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  • Writer's pictureJosh Jenkins

Trade Tales

I've been traded twice. So I know a thing or two about the current AFL trade period.

Once from an Essendon rookie list to try and kickstart my AFL career and once to try and reinvigorate my career - which history now tells us was largely unsuccessful.

Anyhow - I thought I'd provide some level of insight into what it's like to be traded.

Now, I'm well aware both times I was shipped off I was far from the headline name of that trade period but each situation is significant for those involved.

At the end of the day, you're putting your professional life on the line to try and continue your path elsewhere. The fallout of what happens if your request fails is always simmering somewhere in your mind.

My Essendon to Adelaide move was simple.

I could not have enjoyed my season at the Bombers any more. I made friends, got to play VFL footy - including one final - and received coaching from James Hird, Brendon McCartney, Simon Goodwin, Sean Wellman and Simon Madden. Decent crew, one would agree.

But, career certainty and opportunity forced my hand and I asked to be moved to the Crows. The Dons could only squeeze me onto the rookie list for a further 12 months whilst Adelaide had offered me two seasons on the senior list.

So, you tell me... 12 months as a rookie on what I recall was about 40k or two years as a Crow on more than double that salary!?! There's not even really a need for the question mark is there...

My medical in Adelaide was the first time I'd ever been to South Australia. Sometimes you've just got to take a chance.

Funny story...

When I agreed to terms with Adelaide, my deal was two years at 100k and 110k plus match payments. Huge coin for a 22-year-old who may have had 10 grand in the bank.

The only problem was, the AFL had rules stipulating rookies who were upgraded to the senior list had to receive the 3rd round draft pick wage. Because I was a traded rookie, this information was accidentally overlooked.

So, poor old Josh went from 100k to 68k and 110k to 75k.

I played 11 games in my first season which meant 11 match payments so there's no whinging here. And, Adelaide were kind and said they'd made the error so offered me a third season on the contract so long as I played just one senior game in the first two seasons.

My move from a Bomber to Crow happened at the very end of the 2011 trade period.

As did my move from Crow to Cat - only this time I was holidaying in New York City with my wife and baby girl.

We'd always had a desire to get to Geelong. We just had to wait for them to complete their season and for them to deal Tim Kelly back to Perth before worrying about me, sitting there in the background eating yoghurt on the steps of Central Park (Gossip Girl thing apparently).

So we gallivanted around the Big Apple, speaking regularly with manager Paul Connors but trying to enjoy a trip to the U.S. and pretending to not worry about the pending trade.

On the last day of the trade period - at around 11pm NYC time - I spoke with Paul and he said nothing would be getting done until the last hour or so. Maybe even deep into the last few minutes.

So, I tried to catch some z's, which I amazingly did, before I woke to a call from Paul saying the deal was about to be done. There were only a handful of minutes to go but the deal was done on a handshake and providing no one lost the paperwork I'd go from a Crow to a Cat.

In American sports, being traded comes with the territory. Players have no say on where and when they get traded (expect the select few who have no-trade clauses in their contracts) and are expected to move from one city to the next within a few days.

In the AFL, that's got next to no chance of succeeding. The AFL players are not paid in the millions upon millions like the NBA or NFL players and culture and chemistry plays a large role in our game. It's less about that in the American pro sports.

So, as the madness that is the trade period moves into overdrive for 2021, I'll watch from afar, acutely aware of what many players will be thinking and feeling.

The trade period is an exciting and enthralling time for us fans but an indifferent one for those involved in the trading.

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