GWS plot to snag top youngster
Greater Western Sydney is exploring ways to keep the country’s most sought-after teenager, Western Australia’s Jaeger O’Meara, for itself.
The Giants can trade the rights to four 17-year-olds over the next two years as part of the new club’s draft concessions, with the original understanding that they could not hoard these players.
But GWS has found a possible loophole that could allow it to trade the first selection in next week’s mini-draft to one club, then do a separate deal with a third party to get it back, once it is traded on to that second club.
The Giants put a proposed three-club deal to the league last week, which would have had them trade the rights to O’Meara to one club, then do a separate deal with the third team and select the classy onballer at Monday’s mini-draft.
They were told by the league that the bold deal, believed to involve Hawthorn and Fremantle, needed more fine-tuning before it could be approved, with the AFL still examining how and under what circumstances GWS could recoup any of the mini-draft picks.
At least two other clubs have put a similar offer to the Giants, and at least one has promised not to pick O’Meara should it be granted a mini-draft pick, so that he remains in the 2012 draft pool and therefore available to GWS.
Clubs have been told the mini-draft selections can be traded on, but it was not clear yesterday whether the AFL would allow the Giants to have any of the selections returned to them.
For the league to sign off on it each individual deal submitted to the AFL must appear appropriately balanced and not reliant on a secondary trade that evens the terms.
GWS was given the right to trade up to four selections for 17-year-olds this year and next.
But it is still expected to deal just two of them during this trade period.
The concessions were introduced with the belief they would help the Giants to lure established players.
The coveted picks were a key focus of yesterday’s opening trade talks, with most clubs interested in securing the rights to either O’Meara or Ballarat onballer Brad Crouch by Thursday’s 5pm deadline.
Gold Coast is believed to be leading the race by using pick four in the coming national draft and probably one of the compensation picks it recouped during last year’s trade period.
The clubs that hold compensation picks – the Western Bulldogs, Adelaide, Melbourne and Geelong – are believed to be in the prime position for the second selection, should the Giants not win back the rights to O’Meara.
It is understood Melbourne and Adelaide will consider bundling their first-round picks – Nos. 12 and 10 respectively – with their compensation picks.
The clubs would ask for the Giants’ pick 14 in return, so that they would effectively lose their compensation pick but slide only a few places down the order in this year’s draft.