So Adelaide did not get Bryce Gibbs. Put simply the Crows went into the Trade Period needing to improve their midfield and somehow they came out of it with a less talented midfield. They traded away Jarryd Lyons for virtually nothing and failed to get the Gibbs deal over the line.
It is concerning to hear Adelaide List Manager Justin Reid say that the Crows were approached by Gibbs at the eleventh hour and that their original plans were to pluck a player from the draft rather than search for an elite established midfielder. That is either a blatant lie or a severe lack of a feel as to where Adelaide’s list is currently at. Reading between the lines if Adelaide put a five year deal in front of Gibbs, it is hard to imagine that this was not some sort of designated plan stored somewhere in the filing cabinet. Regardless though, you can understand Carlton’s stubbornness to trade one of their better players who only a couple of years ago signed a five year contract.
Credit to Adelaide with Carlton wanting two first round draft picks for Gibbs. He is not worth that at age 28 nor is he worth trading away Charlie Cameron, Jake Lever and most definitely not the original request of Rory Sloane! So that means you go to Plan B.
Something does not add up in this story. Firstly there were plenty of three way complicated deals done during the Trade Period. Surely there were other clubs who could have got themselves involved in the deal. A swapping of picks here and there. Plan B does not seem to be a theme that is in place at West Lakes. We saw throughout the season the stubbornness from Adelaide to change or tinker with their game plan during games when things were clearly not going well on the field. If Carlton’s asking price was too high and other clubs did not want to involve themselves in the deal, why pursue it the whole two weeks? If you can afford to place a five year deal in front of Gibbs, why not go and dangle a carrot in front of Pearce Hanley, Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O’Meara, Jack Steele? There were other options. If they did do this, why not tell fans, who are angry and at the moment clearly feel like they are not getting the real story. We all pay good money to be members of the Club and the least we deserve is some transparency.
The line coming out of the Adelaide camp is that there is ‘organic growth’ from within Adelaide’s current list. Firstly organic growth sounds like something you would buy on a Saturday morning at Bunnings. Secondly I agree that there is some serious talent on that list. Harrison Wigg, Riley Knight, Curtly Hampton, Dean Gore, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Troy Menzel, Wayne Milera, Brad Crouch and Matt Crouch all have improvement left in them. But unfortunately perhaps only Brad Crouch and Milera have the ability to become elite and even then there are no guarantees. Adelaide are one more elite midfielder short. Just one. Is that such a huge task to fix?!
So what happens next? Ricky Henderson, Harry Dear and Mitch Grigg now find themselves in no man’s land. I’d keep all three if possible now that the dust has settled. Although further list changes are likely to come so I do not think all of them will find themselves at West Lakes next year. Pick 13 has to be used on the best midfielder available at that point in the draft and Michael Barlow needs to be looked at if he nominates for the Pre-Season draft.
The Crows had to land a big fish. They failed. And as such Adelaide’s 2017 flag hopes take a huge turn for the worse. All is not lost, but Adelaide needs to start being open and honest with its fans or risk agitating one of the most loyal followers in the league, who turn up week after week at the Adelaide Oval. Oh and never use the term organic growth again. What is really going on?