to spot those, suddenly silly season makes a whole lot of sense.

So without further ado, how to interpret the 2019 Trade Period.

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When to trust information

There’s a simple way to filter out most of what you read, if you want to do so. We can do it without naming names, too:

  • Think of media figures you don’t trust, or you’ve seen get obvious things wrong before. Got names in your head? Good. They don’t exist for the next two weeks. If you see something with their name attached to it, keep scrolling right past it or close the tab.
  • Think of media figures who you do trust, or who haven’t been wrong with news recently. Those are the people you focus on. Put alerts on their tweets, pay attention to what they’re saying. This is all that matters.

Instantly you’ve wiped out a significant portion of the coverage and the people who do the best work gain your views – as it should be.

When a player manager makes a media appearance

Every single quote should be read or heard with the following mindset: how does this make the player look better?

It’s not a bad thing – after all, it’s a manager’s job to get the best possible deal for their client – but it does mean you’re only seeing one side of the story.

How much of that one side you want to take on board is completely up to you.

When there are hypothetical trades

These fall into one of two categories. Firstly – and the majority fall into this category – it’s all about content generation and discussion starters.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to talk about and it can carry on for hours. But ultimately, that’s all it is – a fun discussion point. It’s not something which should be taken seriously when you see a three-team trade involving seven players, nine picks and category B rookies.

Secondly – and the minority – is when it’s based around ongoing negotiations between two or three clubs. A hypothetical example: Essendon will only move Orazio Fantasia if it receives a first-round pick in return, sources say.

When it’s one of these scenarios, it comes back to when to trust information. Take it on board if it’s from a figure you have faith in; ignore if it’s not.

When there are ‘winners’ of deals

Because without a winner or a loser, how will people get riled up enough to comment and be outraged? Or so the thinking goes anyway.

To borrow a line from one of my favourite EPL writers, Daniel Storey, this is all that matters when you’re looking at the details of a finalised trade.

“What matters is that the club gets the players they believe are necessary for success without putting the club in danger.”

It puts a lot into perspective, and it should be the starting point for the way to look at deals.

When minuscule items are overblown

This happens for one reason, and one reason only: people click on them 100 percent of the time.

Trade period is the biggest source of AFL page views for the entire year, so of course organisations will leverage that for all it’s worth. It would be foolish not to.

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