As the sun sets on another Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period, it’s the deals that didn’t get done that are now stealing headlines.
While many trade rumours gain legs and traction with no real substance behind them, a recurring theme of this window was the negotiations between North Melbourne and St Kilda for the services of Tristan Xerri.
Xerri requested a trade for further opportunities, but with a deal unable to be brokered, GM of Football Brady Rawlings says he'll be welcomed back at Arden Street with open arms.
“He’s (Xerri) four years into his career, he’s 22, he wants to play footy. We understand that, but we want him to play footy at our club,” Rawlings said.
“We were pretty clear with Tristan the whole way along, and we understood he felt he could get more opportunity at another club.
“He certainly wasn’t looking to leave because of any ill feeling towards the club or his teammates ... he’s a very popular member of the team.
“There’s clearly no need to repair a relationship, because it wasn’t broken … he’ll be back for pre-season and it’ll be business as usual.”
While the exact details of the offers from St Kilda weren't confirmed, Rawlings said North valued Xerri highly.
“We weren’t prepared to let Tristan go at that price … he’s too valuable for us to let go for a swap of late picks.”
With the acquisition of Callum Coleman-Jones and the retention of Xerri, North now has three genuine ruck options who are contracted heading into the 2022 season.
At the age of 33, Todd Goldstein is obviously closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but continues to perform year after year.
Rawlings says the system David Noble implements means the club needs to have a large number of genuine ruck options.
“We value the ruck space. We play two rucks every week and we’ve done it all year,” he said.
“We bring Callum (Coleman-Jones) in who’s 22 with Tristan at 22, we’ve got Jacob Edwards as a 19 year-old coming through, with Charlie Comben as a 20 year-old key forward who can play in the ruck … with Todd turning 34 next season.
“We need that amount of players on our list to cover that position.”
Even though North played a two-ruck system for the bulk of last season, it was Goldstein who was running through the middle of the ground more often than not.
As the all-time AFL/VFL hitouts leader, he’s obviously an attribute in the contest, but it's his ability to drift forward and play as a genuine key-position option that sets him apart from the competition.
Key goals against West Coast and Carlton helped steady the Kangaroos on the way to victory last season, and Rawlings says the veteran could play forward more than ever into the future.
“With Todd’s ability to cover the ground, and his durability over a number of years … we’ve been able to play him for 90, 95 per cent in the ruck sometimes,” he added.
“At times this year he was still probably around 75 per cent of the time in the ruck. That’ll reduce a bit more and we’ll see him more forward.
“The beauty about Todd is he can go forward. He’s not the type of ruck that can only play in the ruck.
“We think we can really develop [Coleman-Jones’] ruck craft, and moving forward for the next five to ten years we think he’ll play a lot of ruck for us.”