The Talking Point: Using Your Last Few Trades

For those coaches who are yet to run out of trades, deciding on how to best utilise them can be a tedious and nerve-racking process–particularly at this late stage of the year as DT finals approach. Rather than blindly predicting the total amount of points your trade will bring you between now and the end of the season, there can be merit in analysing how you can appropriately time the use of these trades and their potential to have the biggest impact on your premiership pursuit.

Though it is often a pointless exercise trying to foresee the DT future, two things you should be able to gauge are

  • The quality of your round 19 opponent; and
  • Where you are likely to finish on your league ladder.

This will be different for everyone, so it is important to remember that the trade decisions you make must be circumstantial and specific to your own ladder position, fixture and amount of players you have absent. Though some would advise you to make all of your remaining trades prior to DT finals, you may find greater benefit in holding one or two throughout your finals campaign should carnage occur – which history tells us it will.

For example, if you will still hold a place inside the top four or eight(depending on your own realistic objective) regardless of if you win or lose this weekend, then there is no point in trading just so that you can move from third to second or from sixth to fifth. Though you may have a preference in regard to who you would rather face inside your respective quartet come week one of finals, the trade you save now, could later be used to cover a donut and be a secret weapon in the weeks to come.

Perhaps your ladder position is still undecided and you have an important match coming up this weekend. While it will be difficult to resist the urge to trade, the ~20 points per week you might gain from trading say Brandon Ellis to Sam Fisher this week, may come at the detriment of the 100+ point surge you could potentially receive later on if you trade to cover a donut. Having the freedom to trade out an injured player while your opponent stares down the barrel of a donut could be the difference between being knocked out in the semis or progressing through to the grand final.

However, a top-four ladder position can be greatly beneficial and there are some trade situations where you should not hesitate. If you are facing a must-win game this weekend and can significantly improve your round 19 scoring potential, don’t be afraid to be aggressive if necessary or you might die wondering what could have been.

Brent Stanton and his apparent hamstring injury could potentially place coaches in a predicament that could decide the outcome of their season. Stanton appeared to experience some kind of cork or hamstring strain during the third quarter of Essendon’s Friday night clash with Hawthorn. He was iced up during the fourth quarter and took no further part in the match. While the club has not released any information on the possible injury, if Stanton isn’t named to take on the Crows this Sunday then coaches will have an important decision to make. We have been burnt by misleading injury information more than once this year, with big names such as Scott Pendlebury and Buddy Franklin being out for longer than initially anticipated. If your bench cover is at all shallow and given Stanton’s recent form, if he is not named on Thursday then I would be inclined to trade him. The similarly priced Marc Murphy looms as the obvious replacement.

In saying this, the advice of others is not all that relevant at this late stage of the season. Only you have a thorough knowledge of the state of your current side, only you understand how few trades you have left, and only you can rightly judge what it will take to carry your side deep into finals. Remain calm and be open to tweaking the trading strategy you have implemented throughout the year as you look to achieve finals glory.

Any questions or discussion via twitter @tomcraigie


  • nice read… although not relevant to me as i have zilch trades left :P

    • I agree, awesome article by Tom, is he new to the gang? Very helpful given I have both a few trades left and waiting on stanton.

  • would u reccomend this with 3 trades left?

    morabito>couch then L.thomas>Fyfe

    it will leave me with 1 trade for an unexpected injury, is that enough?

  • you probs should trade Broughton though…..

    • Bad luck to many of Greg’s owners – Not me

      • Props to the dude that called this on here 2 weeks ago.

        • I didn’t call it, but I did trade Greg for Scotland two weeks ago. So to be honest I’m kinda glad. Terrible isn’t it?

    • probably a more relevant talking point now.. if you’ve got a bit of cash, then McPharlin and M Johnson look good options.. Fisher the obvious call if you haven’t.

  • Looking to upgrade either Ebert or Priddis to Swan this week…which one should I pick? Priddis probably will do slightly better than Ebert, but if I pick Ebert it gives me 80k left over for finals upgrades, as opposed to 36 k for Priddis.

    • I would say keep priddis due to better scoring potential but what finals upgrades did you have in mind because you might not need the cash?

      • for the finals upgrade/s i mean

        • A bit of cash is always going to be handy. An injured player often gets a tiny score that immediately drops their value. You don’t want to have to compromise at this time of year.

          Having said that, I would be keeping Priddis.

  • Two options with 2 trades:

    1. Trade Broughton to a defender $364,000 or less (thinking fisher)
    2. hold broughton/save trade and rely on or spurr as D7 for the rest of the year.

    Must win this week to stay in the top 4

  • I have a backline consisting of Lids, BJ, Scotland, Carrotts, Enright, Lake, Ellis, Darley and Shaw.

    Im 5k short from getting Waters for Ellis.

    With 5 trades left do I…

    Go Darley to Fisher to keep Ellis as quality cover,
    Go Ellis to either Suckling or Birchall this week and hope we see Shaw/Darley soon
    Darley to Baguley and Ellis to Waters
    Hold one more week and hope Ellis kills it vs weak opposition and bridges the gap to go to Waters the week after.

    Having trades isnt the great as so much indecision…

    • Depends if you league finals are on the line?

    • I like Darley-> Baguely / Ellis-> Waters.
      Significant improvement for finals (~20 points per week) – more consistency at the very least.

      3 sideways trades for finals is enough this season I think.
      Or if you’re lucky you could even get another two upgrades out of them.

  • wtf should i do with sexton, got a completed team with zorko as f7. I have 5 trades left and 54,000 in the bank. Wouldn’t mind some better backup.

    • Ive currently got clarke as d7 and morris and shaw as d8 and d9. I could go….
      Morris – baguley
      Clarke –, Enright, suckling.

      That would then give me 3 trades left?

      • Very sound plan. I think you should add a mid/fwd gun though – I just have a feeling this year will show teams really fighting for the final 8.

        • Yeah out of those back line guys who would you go, Shaw can be inconsistent, Enright is hitting some form while I’m not sure about suckling. If you wanna have a look at my team its called Trenter

  • 1 Trade left and Stanton is pissing me off…
    should I pull the trigger now while i can with Murph’s price set to skyrocket or hold on and rely on stants to come back to form ?
    Cemented top of league and adequate bench cover for 1 or 2 LTIs per line …
    help appreciated

    • 1 trade left

      im thinking

      griffin ——–> McEvoy

      Should i save the trade orrr………

      Griffins not doing to well and mcevoy is

    • I would trade if Stanton was out this week or hold if he’s in. Just my opinion

    • whenever you have the opportunity to swap an essendon scumbag for a blue boy you should take it

  • It’s been a rough year of hard lessons for this here first time DT captain.

    I did listen to one piece of advice and have saved THREE trades. Each one like a golden egg that I’ve protected and kept warm throughout the season. At the beginning with 24 I couldn’t have imagined how precious they’d be.

    Managed to fluke a likely 4th place finish in one of my leagues.

    Going to have to make some decisions but I think my plan is –

    1 Trade saved for possible Stanton outs

    2 Trades saved for the finals, weighing up each week if it’s worth burning them or not.

    Sound reasonable? Or should I be looking 4 moves ahead?

    • well done! but it depends on your bench cover. if you’ve got a bench full of guys who are playing every week, then i’d be inclined to get Murphy in and save 2 trades for your 3 finals. also: how sure are you of finishing top 4? if you finish 5th you will play an extra game

  • 2 trades left and set a definite lock for top 4, only weak side…hopefully if most injuries return this week or following is in the ruck where I’m a little concerned as I have Ryder and Giles as my main 2 and Redden/Stephenson as cover. Happy to stick with Giles but a little concerned about Ryder as I’m yet to hear anything yet? Does anyone know his situation? Also, Hargrave. Is it worth trading him out now or just hang on and hope Sam Shaw comes back this week and keep Hargrave as my emergency cover?

  • Stanton is on the cards for a trade out but what are people’s thoughts on trading out goodes, they’ve both pissed me off since joining my team, have 5 trades left, cemented 2nd in one league and hanging in the 8 by .02% in the other……..

  • I’m definitely not trading this week because I don’t have a single important league game. 3 left

    I’m going to finish (2nd or 3rd), (2nd, 3rd or 4th), (4th, 5th or 6th) (but 4th is unlikely and I am playing the team ranked 2nd so it isn’t worth trying) , (2nd or 3rd) and 1st in my five leagues. It might even be advantageous to lose the tough one and finish 6th, as 7th is a weaker team than 8th. Bet I get my best score of the year when I least need it

  • With 4 trades left, I have only a couple trade option I’m thinking of;

    Brian Lake?
    What do I do with him?
    He’s can pump out a junk time ton, but given percentage is so important this season, opponents are just drilling the Dogs.
    Do I keep him, and use him as bench cover whilst upgrading Ellis?
    Or upgrade Lake and keep Ellis for the bench?

    Also, Dustin Martin is my biggest underpoerformer in my forwards – but with Robbo, Franklin, Sidey all out last week I’ve been hesitant to upgrade another rook to Chappy.
    If I upgrade, Martin would be my mids/fwds bench cover.

    If I make both of these trades, I’ll have two trades left and about 10k in the bank.
    Do it?

    • Both ideas are bad.

      Lake is a little up and down but he averages 80, which is a solid score for a D7. Just hold him for now and Ellis seems to be a very reliable D8/D9

      In your forward, Dusty is in some decent form atm. Given he averages 85 and he is your weakest forward, it’s kind of wasteful to upgrade a rookie to Chappy because it probably won’t benefit you that much. Also, Chappy’s form is a little edgy getting back to back shit scores. Robbo and Sidey should be back next week, which will hopefully ease pressure on your forward line.

  • Lads I have 8 trades left and 179k and need some help :/ This is my team:

    Deledio, Scotland, Waters, Goddard, Grimes, Carazzo, Ellis (Broughton, Baguley)

    Boyd, Ablett, Pendlebury, Mitchell, Thompson, Sloane ( Gibson, Mcintyre)

    Cox, Jacobs (Stephenson, Redden)

    Franklin, Chapman, Dangerfield, Beams, Martin, Zorko, Goodes (A Kennedy, Couch)

    I am thinking of going Stephenson>Josh Hall, Sloane>Swan

    Then next week Broughton>Suckling/Birchall

    Leaving me 5 trades for the finals, anyone with a better plan.

    • Mate your in a great position, 8 trades left with a team like that! Your plan is great, nothing wrong with it always good to get swanny in! And next week definately do an upgrade in your backs, out of the two id pick birchall for consitency, ive personally had him all year and hes been gold
      Then with 5 trades left thats a good amount for finals! Goodluck!

    • With a team like that, and so many remaining trades… You are ranked either 100,000 or 100.


  • I think i have a unique situation unfolding. I’m on of the idiots that still has broughton from the get go, f@#k you ross. anyways i have one trade left and 18900 cash in the kitty. that will give me a straight swap for lake, and leave me with no trades and Zero $$$ . just wondering if it’s happened before?
    i’m not so sure he’d be the best cover (d8) in the backs going around. the question is trade or not to trade i guess.

    Team as is: BKs Delids, goddard, scotland, johnson, adcock, carrots, ellis, (Broughton, Darley)
    Mids: Pig, Gaj, Boyd, Thommo, pendles, robbo, (Sidey, Baguley)
    Ruc: Cox, Maric, (Campbell, Hall)
    For: Danger, Chappy, Porps, Zorko, Smith, Goodes, Dickson, (Franklin, Olive oil)

    If i trade then it gives me a playing spud for cover and a chance to get into the 8….in my main league. all others in top 2’s

    Any advice would be appreciated

  • Yo DT Talk journo’s.

    Have you guys written an article on Finals structure, i.e. second chance game etc? Is it exactly like the real AFL finals?



    • +1

      1st year playing DT and really enjoying it and this great site… I could do with a heads up on finals as in my league I’m sitting 3rd and playing 2nd…. If i win I will end up 3rd on %… if i lose 4th-7th (most likely 4th or 5th)…

      • I would also like confirmation of the finals stucture. Is it

        Round 1
        1v4 2v3 5v8 6v7

        Round 2
        A) 1v4 loser plays 5v8 winner
        B) 2v3 loser plays 6v7 winner

        Round 3
        1v4 winner plays B) winner
        2v3 winner plays A) winner

        Round 4 – winnners from above

        I am currently 1st but dont want to play 5th (my main rival) until the finals

  • Very easy, DT Finals replicate the AFL Finals structure.

    1 through to 8 play out a set of finals.

    9 through to 16 play out another set of finals (substitute 9th for 1st, 10th for 2nd, 11th for 3rd, etc)

    17th and 18th miss out.

  • Def: Deledio, Goddard, Birchall, Heppell, Scotland, Dempsey and Bugg (wilkes,mohr)
    Mid: Hayes, Pendles, Boyd, Thompson, Stanton, Carrazzo (Miles, Kennedy)
    Ruck: Jacobs, Jenkins (Giles, campbell)
    Fwd: Sidey, Dangerfield, Petrie, Darling, Pavlich, Zorko and Dusty (Cameron, saad)

    My trade this week was James McDonald $295 out (moved adam kennedy from fwd line to midfield bench) then with $490 bought Pavlich for me forward line.

    3 trades left with around $3,100 remaining in the bank


    • Ideally you need to get Carrots into your backline so you can bench Bugg. Trading Bugg/Wilkes/Mohr for a Midfield rookie (within the trade screen move Carrots to your DEF). This will allow you in the first instance to play Miles over Bugg on field. Your next trades would then aim to upgrade one of your midfield rookies to a premium, Swan or Ablett looking at your team.

      Have not done the sums but you may have to use your 3rd trade as a downgrade again to get the cash for the above.

      Essentially in the end you will be playing Swan or Ablett over Bugg, shoud gain you about 70 points not even counting better Captain options.

      Stanton is looking shaky to play the next couple of weeks, may have to scrap all of the above and sideways him.

  • I will offer another point of view on the save/make trade discussion.

    Lets say you are locked into top4 (or top 8) and result of this week won’t change that and you have 4+ trades left and are planning to dowgrade a bench player and upgrade to a premo during finals to get the edge. I am hearing most say hold trades in case of LTI.

    I think the smart move is actaully the opposite. You need to make your downgrade trade this week. That gives you the cash freed up for your upgrade in round 1 of finals meaning you only use 1 trade next week.

    Why is that important?

    If you hold trading over for next week you will need both of your weekly trades to complete the upgrade combo. Is that a problem? No, not really… unless you suffer a LTI to another of your premos this round!!

    Then you will have to use a sideways trade to replace them, leaving you a trade short for next week on getting your downgrade/upgrade completed.

    So then why not make the downgrade/upgrade this week?

    Back to conventional thinking here that says “what if the upgraded premo you tarde in gets a LTI and screws it all up?”. Holding the upgrade also means it will be a surprise for your opponent when lockout happens to see another premo on your field!!!

    TLDR: if you have enough trades that you are planning a downgrade/upgrade for round 1 of finals then make the downgrade this week., not next!!!

    • Another factor to consider is whether your upgrade target is going to rise in price. If he’s on the bubble (eg Baguley last week) then waiting could cost bucks. If he won’t rise then waiting might give you more flexibility finals week 1.

      • Sure if your upgrade target has a ridiculous price/be (Marc Murphy & Suckling being the only 2 sprining to mind this round) then it may be worht jumping on now rather than next week.

        I would not be calling Baguley an upgrade target though. That is a downgrade and I already think you should make your downgrade this week regardless to free up your cash…

        • Baguley was a downgrade target. My point was that buying him before round 18 meant I avoided a $65K price rise. Marley Williams’s price was going nowhere but Baguley’s was – waiting too long can cost bucks.

    • Extremely valid point MW. For those who hold so many trades that they can still afford to make downgrades, there is definitely merit in trading in Tom Bell this week (if you think he’s going to stick around in the Carlton side) just in case you need to make two trades next week. Obviously the Broughton injury requires immediate action and the need to trade this week, so guys like Bell and Baguley become a lot more relevant.

  • I’m looking at trading in Ryan O’Keefe before he goes up in price too much.

    To do it:

    Broughton out (thank God),
    Baguley mid->def,
    O’Keefe in at mid.

    This leaves me with Sam Shaw, Bugg or Smedts to fill d7.

    This will leave me 4 trades and $35K and I will end up p1/2 in 1 league and p5/6 in another.

    I also have Franklin, Steve Johnson, Sidebottom and Mitch Robinson on the pine (mid or fwd) but covered and I expect to use at least 1 more trade later on one of them with the remainder for injuries but surely I’ll get 3 of them back by finals.

    Is my Broughton/Baguley/O’Keefe trade wise?

    • Broughton to Baguley is a good trade. Maybe consider Bell instead (see Jeppa’s article) if the DPP is not going to be active for you as you will net more $$$.

      I’d then have to ask who is is O’Keefe replacing in your mids? Even if ROK is replacing a mid rook on field I think the rmid rook score is better to have on the field than any of Sam Shaw, Bugg or Smedts to fill d7

      I’d be more keen to use the cash to upgrade one of those defenders to say Suckling/Scotland/Birchall.

    • Broughton is already in – as a mid. He would go to d6.

      O’Keefe goes into solving the mess my mids & fwds are causing. I have a whole heap of mid/fwd DPPs at this point that are keeping the donuts away. In time, 2 of Stevie J, Franklin, Robinson, Sidebottom or even O’Keefe will go to give me a Pendles.

      My aim, this week, is to avoid a donut that might cost me postion 1 for finals (p4 is ailing with no trades left). If I wait, then I will lose and O’Keefe will be too dear. If something else happens (Cox out?) then I might end up accepting second and saving the trade altogether.

      Any thoughts?

      • ahh gotcha missed what you were saying with switching Baguley.

        Is your donut in FWD or mid that you need to cover? If it is FWD then bringin in ROK may be worth it if it allows you to swing him forawrd for Robinson??

        If it is in MID then I’d say leave Baguley in mids to cover the donut and still consider going broughton to say suckling…

        Otherwise maybe even consider dumping one of Shaw / Smedts / Bugg for Bell and going from Broughton straight to Pendles??

        I guess the main reason I say that is why would you consider bringing in a ROK if you are already thinking of possibly dumping him for Pendles?? anyone who comes in to your team at this point you really want to keep to the very end.

      • Yes, the problem is mainly with fwds as Stevie J & Buddy are fwd only. I agree that having Ryan O’Keefe in then trading him out later seems odd. My point was that if I have 1 trade left at the GF and trading him out is the only way left to improve my team then I will.

        I actually see it more likely that stays to the end and Buddy, Stevie J, Sidey or even Chappy goes out to finish my team – even as part of a double trade to fine tune def or ruck.

        I don’t think I’m crazy but my aim is to end up top for finals without doing anything to tighten my options later on and I think the fwd donut is a bigger loss to avoid than, say, 30 points in defence.

        Of course I might be nuts though.

      • Regarding defenders, I just don’t see scores as high as O’Keefe seems likely to return amongst the available defenders; Suckling or Birchall probably would only beat Sam Shaw or Baguley by that much. I think the better value is in mids & fwds.

        Thanks for your input and, who knows, Stevie J, Buddy, Robinson & Sidebottom might all play and then a defender it will be.

  • I wish I went jmac -> baguley last week.. would’ve loved some dpp :(

    I’ve got Stanton, hows this?

    Jmac -> couch (zorko as mid cover once buddy comes back)
    Stanton -> Swan
    1 trade left

    or do I go Stants to Murphy and hold 2 trades?

    It’s a must win game this week but my team is probably 100 points better then my opponent (not necessarily enough)

    • Or… Jmac to JORDAN KING-WILSON!! (he’s an 85k def/mid who has a badass name)

      It gives me defence dpp, so if a mid goes down I can move carrots or lids into my mids as cover and use one of my solid JS defence rookies (my mid rookies don’t get games).

      Yes, JKW won’t get a game, but the dpp could save me a donut. (I can’t afford baguley)