IF CALE Hooker nodded his head, Mitch Brown might now be a St Kilda player. But the Essendon defender said no to a move to West Coast and the Eagles were not prepared to trade their contracted full-back without a replacement in store.
The Saints are understood not to have made a firm offer for Brown until the last 24 hours of the trade period when they offered Jamie Cripps and pick 25, then improved that offer at the 11th hour yesterday to Cripps and pick 16. The Saints had been prepared to trade picks 25 and 26 to Geelong for pick 16 to get the deal done.
The offer came late and West Coast did not consider it had time to execute the deal.
Eventually Brown stayed at the Eagles, who then gave up picks 41 and 46 for Cripps and St Kilda's pick 44.
The Eagles, mindful that they are a top-four team and thus strongly in contention for a flag, were not prepared to trade Brown without a replacement in case they had an injury to one of the other three key defenders. At his age (31), Darren Glass may also not be fit to play more than 15 games a season.
The Saints yesterday brought in Sydney's Trent Dennis-Lane as a fast small forward, in part as a replacement for Cripps.
Port Adelaide's Ben Jacobs remains in limbo after the Power was unable to reach a trade with North Melbourne for the homecoming Victorian midfielder. North Melbourne was not prepared to trade its first pick - 15 - for Jacobs and Port considered North's second pick - 38 - to be insufficient. Port faces the prospect of losing Jacobs for nothing as he appears likely to nominate for the national draft.
The Bulldogs have already indicated their interest in him with pick 22.
At the end of the month-long exchange and free-agency period, 35 players moved AFL clubs - not including those pre-listed to clubs or the 17-year-olds who were drafted. This was a radical increase in player movement over trade periods of recent years.
Still, it was a trade period marked by the players who, amid this flurry of activity, did not get traded - Brown, Jacobs and, of course, Kurt Tippett, of whom the AFL admitted yesterday it had warned Adelaide against trading in the exchange period due to its investigation into salary cap cheating and draft manipulation.
Melbourne made the most significant changes to its list of any club, with five players going out - Jared Rivers, Brent Moloney, Jordan Gysberts, Cale Morton and Stefan Martin - while four senior players; Shannon Byrnes, Chris Dawes, David Rodan and Cam Pedersen, as well as teenagers Jesse Hogan and Dom Barry, come into the team. The Demons have also committed to father-son Jack Viney.
Martin's move to the Lions yesterday means veteran ruck Ben Hudson is now likely to retire.
Hawthorn traded Stephen Gilham to the Giants and brought in Matt Spangher as the back-up tall defender and, in the process, also secured Northern Territory zone selection Jed Anderson in what other clubs acknowledged as canny trading.