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"We obviously value Bryce more highly than Adelaide do": Blues hit back over Gibbs debacle


UPDATED: The Adelaide Crows insist their midfield deficiencies can be overcome by “organic growth” within their existing list – but have nonetheless lashed Carlton for making “unrealistic demands” over star Bryce Gibbs after failing to land a trade for the contracted midfielder.

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The two sides reached the end of the AFL trade period unable to agree on a deal for the 27-year-old, who requested a trade to Adelaide so he and his partner could receive family support with their young son.

Carlton today hit back over Adelaide’s criticism of its handling of the failed Bryce Gibbs trade, saying the Crows undervalued the midfield star.

Adelaide accused the Blues of making “unrealistic demands” to see through Gibbs’ move to West Lakes.

The Crows were reported to have finally offered Carlton their No.13 pick in this year’s draft, as well as a future third-round selection and young fringe defender Jake Kelly – but could not convince the Blues to part with Gibbs.

List manager Justin Reid would only say yesterday the offer was “fair and equitable”, revealing Carlton would not move from their demand of two first round draft picks.

“At the end of the day Bryce was a contracted player, he’s got three years to go on his contract and their demands they put on us we thought were pretty unrealistic,” Reid told FIVEaa.

“It would have been irresponsible for us to do that so we had to walk away.”

But Carlton football boss Andrew McKay told SEN: “We obviously value Bryce more highly than they do.”

“They weren’t close: we were very clear with them,” he said.

“It wasn’t a matter of us mucking them around at all. We were prepared to let Bryce go for the right price.”

McKay said the club would provide Gibbs support to help him through his issues to prevent a repeat of the saga in the 2017 trade frenzy.

“We believe we’ll be able to get him back into the fold and not make him feel too awkward,” he said.

“Bryce loves the Carlton football club and he’ll play some really good footy for us next year.”

Reid told media Gibbs “is a quality player and person but, like in all trades, there has to be ‘fair value’ for both parties”.

“We do not believe that would’ve been the case if we were to hand over at least two first-round draft picks or a combination of players, who are crucial to our short and long-term success, as was requested.”

Reid said before Gibbs came into the equation – which he insists stemmed from an approach from the player’s management on the Friday before the trade period began – “we were pretty clear with our [list management] strategy”.

“We think there’s some pretty good organic growth within our own list [so] we’re really backing in where we sit at the moment and with pick 13 at this draft we can keep evolving,” he said.

Despite frosty relations between the Crows and Carlton camps, Reid did not resile from making the trade machinations for the midfielder public on day one of trade period, saying: “I got asked a question and I answered it honestly.”

Gibbs is contracted through to the end of 2019 but Reid signalled that the Crows would sound him out at the end of next season.

“He’s a South Australian, he’s got a strong intent to come home so we’ll review that in 12 months’ time,” he said.

The failure to land the Gibbs deal means Adelaide have failed to strengthen their midfield after sending onballer Jarryd Lyons to Gold Coast.

Gibbs’ manager Nigel Carmody said the Blues’ refusal to accept the trade was disappointing.

“We think the deal that Adelaide put forward was more than fair and reasonable, particularly in comparison with some of the other deals that have been done during the trade period,” Carmody said.

Crows CEO Andrew Fagan today moved to mollify disgruntled supporters, penning an email update to members saying: “It is an emotive time and I understand the frustration and disappointment swirling around among some sections of our supporter base.”

“Like many of you, we are also disappointed and would have loved to see Bryce Gibbs or another elite onballer join our club to strengthen what is already a talented midfield,” Fagan wrote.

“Rest assured we have a list management team that … quite rightly makes decisions minus the emotion.

“Why did we refuse to meet Carlton’s demand for two first round draft picks? Put simply, it would have been irresponsible list management.”

He denied the club “ran out of time to pursue other options, or worse yet neglected to even consider different scenarios”.

“That kind of commentary is totally incorrect… the guys did a huge amount of homework and debated a number of possibilities.

“You must remember this is not a case of picking a player, paying them a large amount of money and having them arrive on your doorstep. Firstly, you need to find a player that suits your needs and environment. They must then be available and willing to move to South Australia. Individuals who fit the criteria were few and far between this year.”

-with AAP

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