Nothing in the football world generates a frenzy like the whiff of a big-name trade.

The possibility of recruiting one of the game's best players to your team can be a tantalising prospect.

Going to the draft is a long and boring process. Recruiting a ready-made star can be the quickest way to send your side shooting up the ladder.

But how often do these big trades work?

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High draft picks are the hottest commodity on the market and rightly so. Drafting top-end talent to your football club can determine a generation's worth of success.

Weighing up the value of a proven player against the unknown of a draft pick is where list managers earn their money.

But as we are seeing increasingly often, it can be a huge mistake to overpay for high-profile players.

There is always a temptation to cough up whatever it takes when one of these players nominates your club.

Nearly 20 years ago in 2002, Adelaide gave up Picks 2 and 18 in order to bring a 31-year-old Wayne Carey to the club.

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The ageing Carey only managed 18 games for the Crows before retiring, whilst North Melbourne used Pick 2 to draft Daniel Wells, who played over 250 games in his career.

Five years later in 2007, Carlton traded for Brownlow medallist Chris Judd from West Coast in one of the biggest trades of all time.

To get the deal done, the Blues traded Josh Kennedy, Pick 3 (Chris Masten) and Pick 20 (Tony Notte) as part of the deal.

Whilst Judd went on to win another Brownlow, Carlton never seriously contended for a premiership and the price they paid was enormous. Masten played over 200 games for the Eagles and Kennedy has gone on to become West Coast's greatest forward ever.

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The consequence of getting a big trade wrong can set a club back decades.

And so after a quiet 2021 trade period, we wanted to look back on some of the biggest trades in the last decade to see how they've panned out.

TOM BOYD - 2014

Western Bulldogs received: Tom Boyd

Greater Western Sydney received: Ryan Griffin, Pick 6 (Caleb Marchbank)

A massive trade at the time, the Bulldogs targeted Tom Boyd only one season after getting drafted at Pick 1.

Boyd struggled with injuries and mental health throughout his career, failing to live up to the enormous contract and expectations.

The forward retired at 24-years-old after 52 games at the Kennel, but not before an epic performance helped the Dogs win a drought-breaking premiership.

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For GWS, Griffen played 55 more games before retiring and Caleb Marchbank requested a trade two seasons later.

Who won: A hard trade to evaluate with both sides left wanting more from their end. Ultimately, Boyd's Grand Final performance tips this one in the Bulldogs favour.


Geelong received: Patrick Dangerfield, Pick 50 (Ryan Gardner)

Adelaide received: Dean Gore, Pick 9 (Wayne Milera), Pick 28 (traded)

The highest-profile trade of the decade was also one of the best for the Cats.

So far, Dangerfield has won a Brownlow, three best and fairests and five All-Australians from his 131 games at the Cattery.

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For the Crows, Gore never got on the park, whilst serious injuries have kept Milera to 62 games.

Adelaide traded their pick 28 as part of a deal that landed Troy Menzel, who played four games for the club.

Who won: One of the most one-sided trades of all time, Geelong have gotten everything except a premiership out of Dangerfield. Geelong won this easily.


Essendon received: Dylan Shiel, GWS' 2019 second-round pick (pick 42)

GWS received: Pick 9 (Jye Caldwell), Essendon's 2019 first-round pick (pick 14)

In 2018, Essendon won a bidding war against multiple Victorian clubs to secure the prized Giant.

They paid two first-round selections for the former All-Australian, who joined the club on a six-year deal.

After three seasons, Shiel has played 45 games for the Bombers but is yet to recapture some of his best form. And with another three years still to go on his contract, the 28-year-old's spot in team is now being questioned.

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Meanwhile, for GWS, they traded on the future pick and lost the other, Jye Caldwell, in a trade to Essendon two years later.

Who won: In hindsight, the two first-round picks Essendon paid were well overs, although receiving Caldwell anyway softens the blow.


Collingwood received: Dayne Beams, Pick 41 (traded), Pick 44 (traded)

Brisbane received: Pick 18 (Ely Smith), Pick 56 (traded), Collingwood's 2019 first-round pick (Pick 18)

After several impressive seasons at Brisbane, Beams requested a trade back to his former club Collingwood at the age of 28.

The Magpies were keen to get the deal done and traded two first-round picks as part of the trade.

Beams struggled with off-field issues and played nine more games for the Pies before retiring in 2020.

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Adding salt into the wound, Collingwood's 2019 first-round pick ended up in Port Adelaide's hands, who drafted future star, Mitch Georgiades.

Who won: Brisbane. Collingwood lost heavily out of this trade, especially considering they would later miss out on Georgiades as a result.


Fremantle received: Jesse Hogan

Melbourne received: Pick 6 (on-traded), Pick 23 (Tom Sparrow)

Rounding out an enormous 2018 trade period, Fremantle were desperate to acquire a key-forward who could lead their offence for a decade.

They targeted the talented but troubled Jesse Hogan, costing them two high draft picks in the process.

Like Beams, Hogan battled off-field issues at the Dockers, playing only 19 games in his two seasons at the club.

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At the end of 2020, Fremantle traded Hogan to the Giants for pick 54, a remarkably bad return on their deal with Melbourne.

For the Demons, they used Pick 6 to recruit Steven May from Gold Coast, whilst also drafting premiership player Tom Sparrow with pick 23.

In a cruel twist of fate, Pick 6 was eventually used to draft Ben King, whilst the Dockers are still searching for a key forward.

Who won: Melbourne. This trade was simply disastrous for the Dockers and one they'll want to forget.

TIM KELLY - 2019

West Coast received: Tim Kelly, Pick 51 (traded), Geelong's 2020 third-round pick (traded).

Geelong received: Pick 14 (Cooper Stephens), Pick 24 (traded), Pick 37 (traded), West Coast's 2020 first-round pick (traded).

Essendon received: Pick 33 (Nick Bryan), Pick 57 (traded).

Tim Kelly asked for a move home to Western Australia in consecutive seasons, but the Eagles still had to fork out to acquire the midfielder.

In a complicated three-way trade involving Essendon, West Coast effectively gave up four picks inside the first two rounds for Kelly.

At 27-years-old, Kelly has plenty of good footy ahead of him but is yet to set the West on fire.

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With an ageing Eagles list, this trade will be analysed thoroughly in the coming years.

Who won: Whilst it's still too early to tell, giving up four quality draft picks will likely come back to bite West Coast.


Geelong received: Jeremy Cameron, GWS' 2021 second-round pick, Essendon's 2021 second-round pick

GWS received: Pick 13 (Conor Stone), Pick 15 (Ryan Angwin), Pick 20, Geelong's 2021 fourth-round pick

With an old list still inside their premiership window, the Cats decided to pull the trigger and doubled down on winning a premiership.

As the deadline neared, Geelong agreed on a monster deal for Cameron that involved giving up three picks inside the top 20 selections.

The former Giant struggled with injuries at times throughout 2021 and the Cats lost another preliminary final.

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If Geelong doesn't win a flag with Cameron, the decision to do this deal will be scrutinised for many years to come.

Who won: Still early days, but already this trade is looking ominous for the Cats.