AFL Trade News 2022: Carlton Trade Targets, List Analysis by Gary Buckenara

Carlton will get at least one of Fremantle’s would-be stars in the trading period, but which high-paying former trading target should they ditch as a priority?

It can be a very cruel game, a missed goal or two in a season was the difference between reaching the final and missing again.

But we’ve seen Carlton’s development in recent years and there’s no doubt this group also has a much tougher edge with the arrival of Michael Voss. With 22 A/B players and rising stars on their roster, long-suffering Carlton fans should really rest assured that they are now at a time when finals football is a must. Indeed they should be a top four side with real claims to winning a Premiership with the talent and depth at their disposal.

Carlton suffered for many years after some very poor roster management and recruiting decisions from 2005 until the arrival of Stephen Silvagni. Although he traded for a number of GWS players, some of those recruits have become important players, and investing in the draft over the past five years has resulted in some really important players developing.

But some top conscripts have yet to progress to an A or B rating.

Paddy Dow is a talented player, only 22 years old and has been in the system for five years. I thought he was a second grader now. He fights against the established players who are ahead of him. Was he given continuity? Probably not, but I would have thought he would be in the top 22 at this point in his career.

The same goes for Lochie O’Brien. Both he and Dow have played over 50 games but are still rated C. It may be tough for O’Brien having played 19 games this year, but he still hasn’t developed into a B-grader.

I think Liam Stocker was a reasonable player, but the Blues just didn’t give him enough time to take his placement to a B-level. I was very surprised that he was dropped from the list and the Blues might regret that decision if a club like Bombers can get the best out of him.

Stocker’s situation this year was similar to Brodie Kemp’s. He also needs to play more games at the AFL level. That’s one criticism I have of Michael Voss and the coaching staff – they just don’t get enough of their high draft picks.

But the key building blocks are there. A fit forward from Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow was one of the main reasons they are so dangerous. Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra are really smart and quality players and when you add the afterplay strengths of Patrick Cripps, George Hewett and Matt Kennedy the midfield is very strong.

Their defensive stocks are very good, with Jacob Weitering, Sam Docherty, Nic Newman, Adam Saad, and Lewis Young all having good ratings. The list is very balanced and they should be a regular finalist and Premiership contender for the next three to five years, at least if you’re lucky with injuries.


At club level, player rankings are generally based on grades A+, A, B+, B, C+, C and developing players.

My ranking will focus on A, B, C and for the developing 20 year old and under players will be rated as Rising Stars (RS) and Those Needing More Time (NMT).

With the younger players, it’s important to consider who will come through and who will take longer to develop.

The key areas for clubs to look at are how many A and B players they have and the rising stars who I think should be A and B players in the future.


Patrick Cripps, 27

Harry McKay, 24

Sam Walsch, 22

Jakob Weitering, 25

Charlie Curnow, 25

Adam Cerra, 22

Adam Saad, 28


George Hewett, 26

Sam Docherty, 28

Jack Silvagni, 24

Zac Williams, 27

Matthew Kennedy, 25

Lachlan Fogarty, 23

Tom de Koning, 23

Jack Martin, 27

Nick Newman, 29

Zac Fisher, 24

Marc Pittonet, 26

Lewis Young, 23

Ed Curnow, 32

Matt Owies, 25

Lachlan Pfluger, 28


Paddy Dow, 22

Lochie O’Brien, 22

Mitch McGovern, 27

Brodie Kemp, 21

Caleb Marchbank, 24

David Cuningham, 25

Jordan Boyd, 23

Sam Durdin, 26

Will Setterfield, 24

Alex Mirkow, 22

Matt Cottrell, 22

Rising Stars

Jesse Motlop, 18

Corey Durdin, 20

needs more time

Jack Carroll, 19

Sam Philip, 21

Josh Honey, 20

Doman Akuei, 20th


Luke Parks, Oscar McDonald, Jack Newnes, Liam Stocker, Will Hayes

List Breakdown:

A grade = 7

B class = 15

C class = 11

Rising Star = 2

Need more time = 4


Talented real footballers with skills, competitiveness and footballing skills are what they should keep adding.

The jerk stocks are thin and need attention but I have to say Marc Pittonet has really improved and hopefully after his PCL injury he can get some luck and change his technique on center bounces to avoid future reps.

Tom De Koning is a few years away from playing his best footy, but that likely won’t be the only jolt. His versatility is his forte but Pittonet’s injury has certainly hampered the Blues.

You need a bit of experience to help the group take the next step. They’re in the window with a chance to win a flag within the next five years so a Premiership/veteran player from another club would boost their hopes.

The Blues’ backline is definitely not as solid as their forward and midfield lines. Weitering and Saad are clearly the standouts, but they need more support, especially in the key department.

Lachie Plowman has qualities that are hard to find. Others might see it differently, but I don’t think he’s wasting too many possessions.

Sam Docherty is a bit unlucky to be classified as a second year, but that was only due to his missed season last year. Another consistent season in 2023 and he’ll jump into the A class.

An experienced small forward should also be considered to help players like Corey Durdin, Matt Owies and Jesse Motlop.

I’m sure they will look to add more talent to the roster with a combination of free agents or contract players and position themselves to add young talent via strong draft in 2022.


More midfield class and some ruck depth in support of Pittonet are the main priorities during the trading period. A player like Karl Amon or Brad Hill would be ideal targets for midfield, while Rory Lobb would also add another forward/ruck option. Those three players are likely to move to other clubs, so Carlton needs to get creative. If Luke Jackson finds his way to the Dockers, then the Blues should make way for Sean Darcy and promise him the #1 ruck role. You’d have to weigh up whether he’s better than Pittonet, but if Darcy wants out, the Blues should be a suitor. Or Darcy’s understudy at Lloyd Meek could be a cheaper alternative as the blues’ margins will understandably be tight.

The Blues are set to sign Blake Acres from Fremantle, which is an interesting move. I thought Acres’ form for St Kilda was normal but he developed his game a lot at Dockers. He comes back to Melbourne as a more complete player. He doesn’t have the same ballplaying skills as Amon, but he does have games under his belt. I’m not sure if he’s a walk-up start, but it’s a smart “moneyball” type choice to increase her chord.

The Hawks’ Jack Gunston would also add another dimension to the list. He would be a very good player for the club. I would give him a three year deal with a coaching/development role tied to year three to complement their forward line. The Luke Breust signing comes as a blow as it’s hard to see what other quality small forwards are available. Maybe they’re looking at Melbourne’s Toby Bedford or a late attack on the Giants’ Bobby Hill.


I doubt the Blues will do much to offer players during the trade, but Mitch McGovern’s sacking is certainly a priority.

They need to take McGovern’s salary off their books, but unfortunately they won’t get much for him. They should accept a late draft pick if they can get an opposing club to pay part of his hefty salary while making sure they pick a player like Brodie Kemp over the former Crow.

The salary release would allow the Blues to target a Tom Mitchell type who could further strengthen the midfield. An experienced player who is good at clearances would certainly be included in the group as the depth was tested this year. Or it would allow them to stock up on their jerk and small supplies.

Paddy Dow might be another one they move on but I don’t think they would get much more than a late second or a third. Could they convince North Melbourne to be a suitor to make a higher choice?

I wouldn’t trade a senior conscript like Kemp just yet, they just need to back him to develop unless clubs offer a tempting deal. This draft is quite talented so clubs need to take that into account when looking at deals.


With 22 A and B players on their roster, the Blues are in a very strong roster position and that’s thanks to Silvagni’s decisions and the current roster and recruiting teams.

They should be a team to be a contender for a few years as their roster is young and many players are still improving and developing.

I got Adam Cerra as an A-grader because he was very good at Freo. Despite his injuries, I think he’s going to get even better and be a star A grader.

Walsh is already a star and with the likes of Hewett and Cerra around him it will only further help the Blues with the burden now shared.

They’re now playing a style capable of winning under Voss Finals, so Carlton fans should have some exciting times ahead.

While this year ended in heartbreak, it will surely hurt this group enough to really move to another level in 2023 individually and as a group.

Originally published as AFL: Gary Buckenara analyzes Carlton’s roster after the 2022 season AFL Trade News 2022: Carlton Trade Targets, List Analysis by Gary Buckenara

Nate Jones

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