ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25: Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Jason Horne-Francis and Leek Aleer pose during the NAB AFL Draft Media Opportunity at Adelaide Oval on November 25, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos)

The 2021 trade and draft period has concluded, with clubs shaping their list for another year ahead of a new run for the premiership.

Clubs identified the trade, free agency or draft windows as their priority avenue for recruitment depending on how ajar their premiership window is for 2022, with some clubs making a big splash and others having more tamed strategies.

With hindsight, we'll be able to see which acquisitions were hits and misses from this off-season, however only time will tell.

See every recruit of the 2021 off-season

Despite this, we've taken a look into each club's most important recruit of the 2021 off-season.


Josh Rachele

Despite the sensational swoop on Swan Jordan Dawson during the trade window, Pick 6 selection Josh Rachele is set to fill a present void in Adelaide's forward line.

The mercurial small forward will be capable of having an immediate impact at AFL level and will quickly gain the attention as one of the Crows' most lethal options on attack.

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Josh Rachele of the NAB AFL Academy in action during the match between the NAB AFL Academy and the Geelong Cats VFL side at GMHBA Stadium on April 24, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos)

With their wider midfield stocks and key-forward depths already brimming with talent, the selection of Rachele has looked to match an identified weakness in Matthew Nicks' best 22.


Darcy Wilmot

The Lions were one of the quieter clubs in the trade window, acquiring Darcy Fort from Geelong to bolster their rucks stocks.

Fort is sure to aid Oscar McInerney's workload should he be required, however its Wilmot's versatility in defence that is set to bode the best for Brisbane.

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The 17-year-old is able to pull strings from the last line as well as launch attacks with a thumping foot, being seen as a more than suitable option to replace the roles of Grant Birchall and Daniel Rich.


Lewis Young

Prior to Liam Jones' departure, the selection of Carlton's most important recruit may have been Adam Cerra, who is sure to give the Blues an upper hand in most midfield battles.

However, with a cavernous hole having opened in Michael Voss' key-defensive stocks, Young's worth at Princes Park is paramount.

With the likes of Caleb Marchbank and Mitch McGovern also seen as potential partners for Jacob Weitering in defence, Young may just emerge as the answer to Carlton's newest problem.


Nick Daicos

The Magpies were able to inject youth this off-season, with no arrival more documented than Nick Daicos' official move to the Holden Centre.

While questions remain whether the teenage sensation can have an immediate impact in the top flight, Daicos is sure to be the face of Collingwood's list rebuild currently in the works under Craig McRae.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Nick Daicos in action during a 2021 AFL Draft Combine Media Opportunity at Trevor Barker Oval on November 15, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images via AFL Photos)

Should he reach the heights touted of his potential, the father-son recruit could certainly mirror the decorated career of his dad.


Jake Kelly

The Bombers proved their premiership credentials in 2021, managing a shock top-eight finish in Ben Rutten's maiden season as senior coach.

While their sights will be set on the long run, the acquisition of Crows defender Jake Kelly is sure to buoy their chances of returning to the September action next year.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 18 Jake Kelly of the Crows handballs in front of Liam Ryan of the Eagles during the round 18 AFL match between Adelaide Crows and West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval on July 18, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Impressing in his ability to lock down either tall or small opposition forwards, Kelly's arrival adds to an emerging defensive juggernaut under the eyes of Rutten and development coach Alex Rance.


Jye Amiss

The Dockers were able to tick off multiple boxes with the acquisition of Jye Amiss, as the East Perth jet firms as the answer to the club's key-forward needs while also hailing as a local buy.

Likely to slot in beside the likes of Matt Taberner and Rory Lobb, Fremantle were able to quickly fill a widening void in their forward line, with Amiss adding both height and accuracy in attack.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24: Jye Amiss and Neil Erasmus pose with Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir during the NAB AFL Draft at RAC Arena on November 24, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos)

Slowly piecing together a sleeping giant, Justin Longmuir's side could propel themselves into a premiership window next season thanks to their impressive draft coup.


Jonathon Ceglar 

While the Cats were able to add much-needed youth to their ageing list, Ceglar is sure to aid the club's 'win now' stance for 2022.

Ceglar's presence is sure to add much-needed depths to the Cats' taller pecking order, adding competition for Rhys Stanley and Esava Ratugolea come selection.

The veteran ruckman will also give Geelong a more consistent foundation in midfield, while also allowing top draftee Toby Conway further years to develop before taking over the first-string ruck duties.

Gold Coast

Mabior Chol

While Pick 5 selection Mac Andrew is sure to lead the charge for the Suns in due time, the club's needs to show a more immediate rise falls with their recruitment of Mabior Chol.

The now ex-Tiger will add another spear to Gold Coast's attacking ensemble for 2022, partnering with Ben King to form a lethal duo in the forward 50.

Richmond Tigers Training Session
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 07: Mabior Chol during a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Metricon Stadium on August 07, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Also able to pinch-hit in the ruck, Chol will fill multiple roles for Stuart Dew in what will be a critical campaign for the Suns coach.

Greater Western Sydney

Leek Aleer

The Giants were inactive in acquiring new names through the trade window, instead looking toward and draft and delisted free agency period.

The club shocked many with the selection of Aleer at Pick 15, however that decision could have an immediate impact on Greater Western Sydney's aspirations for 2022.

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Able to contest with ready-made forwards and capable of moving further up the ground, Aleer might just be the pick of the bunch from the Giants' off-season acquisitions.


Josh Ward

The Hawks identify the draft as a key avenue for their off-season and were able to add to their youthful list in more ways than one.

No selections came with greater upside than North Knights midfielder Josh Ward, who has shown the ability to play both inside and outside of midfielder across his tenure in the junior competitions.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Josh Ward of the Knights kicks during the NAB League Boys match between the Northern Knights and the Sandringham Dragons at Preston City Oval on April 10, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos)

While the star names of O'Meara, Mitchell and Worpel man the midfield, Ward is sure to aid the club's rotations almost immediately with his elite aerobic capacity and versatility.


Blake Howes

There aren't many plugs needing to be filled at the Demons, with Howes perhaps the most likely recruit to have a resounding impact on the reigning premiers.

Ex-Saint Luke Dunstan is sure to add to the mix of Melbourne's star midfielder, while top draft pick Jacob van Rooyen will need time to break into the Demons' key-position stocks.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Blake Howes of the Dragons runs out during the NAB League Boys match between the Northern Knights and the Sandringham Dragons at Preston City Oval on April 10, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos)

For Howes, the Sandringham Dragons prospect will be able to play as a more athletic forward that can push up the ground and cover the wing if required, being next in line across several key roles.

North Melbourne

Jason Horne-Francis

The 2021 No.1 Pick is destined for an immediate impact at AFL level and is sure to be the key pillar in North Melbourne's journey back to premiership contention.

The Roos will enter 2022 with low expectations, however Horne-Francis is sure to raise the bar at Arden Street.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24: Number one draft pick Jason Horne-Francis goes to North Melbourne
during the NAB AFL Draft at the Cathedral Hotel on November 24, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos)

The South Adelaide star is sure to work in tandem with fellow off-season recruit Hugh Greenwood in moving between midfield and attack, with the pair both capable of having a large impact in the air as a forward option if required.

Port Adelaide

Josh Sinn 

The Power scurried to move up the draft order and secure the Vic Metro defender's services at Pick 12, and for good reason.

Sinn has proven to be an attacking threat from defensive 50 across his time with Sandringham in the NAB League, while also impressing throughout stints in midfield.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Josh Sinn of the Sandringham Dragons poses at Ikon Park on March 23, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

With the Power identifying run and carry as an area to bolster, their selection of Sinn is sure to quickly plug that hole in the middle of their premiership run.


Josh Gibcus

While the Tigers were able to secure Robbie Tarrant from North Melbourne to further strengthen their rearguard, it's the selection of Josh Gibcus via the National Draft that is sure to bode well for Richmond's premiership credentials.

The GWV Rebels defender will be capable of holding down a key role in Damien Hardwick's backline next year, able to play both tall and small.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24: (Back L-R) Ben Hobbs of the Bombers, Finn Callaghan of the Giants, Mac Andrew of the Suns, Sam Darcy of the Bulldogs, Josh Gibcus of the Tigers, Nick Daicos of the Magpies (Front L-R) Josh Ward of the Hawks, Campbell Chesser of the Eagles, Josh Rachele of the Crows and Josh Sinn of the Power pose for a photograph during the NAB AFL Draft at the London Tavern on November 24, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

As opposed to the recruitment of Tarrant, Gibcus firms as a name for the long run that can further extend the Tigers' premiership window.

St Kilda

Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera

Five of the Saints' six recruits of the off-season came through the draft or Academy system, with former Kangaroos ruckman Tom Campbell the exception.

While Campbell will be utilised as a reinforcement in the ruck, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera holds the cards to potentially have a prominent impact in the Saints' hopes of landing that elusive premiership.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera of South Australia in action during the NAB AFL U19 Championships game between Western Australia and South Australia at Mineral Resources Park on August 28, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Also adding further pressure to the midfielders higher in the pecking order, Wanganeen-Milera's accurate use of the Sherrin and unmatched agility is set to be a key feature at Moorabbin for the years to come.


Peter Ladhams

The Swans' 2021 season was buoyed by the stunning campaign of Tom Hickey, who will be looking to prove his career-best campaign was no fluke.

Should the 30-year-old enjoy another sensational season at the Swans, the clock remains to be ticking on his time in the AFL, with Ladhams arriving as his likely successor.

Also able to play in attack, the former Port Adelaide tall is sure to aid the workload of both Hickey and Lance Franklin across the course of next season.

West Coast

Campbell Chesser

The defensive-midfielder was taken with the Eagles' first selection of the National Draft at Pick 14, with West Coast having identified the Victorian prospect as a player capable of meeting the club's list needs.

Chesser is sure to add balance to the Eagles' defensive system and can move further up the ground to give his teammates good service in attack.

Draft prospect Campbell Chesser training at Trevor Barker Oval, 2021 (Photo: Mitchell Keating - Zero Digital Media)

Working alongside fellow 2021 recruit Sam Petrevski-Seton, Chesser firms as a valuable asset across several lines in the Eagles' future.

Western Bulldogs

Sam Darcy 

Despite recruiting Jamrra Ugle-Hagan just 12 months ago, Darcy will join the Bulldogs' star-studded forward line this pre-season ahead of a promising AFL career.

While he is set to compete with Ugle-Hagan, Darcy stands as a potential answer to the Dogs' ruck and key-defensive issues, having shown plenty of know-how across all three lines in his junior career.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Sam Darcy of the Chargers kicks during the NAB League Boys match between the Eastern Ranges and the Oakleigh Chargers at Preston City Oval on April 10, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos)

He may not have the immediate impact many have expected of Ugle-Hagan, but Darcy is sure to be the focal point of the Bulldogs' future as they look to bounce back from their 20-21 heartbreak.