The AFL’s Trading Period has already had a number of twists and turns and there are undoubtedly more to come.
Some expected deals are finally falling into place, while others are taking everyone off-guard.
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We kick off with an expected resolution to one of the more protracted trades of this year’s silly season.
Gresham deal finally done
For more than a month, St Kilda veteran Jade Gresham has been linked with moves away from Moorabbin.
Speculation over Gresham’s likely move to Essendon intensified during the trade period, with only the Saints’ free agent compensation the remaining sticking point.
The deal has now been done, with the Saints getting a late first-round selection in return for Gresham, currently the 21st pick.
The 26-year-old played 136 games and kicked 136 goals over eight seasons with the Saints.
The Bombers have been keen to add some experience to their list, with Gresham their third addition so far after Ben McKay and Todd Goldstein moved from North Melbourne.
St Kilda has been linked with a number of moves, including the possible signing of speedy Fremantle youngster Liam Henry.
Veteran forward’s surprise request
Like his long-time former teammate Luke Hodge, Jack Gunston left the Hawks to seemingly finish his career under the northern sun in Brisbane with the Lions.
Unlike Hodge, however, it appears Gunston would rather now finish his career elsewhere.
Namely, back where it all started at the Hawks.
After 211 games, 410 goals and three premierships with Hawthorn, Gunston requested a move to the Lions at the end of the 2022 season.
He made 17 appearances for the club and it appears the Queenslanders aren’t thrilled by his plea for a return just 12 months later, judging by a terse statement they have released.
“The Brisbane Lions confirm Jack Gunston has informed the club of his desire to return to Hawthorn,” it reads.
“While understanding Jack’s situation, as a contracted player the club is assessing its position and will work through its options.
“The club won’t be providing further comment at this time.”
It appears some fans of the club aren’t too concerned either.
“Failed at Lions, good riddance to a bad trade,” wrote X user Peter Bent. “He’s not even close to Lions best 23 for next year.
“Lions without Gunston lost 1 game, that sums up where he sits at the club.”
Gunston and Daniel Rich shocked footy commentators during the season when they stood themselves down from senior football because of form slumps.
“They’re not gonna play for a little while,” Fagan told reporters at the time.
Gunston was eventually able to work his way back into the starting side.
Hawkins likely to keep flying at the Cattery
One surprise name that has bobbled along during the trade period is Geelong veteran Tom Hawkins.
Off contract, the veteran spearhead was linked with a shock move to the Demons last week.
But his wife Emma Hawkins has made it clear he intends returning to Geelong in 2024.
“Tom always said when he physically can’t or mentally can’t (play, he’d retire),” Emma Hawkins said.
“But when the Cats didn’t make finals, I could tell there was a fire in his belly.
“Tom’s biggest enjoyment that I could see is spending time with the younger group.
“The passion he has, maybe they make him feel like he’s 22 again, but he loves the group.”