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AFL trade: McEvoy’s eyes on Hawks guernsey

Hawthorn pick up highly promising St Kilda ruckman Ben McEvoy as a ready-made replacement for just-retired ruckman Max Bailey.

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* Melbourne is denying that it has agreed to part ways with ruckman Mark Jamar.

* St Kilda is the focus of the action today, with the gasp-inducing move of Ben McEvoy to Hawthorn. Read on below for more on that intriguing deal. List manager Ameet Bains discussed the McEvoy trade, but then went on to give fans hope that favourite sons Nick Dal Santo and Leigh Montagna will remain. On Dal Santo, Bains said: “Ultimately, the club has put a position to North, if we can’t get in what we feel is an adequate swap, we won’t do the deal. There’s a very big chance he’ll still be at St Kilda, no doubt.”

Ben McEvoy

David Hale and Ben McEvoy, now teammates at Hawthorn.

He says “categorically” that Leigh Montagna won’t be going anywhere. And on the front page news that champion captain Nick Riewoldt was approached by Collingwood, he said: “At no stage, did we make any reference to Nick in discussions. That hasn’t gone any further. The club in question sought to clarify to us, they hadn’t made an approach to Nick”

*Incredibly, Hawthorn has grabbed hold of highly promising St Kilda ruckman Ben McEvoy as a ready-made replacement for just-retired ruckman Max Bailey, with Shane Savage heading to the Saints, as well as Hawthorn’s first round draft pick at number 17. An established, durable ruckman with a long career ahead of him for a lightly-built fringe midfielder and a first round draft pick. St Kilda traded last year to get ruckman Tom Hickey from the Suns. Now it seems they have put a lot of faith in the former Gold Coast beanpole. They will also need to hire some back-up to support him.

Reaction in The Age office can be summarised as: “That’s crazy!” The consensus is that this is one of the great trades of recent times. For Hawthorn.

Ben McEvoy, 24, has played 91 games in six seasons at St Kilda, including four finals.

Shane Savage, 22, has played 56 games in four seasons at Hawthorn, including three finals. He missed out on a berth in the 2013 Hawks finals teams.

McEvoy’s progress seemed to stall in recent times, but he remains a durable, strong-bodied ruck with exceptional hands. On the flipside, he is less mobile than some competitors, and does not get far off the ground, rendering his tap-work less effective against the high-leapers.

St Kilda coach Scott Watters believes Savage is on the improve.

“Shane is an exciting player who brings pace and penetration to our midfield. At 22 he is approaching his prime and will add another dimension to our developing midfield group, we look forward to him embarking on a long career at St Kilda,” Watters said.

St Kilda Head of Football Chris Pelchen indicated the Saints were keen to bolster its young stocks.

“As it stands, we have now secured two first-round selections in the upcoming AFL National Draft as well as acquiring a promising young midfielder who has already served his football apprenticeship,” Pelchen said.

Ben McEvoy

Shane Savage should get more opportunities at St Kilda.

As a consequence of this deal, Lions ruck prospect Billy Longer, previously considered by Hawthorn, will now be more likely to remain in Brisbane. Hawthorn recruiting guru Graham Wright says the club is still interested in acquiring Longer, but he has admitted to AFL Trade Radio that with McEvoy and Hale on board at Hawthorn it will be “a little bit difficult”.

On McEvoy, Wright was understandably positive.

“Ben is a great addition to our list, and will complement our centre square unit extremely well,” he said.
“He has elite endurance, is very strong overhead and is a high quality ruckman.”
“At only 24 years old, Ben is already one of the competition’s premier ruckmen and we believe he still has significant improve to come.”

This trade continues the incredible success of Hawthorn in finding readymade talents from other teams. Their best and fairest this season, Josh Gibson came from North Melbourne, silky utility Shaun Burgoyne was a Port Adelaide star, David Hale a North Melbourne ruckman and just-retired backman Brent Guerra was a stalwart for St Kilda and Port Adelaide.

The Sydney and Hawthorn premiership teams of 2012 and 2013 each had six players that had been recruited from other clubs. Read more.

Ben McEvoy

Tom Hickey has played 24 games in three AFL seasons, with 12 in 2013 at St Kilda.

*Gold Coast Suns List manager Scott Clayton says his club’s “planned, methodical” approach in previous years means it will not be a big player in the 2013 trade period. With three picks (currently) inside the top 23 at the upcoming National Draft, and much spruiked 18-year-old talent Jack Martin set to make his debut in 2014 after a year at NEAFL level, Clayton says “a lot of clubs are more urgent” to change their list than the Suns. He told SEN radio Thursday morning that the Suns had not faced an exodus of young talent due to the ‘go-home factor’ because the club made a concerted effort to deliver facilities, coaching and welfare programs that give them the “best chance to be the best player they can be”.

Jack Martin

Sun young gun Jack Martin at the under-18 championships in 2012.

Hawks list guru Graham Wright has denied that dual premiership hero Brad Sewell is on the market.

“He was never on the table. A couple of clubs brought his name up Monday and then he’s in the paper which is disappointing,” Wright told Trade New Radio.

SEN was donated a rumour from a caller that Hawk midfielder Shane Savage was being sought by St Kilda, which no-one has yet been able to verify.

Speculation is flowing that six-year Bulldog Jarrad Grant, who finally began to deliver on his promise in the final eight games of 2013, is weighing up a possible move after being offered an incentive-based contract.

SEN is also discussing the future of robust Demons ruckman Mark Jamar, with speculation that Melbourne will allow him to leave, entrusting their ruck division to Jack Fitzpatrick, Max Gawn and Jake Spencer.


Lance Franklin (Sydney) The Hawthorn forward will sign a contract worth about $ 10 million over nine years in a deal no one, including GWS, saw coming.

Dale Thomas (Carlton) Set to join Carlton on a four-year agreement at nearly $ 700,000 a season, an offer the Pies are highly unlikely to match.

Eddie Betts (Adelaide) Carlton forward accepted a four-year offer of about $ 2m from the Crows.

Colin Sylvia (Fremantle) The Demon No.3 draft pick to join Ross Lyon’s pursuit of a premiership.

Shane Mumford (GWS) Sydney ruckman has accepted a three-year deal with Giants.

Matt White (Port Adelaide) White has left Richmond to join Port Adelaide on a three-year deal.

Shaun Hampson (Richmond) The back-up Carlton ruckman goes to Punt Road in exchange for the Tigers’ second round pick, No.28 overall.


CLUB BY CLUB (before the free agency/trade period)


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 42, 60, 78, 96, 114


Free agents: Simon Black and Jonathan Brown

Draft picks: 7, 25, 41, 59, 77, 95, 113


Free agents: Heath Scotland

Draft picks: 12, 29, 47, 65, 83, 101, 119


Free agents: Dale Thomas

Draft picks: 10, 27, 45, 63, 81, 99, 117


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 44, 62, 80, 98, 116


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 16, 33, 51, 69, 87, 105, 123


Free agents: Joel Corey

Draft picks: 15, 32, 50, 68, 86, 104, 122


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 5, 18*, 23, 39, 57, 75, 93, 111


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 1, 9*, 19, 35, 53, 71, 89, 107


Free agents: Xavier Ellis

Draft picks: 17, 34, 52, 70, 88, 106, 124


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 2, 20, 36, 54, 72, 90, 108


Free agents: nil

Draft picks:  8, 26, 42, 61, 79, 97, 115


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 13, 30, 48, 66, 84, 102, 120


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 11, 28, 46, 64, 82, 100, 118


Free agents: Nick Dal Santo

Draft picks: 3, 21, 37, 55, 73, 91, 109


Free agents: nil

Draft picks: 14, 31, 49, 67, 85, 103, 121


Free agents: Dean Cox

Draft picks: 6, 24, 40, 58, 76, 94, 112


Free agents: Dylan Addison

Draft picks:  4, 22, 38, 56, 74, 92, 110

* Expansion club compensation picks