The Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power both had disappointing trade periods, but for very different reasons.
Adelaide offloaded six players and a combined 784 games of AFL experience and only replaced them with a project key forward who has played just three games. Billy Frampton has shown promise in his minimal opportunities at AFL level but he is not going to drastically alter the culture or performances down at West Lakes.
With new coach Matthew Nicks at the helm, Rory Sloane taking the full captaincy and the mass exodus of players, it is clear the Crows are entering a full-scale rebuild and intend on bottoming out to build back up.
However, such strategies are tough on fans and players, who can easily become disgruntled by poor performances and want out. With Brad Crouch, Wayne Milera and Rory Atkins out of contract at the end of 2020, it will be a difficult to keep these players on the promise of future success.
The next step for Adelaide is the draft and they must hit with their selection at pick four, which could be goal-kicking midfielder Sam Flanders or a talented South Australian to eliminate the go-home factor.
Given the Crows are unlikely to be competitive in 2020, their main priority should be giving players such as Darcy Fogarty, Chayce Jones and Elliott Himmelberg as many opportunities as possible at senior level irrespective of their form.
The 2019 off-season won’t decide Adelaide’s future, but it will play a crucial role in deciding how long it will take for their future to blossom.
Port Adelaide appear in limbo, with an ageing squad yet a big emphasis on drafting young players.
In the past two years alone, Port Adelaide have recruited Ryan Burton, Sam Mayes, Scott Lycett, Jack Watts, Tom Rockliff and Steven Motlop from opposition clubs. But in 2019, the club decided to let senior players leave and focus on the draft.
The loss of Dougal Howard will sting the most for Power fans. The 23-year-old has excelled as a backman and currently sits second and fourth all-time for most one-percenters in a game.
With Howard, Frampton and Paddy Ryder leaving and no replacements coming in, Port Adelaide are now devoid of any depth in key positions. Should Scott Lycett, Charlie Dixon or Tom Jonas go down Ken Hinkley will be in a sticky situation to fill in the gaps.
To make matters worse, the 2019 draft does not have the same level of tall prospects the 2018 draft did. There are no Lukosius or King brothers for the Power to target this year, meaning the club could be forced to reach with picks 12 and 18 to fill the gaps left behind.
But perhaps the biggest issue for Port Adelaide is their veterans with Robbie Gray and Travis Boak at 31 years of age and Justin Westhoff is 33. These three men have won six of the clubs past 10 best-and-fairest awards and are entering the twilight of their careers.
Following the average performances of recent recruits Tom Rockliff, Steven Motlop and Jack Watts, it appears the club have abandoned their efforts to chase a flag and are looking to rebuild on the fly.
This strategy has left Boak, Gray and Westhoff stranded, wasting their final years with the club now unlikely to win a premiership before they retire.
Both the Crows and the Power have a whole host of talented young players which they can build around, but it will take time and patience, which may be wearing thin for a state which hasn’t tasted premiership success in 15 years.