With the Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period currently underway, North Media takes a look at some of the most noteworthy trades since the inception of the National Draft.

In: John Blakey
Out: Pick 68


When a team trades for a player in their mid 20’s they tend to be a side which sees itself on the cusp of the premiership window.

The addition of a mature, AFL-proven talent is well worth giving up the chance to recruit young, up-and-coming players if they can help take the side that one step closer to Grand Final glory.

That’s exactly what North Melbourne got when it traded for John Blakey on the eve of the 1993 season. A proven, versatile and no-nonsense midfield addition who already had 135 senior games under his belt.

In his first nine seasons at Arden Street though, Blakey put together a near unheard of run of consistency and longevity for a player moving into his 30’s, only missing two games in that timeframe.

Such was his improvement with age, he polled more Brownlow votes in 2000 than any other season of his career - at the age of 34.

He played a key role in both the 1996 and 1999 premiership triumphs, and was crucial in bringing through some of North’s young midfield superstars like Anthony Stevens and Anthony Rock, as well as ruck Corey McKernan.

While he only played 13 games in his final season, Blakey retired from AFL football having played 359 games, currently enough for the 12th most in VFL/AFL history.

Of those 359, 224 of those were played for the Kangaroos, also kicking 72 goals for the Arden Street side.

Since his retirement, Blakey has since come back to the club as a defensive coach, returning at the beginning of the 2021 season.

Fitzroy picked Travis Miller with the draft selection they received for Blakey. He never played a game of senior football and was delisted after just two seasons.

In the same year, North also gained the draft pick from Fitzroy (55) that landed future two-time premiership ruckman Matthew Capuano, with John McCarthy heading the other way.

The versatile big man played 82 games in the royal blue and white, while McCarthy booted 77 goals in 71 games for the Lions.