For most of the season we’ve listened to discussions about what the make up of the inaugural GWS squad in 2012 will be. Tom Scully and Callan Ward were touted as potential star recruits early on and, as was the case with the Suns this time last year, the rumours were true. Once their team lists have been raided, the clubs affected by the recruiting powers of Kevin Sheedy and his men are asking the question, “So what do we get in return?”
Of the players to have signed with GWS so far, the compensation Melbourne will receive for Tom Scully far outweighs anything earned by the other teams involved. The dees will have access to a first round pick, plus a mid-first round pick (equal to what Geelong received for Gary Ablett jnr when he left for the Gold Coast). The Bulldogs receive a first round pick for Ward, the same as what Adelaide get for Phil Davis. Meanwhile, in exchange for Rhys Palmer, Freo has to make do with a mid-first round pick.
According to the AFL, compensation is based primarily on how much each player is offered at their new club. Whether a players pay packet should determine their former club’s compensation is questionable though. compare the three midfield recruits:
Scully: 20yo, 31 games, average 21.3 possessions per game
Ward: 21yo, 60 games, average 17.5 possessions per game (ave 20.8 in 2011)
Palmer: 22yo, 53 games, average 19.7 possessions per game
There’s no doubt that Scully has the most potential of the three, but a player such as 2008 Rising Star Award winner, Rhys Palmer, is surely worth more than just a mid-first round pick in comparison. While Palmer hasn’t re-captured the form of his debut season since his knee reconstruction in 2009, he is clearly a talented player who has lost his way and could blossom in a new environment.
Callan Ward seems to be the most mature player of the three, and may be the most likely to be named as Captain in the club’s first season. Yet with that extra selection, Melbourne could potentially end up with an extra top 20 draft pick than the Bulldogs. Based on selections in that vicinity over the last few years, that extra recruit could be someone like a Nathan Fyfe, Luke Shuey or Harry Taylor. Not a bad bonus in exchange for a kid who’s played 31 games.