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.
Two deadline day deals for Melbourne – one to improve their best 22 and another to fill key position depth.
For the net sum of a future third and fourth round pick, Lachie Hunter and Josh Schache are on their way to the Demons.
Maybe it’s just me living in a bubble and only consuming select discussions, but Hunter’s importance to the Bulldogs felt underappreciated in general conversation.
One of the few players with a defined role on the wing (most weeks, anyway), a good game from Hunter usually led to the same for the Bulldogs.
I’d imagine that will be similar at Melbourne, playing on the opposite wing to Langdon as a link-up player in the chain.
While Hunter won’t break lines with his speed or skills, he’s an important chain player with positioning and shorter disposal. For such a strong defensive team, it’s no wonder that skill set appealed to Melbourne.
He’s a natural on a wing, and pushes the likes of Jordon down a notch. In isolation it’s a definite upgrade – from an overall team perspective there are questions on the lack of pace and outside skill (in possession) starting to show in the list, but that isn’t something Hunter should be blamed for.
From the outside it felt like Hunter had reached the natural end of his time at the Bulldogs and a fresh start was needed for all. He’ll get that at Melbourne and should walk straight into Melbourne’s best 22, fitness permitting.
If you’ve missed any of the Free Agency & Trade Analysis posts, here’s where to catch up:
Karl Amon, Hawthorn
Josh Corbett, Fremantle
Tanner Bruhn, Geelong
Aaron Francis, Sydney | Sam Weideman, Essendon | Tom Mitchell, Collingwood | Ollie Henry, Geelong | Cooper Stephens and Lloyd Meek, Hawthorn | Josh Dunkley, Brisbane | Rory Lobb, Western Bulldogs | Jaeger O’Meara, Fremantle
With Sam Weideman’s departure, Melbourne needed key position depth.
In picking up Schache for (basically) free, this ticks a box. The former Dog has some experience as a defender as well, and can pinch hit as a ruck if desperately needed. Compared to Weideman as just key forward depth, through that lens it’s a slight upgrade.
It’s a shame Schache hasn’t lived up to the hype since the draft, because even half of what was promised at that time is exactly what Melbourne need in their forward line – a high-endurance, roaming forward who can get up and down the ground would catapult the Demons to another level.
Perhaps he can find a bit of that spark and earn regular AFL minutes at his third club.
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 Melbourne||Read||West Coast||Read|
|Gold Coast||Read||Port Adelaide||Read|