It's time to shorten footy's trade period

HANDY GET: Collingwood player Jack Crisp. Picture: Wayne Ludbey

HANDY GET: Collingwood player Jack Crisp. Picture: Wayne Ludbey

The AFL's trade period wrapped up seven days ago - a week after it needed to. The annual circus came to Melbourne as clubs and player managers tried to wrangle deals which best suited their agendas.

It's an interesting time for the AFL and one which keeps it in the news cycle as other sports like cricket, soccer and basketball chase their share of the spotlight.

I like the trade period. There's a sense of the unknown as you await deals.

Who will your club pick up? Who will it send packing? What draft picks will it finish with? But its current long and drawn-out format means interest wanes.

It is all talk and no action in the first few days. Most of the swaps happen in the last two hours.

It's designed, with television coverage now in play, so that there is suspense in the dying minutes.

Of the 31 trades completed over the eight-day period (excluding a weekend in between), 16 came on the final day - and many of those in the last two hours.

That thrilling finish is what the league's head honchos are chasing.

But would it be the same suspenseful finale if the trade period was restricted to five days, or maybe even three? Sometimes less is more.

Of course, the trade period also gives fans a chance to grade and discuss the winners and the losers.

It's a time where players on the fringe at one club suddenly become a wanted commodity because they're available.

The truth is a trade's success remains undetermined for years.

Highly-touted recruits can sometimes turn out to be the wrong choice, while the steak knives can become important members of a best 22.

Collingwood defender Jack Crisp falls into this category. He was considered an added bonus when the Magpies played hard-ball on want-away Dayne Beams in 2014.

Beams, who is now back in black and white stripes, went to Brisbane for picks five, 25 and Crisp.

The Magpies drafted Jordan De Goey with pick five and sent pick 25 to North Melbourne for tough midfielder Levi Greenwood. Crisp, having cobbled together just 18 games in three seasons at the Lions, has gone to play 116 consecutive matches for the Magpies.

Time will tell who the steak knives steal of the 2019 trade period is.

As a Fremantle fan I'm hoping it's either Blake Acres or James Aish.

Justine McCullagh-Beasy is an ACM journalist