2022 Trade Period Analysis: Bobby Hill, Collingwood

Welcome to the 2022 Free Agency & Trade Period analysis series. Over the next fortnight, the plan is to look at every player heading to a new club. It’s not going to be a ‘who won the trade’ series, but rather a look at how players fit into existing setups, or what changes they may force.

The first official trade sees Bobby Hill head to Collingwood for a 2023 second round pick and a negligible switch of 2022 thirds (40 to Collingwood, 43 to GWS).

After such a tumultuous time, overcoming a bout of testicular cancer, it’s a relief to purely talk about Hill the footballer rather than anything more serious.

His addition to the Collingwood front half will likely force a structural change – if he cements a place in the best 22.

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After that they’ll be free for all. Given the Patreon is only running until the end of October, signing up now means only one payment on sign up, and then nothing else needed until March 2023.

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Hill’s four years at GWS brought an underwhelming return on paper. 34 goals in 41 games and middling defensive numbers don’t necessarily scream ‘second round pick’.

What those stats don’t consider – and likely what Collingwood are banking on – is how Hill’s skill set meshed with Leon Cameron’s preferred style.

Forward half pressure and turnover scoring was never the top priority for the Giants, which meant Hill’s output was largely reduced to a flashy highlight here and there.

As anyone who watched more than five minutes of Collingwood this year knows, those two areas neglected by the Giants are key for the Pies.

Assuming Hill has no lingering effects from this year’s time off – and he did return for a one-off VFL appearance late on – the question is how he fits into Collingwood’s forward line, and what changes it may force.

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Posts continue to come thick and fast. If you’ve missed anything recently, here are links to catch up:

Monday 3rd: Free Agency Analysis: Jayden Hunt
Friday 30th: Free Agency Analysis: Karl Amon
Thursday 29th: Look Back/Ahead: Geelong
Wednesday 28th: Look Back/Ahead: Sydney
Sunday 25th: 2022 Grand Final: A stoppage domination

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McStay. Mihocek. Elliott. Ginnivan. McCreery. Johnson. Cox. Hoskin-Elliott. Hill. Unless Collingwood are really planning on a revolution and playing with nine forwards every week, a couple of these names will spend a fair chunk of time at VFL level.

It should go without saying that some of those names are obviously best 22 locks if fit, but let me put that down on paper before anyone thinks I’m pensioning people off.

In announcing Hill’s arrival, there was a quote from football manager Graham Wright which caught the eye (bolded emphasis mine):

“We identified a need in our group and Bobby compliments what we already have in the forward/mid area of the ground. We feel he has scope to play other positions and is committed to working on his game in all areas to get the most out of his career going forward.

I’m choosing to interpret that as Hill having some wing time in his near future.

It’ll probably mean an acclimatisation period, adjusting to what Collingwood ask from their wingers. Not to mention the style shock going from static Giants to rapid Pies.

Continuing down this hypothetical path, I’d be surprised if Hill starts the year in the best 22 unless one of two things happen:

a) He takes to a wing role quicker than expected (with reshuffling elsewhere from Josh Daicos or Sidebottom)
b) He ends up cast purely as a small forward, forcing someone else out

The latter prompts more questions. Can the Collingwood forward line house Hill, Ginnivan and McCreery at the same time, especially given two of them are low-possession and low-goal types? It’d be asking a lot of Ginnivan as an offensive threat, but it’d also cover his deficiencies without the ball.

It’s going to be a fascinating pre-season full of moving parts, and I don’t think Collingwood will have settled on their best forward mix by Round 1.

Because all of this is without even mentioning what McStay can bring to the Collingwood forward line. But that part of the analysis will arrive as soon as a deal is made official. Stay tuned.

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In case you missed it, the Look Back/Look Ahead series recently wrapped.

Every team’s list was analysed in depth, with a key question picked out for 2023. In some ways the posts work hand-in-hand with these individual analyses, understanding needs and priorities.

Here are all the links to catch up on:

North MelbourneReadWest CoastRead
GWSReadEssendonRead
AdelaideReadHawthornRead
Gold CoastReadPort AdelaideRead
St KildaReadCarltonRead
RichmondReadWestern BulldogsRead
MelbourneReadFremantleRead
BrisbaneReadCollingwoodRead
SydneyReadGeelongRead

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