The Crows and the Blues remain in a stalemate over Gibbs, who wants to return home to South Australia but has three years left on his deal.
Hawthorn star Darren Jarman flagged a similar go-home move more than 20 years ago, with the Hawks equally keen to hang onto him.
What started as a simple player-for-picks scenario between two clubs ended up as one of the most-complex trades in AFL history.
With Carlton hell bent on convincing Gibbs to stay or extracting a king’s ransom from Adelaide (who have already baulked at parting with Charlie Cameron or Mitch McGovern), it seems the Crows are going to have to get creative.
James Fantasia, Adelaide’s recruiting manager from 1995 to 2007, was a key member of the Crows’ negotiating team that was faced with a similar bind when Jarman told the Hawks he wanted out at the end of 1995.
“When we first sat down with the Hawks, you could have cut the air with a knife – it was hostile,” Fantasia told AAP.
“They came up with a list of players that included Shaun Rehn, Mark Ricciuto and Ben Hart, and said that the only way they were going to move on Darren Jarman was if one of those players went to them.
“So it was a really difficult place for us but that’s when we started to do the exploring and ended up where we did.”
In a nutshell, the Crows received Jarman and pick 45 from Hawthorn and they sent key defender Sean Wellman to Essendon.
The Bombers also received Paul Barnard from Hawthorn and sent Paul Salmon to the Hawks.
Darren Kappler moved from Sydney to Hawthorn, while the Swans obtained a second-round pick from the Hawks and Paul Rouvray from the Crows.
Key defender Peter Caven also moved from Sydney to Adelaide.
Clear as mud?
Certainly a roundabout way of achieving a trading goal, but it illustrates there are ways around the impasse Adelaide and Carlton find themselves in.
“The Jarman deal ended up being one of the most-complicated trades ever,” Fantasia said.
“If you had seen our whiteboard with arrows going everywhere … it was (crazy).
“Every single trade, for me at least, was an emotional rollercoaster and it was especially the case with that one.
“But good clubs keep working to find a way to make it a win-win.”
Fantasia, who is now the chief executive at SANFL powerhouse Norwood, believes a deal will probably get done for Gibbs.
It remains to be seen if negotiations will take as many twists and turns as Jarman’s homecoming required.
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