Mid-season drafts, trades and loans, all on the table for 2018

With Sydney Swans's season edging ever closer to midnight on the metaphorical doomsday clock, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan looks to be the unlikely hero of the hour.

McLachlan told reporters on Wednesday that if he could change one thing about the game, it would be to free up player movement.

Given the Swans' precarious situation, with Kurt Tippett retired and Sam Naismith rupturing his ACL this week, the Swans are one injury away from total disaster.

The announcement by the AFL CEO and his reiteration of his desire for the introduction of a mid-season trade window or draft - or both, was music to the Swans' ears and couldn't have come at a better time.

Already reeling from the loss of Kurt Tippett, the Swans would have considered dipping their toes in a mid-season trade window. With Sam Naismith out for the season, their hand will be forced.

While the AFL has publicly declared their desire to introduce the potential trade and draft windows, as well as acknowledging the potential for player loans - in the same vein as world football, they acknowledge that some clubs are resistant to change.

"It's been a very slow U-turn, it's like trying to turn around one of those ships that comes through the Heads," McLachlan said of the AFL's attempts to convince clubs of the merits of more player movement.

"I just feel currently that our player movement has the ability to be opened up further. You have one trade period for that two weeks and you have one draft.

"Two weeks after the trade period you get Sam Docherty do his knee and he's an All Australian last year and one of Carlton's most important players and you've got (retired Saint) Leigh Montagna sitting on the sidelines who might be able to a job for a year.

"Carlton might be two years off from competing for a flag, but if it was Brodie Smith and he [injured his ACL] after the draft and Adelaide is right in that flag window you should have some more flexibility, and I think the same thing applies when you come into the middle of the year.

"Two years ago, Port Adelaide lost all their ruckmen. So you've built for four or five or six years to be in the flag spot, and to have no flexibility if you've got a specific amount of injuries doesn't make much sense to me."

McLachlan added that a mid-season trade window would give clubs on the bottom of the ladder a stronger bargaining position than usual in negotiations with finals contenders.

"It's the only time of the year when the lower-ranked team has got leverage because the team competing in the finals needs to get the deal done," McLachlan said.

"I like the fact the hand is with the team lower down the ladder."

The Swans will consider any and all options this season, with Callum Sinclair their only recognised Ruckman left standing.

While Darcy Cameron has impressed in his JLT appearances and limited NEAFL time, his injury record is a cause for concern, now that he's been thrust into the senior squad for round 1.

Rookies Toby Pink and Joel Amartey wait in the wings and may get their chances this season, while senior players Sam Reid, Dean Towers and Aliir Aliir will be trialed first.

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Justin Mitchell

Justin is a passionate AFL and Sydney Swans supporter, and football blogger since 2016. All articles are of his own opinion. You can reach him by twitter and Facebook at @theswansblog

Melbourne, Australia http://theswansblog.com

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