Melbourne have approached this off-season similar to the Oakland Athletics baseball team did in 2002. Draft experience based on premiership success and career stats. For those of you un-aware of what I am talking about, I am talking about the movie Moneyball based on a true story.
Oakland drafted older experienced players who were seen as capable of delivering success. While there are some comparisons that cant be likened, such as the batting, pitching and fielding averages, in principle it is a similar story.
One of the youngest and least successful sides in the AFL, Melbourne have looked to draft in players with experience and maturity, something that Melbourne have lacked since the Daniher era.
Oakland made the decisive decision of moving on experienced players who were chasing greater success through free agency and trades, a similar story to Melbourne moving on Cameron Bruce a few years back to Hawthorn and now Brent Moloney to Brisbane.
Melbourne have acquired Shannon Byrnes and Chris Dawes, with a chance Farren Ray could join them; not to mention whoever else they target in the remaining week and a half.
The active approach by Melbourne in the past two years is a welcome relief to the club who has previously focused on a ‘youth policy’ in the draft, ignoring the trade period unless gaining draft picks.
Byrnes and Dawes bring to Melbourne premiership success and the understanding of what it takes to win a premiership and create a winning culture. This is something Melbourne have lacked for years.
In what could be one of the best father/son steals since Gary Ablett Jr, the pick up of Jack Viney at a bargain pick 26 is a massive win. They have also secured the services of Jesse Hogan in the mini-draft, so it seems Melbourne have at least tried to make an impact this trade period.
If Melbourne can be as successful as Oakland were in securing big names in their early years, they might be able to pull out a premiership (something the A’s couldn’t quite do), and Mark Neeld could be coming to a theatre near you.
Find Jackson Baker on Twitter: @JacksonBaker9