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Crows finally land Gibbs - but he doesn't come cheap

Football

Bryce Gibbs is finally a Crow, more than a decade after Adelaide missed out on signing the former No.1 draft pick as a father-son selection and a year after the club failed to land the star midfielder in an aborted trade with Carlton.

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This time last year, Crows list manager Justin Reid dubbed the Blues’ asking price of two first round draft picks as too high a price to pay for the 28-year-old, saying it was “pretty unrealistic and pretty irresponsible list management if we were to entertain that”.

But a year on, that’s the price Adelaide paid, handing over its picks 10 and 16 from this year’s draft, along with its second-round pick from next year’s draft and this year’s pick 73. In return, the Crows get a ready-made midfield star to add silk and depth to an engine room that propelled the team to the minor premiership and a grand final this year, along with Carlton’s future second-round and third-round picks and this year’s pick 77.

The Crows will argue that this year’s draft is not considered to run particularly deep, and that retaining its two first-round picks in the stronger 2018 pool – its own and a future selection gained from losing rising star Jake Lever to Melbourne – is a win.

“This deal presents much better value compared to what was first discussed 12 months ago, with the return of future draft picks from Carlton, in what we consider a very strong draft, a key component for us,” Reid told the club’s website.

“To be able to bring in an A-grade midfielder and improve our position for next year’s draft is a great result for our club… Bryce is not only a quality player, but a quality person as well and he will have an immediate impact on our playing group both on and off the field.”

The deal again appeared a fraught proposition last night, when an expected trade failed to materialise as the clubs haggled over the finer details of the pick swaps.

But Blues general manager of List Management and Strategy, Stephen Silvagni, today declared the deal “in the best interests of the Carlton Football Club”.

“We now currently hold picks 3, 10 and 16, which was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up as a side continuing to build its depth,” he said.

Gibbs, who will turn 29 before the start of next season, had sought a go-home trade last year, to be closer to family after the birth of his son Charlie.

He has signed on for Adelaide on a four-year deal after 231 games with the Blues, after averaging 27 possessions and kicking 17 goals this season.

He has played 231 of a possible 248 matches since his 2007 debut; the Crows will be fervently hoping he maintains that durability well into his 30s.

It was a big day of trading for both SA clubs, with wantaway Crow Charlie Cameron flying the nest to Brisbane, with the Crows receiving the Lions’ pick 12 in return – a bounty that will offset the heavy price it paid this year for Gibbs.

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