opinion

Ryan Daniels: West Coast Eagles must make power play for Port Adelaide forward Mitch Georgiades to come home

Ryan DanielsThe West Australian
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Todd Marshall, Charlie Dixon and Mitch Georgiades fly for a mark.
Camera IconTodd Marshall, Charlie Dixon and Mitch Georgiades fly for a mark. Credit: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos

I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve never seen a Star Wars film.

I know the main players and I know it happened in a galaxy far far away.

I even know a bunch of the plot lines. Darth Vader has a couple of kids — that’s Luke and Leia — Darth joins the dark side, and then there’s Han Solo, played by Indiana Jones. There’s a small handful of Jedis who use the “Force” to do cool stuff and stop bad guys.

It’s such a monstrous pop culture machine, I’ve absorbed quite a bit without watching a single frame.

With some things, you need to pay much closer attention to know what’s going on.

Like AFL recruiting.

These list managers need to be across every single aspect. If it were Star Wars, they’d be attending conventions dressed as C-3PO and writing fan fiction.

They need to know who is out of contract, when, how much they’re on, how much they want, are they gettable. They also need to work well in advance.

They’re basically football fortune tellers, human magic eight balls. Take Luke Jackson for instance.

Anyone with one eye and a working television can see Luke Jackson is a star of the future.

Port Adelaide forward Mitch Georgiades is one player West Coast could look to recruit.
Camera IconPort Adelaide forward Mitch Georgiades is one player West Coast could look to recruit. Credit: Mark Brake/via AFL Photos

The Eagles and Dockers are drooling over him, as they should be.

But this desire didn’t develop overnight. To create the ability to have a chance at a guy like Jackson, the process starts a long time ago.

A player agent once told me the blueprint for most trades happen a year in advance. No formal commitments, nothing concrete, but plans. Things are put on radars and conversations get more intense from month to month.

Jackson is a freak, as if a unicorn and a giraffe had a baby and that baby was raised by a kangaroo. The only thing soaring higher than he does is his trade stock.

And Jackson might leave Melbourne. Every day he hasn’t committed to the Dees, it becomes more likely he’ll be wearing different colours next season. Probably purple.

If you line up the quotes regarding Adam Cerra last season, the situation reads similar.

A Subiaco product, Georgiades is out of contract at the end of next season. Port Adelaide dropped him to the SANFL in May to make way for Charlie Dixon. That stuff matters.

This is Peter Bell in July last year: “What we see is a really invested player in our program. I’m really positive that Adam will continue with us, but we want to respect his space to be able to make that decision.”

And this is Simon Goodwin on Thursday: “There’s no rush to get this answer out of Luke. He needs time to make his decision and we’ll give him the time he needs.

“We’re really hopeful, based on Luke’s attitude towards his footy club and his team, that he’ll want to be a part of the Melbourne footy club for a long time to come.”

It’s not word for word, but the message is the same. It’s club speak for “we know there’s a good chance this guy is leaving, but we really hope he doesn’t”.

Either way, the Dockers have set themselves up for a genuine chance here.

I believe the Eagles are all but out of the Jackson race.

Luke Jackson would cost the Eagles a lot in money and draft picks.
Camera IconLuke Jackson would cost the Eagles a lot in money and draft picks. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images via AFL Photos

So, what’s next on their magic eight ball radar?

It should be Port Adelaide’s Mitch Georgiades.

You’ve probably heard of him, maybe not.

Georgiades could be anything. He’s got the spring of a well-built gazelle, the hands of a Swedish masseuse and the power of a five-year-old Clydesdale. A pairing with Oscar Allen the next ten years would give the Eagles an elite one-two bunch, replacing the Kennedy-Darling era.

He’s 20 years old with 40 games under his belt. He kicked 32 goals in 21 games last season as a teenager.

A Subiaco product, Georgiades is out of contract at the end of next season. Port Adelaide dropped him to the SANFL in May to make way for Charlie Dixon. That stuff matters.

I’m told conversations on a possible contract extension haven’t started. I’m sure Port would love to lock their young stud up. Nothing super-dramatic there, players hold off negotiations all the time for all kinds of reasons, but what that status does say is that the window is ajar. The Eagles need to bust it wide open, as the Dockers should, if they miss on Jackson.

I’m told both WA clubs have had constant interest in Georgiades for years. Watching, waiting, hoping he might decide he wants to come home. It would take a good offer, somewhere in the vicinity of $700,000 plus per season. I believe he’s worth it. To steal a guy, you need to slightly overpay. If you can orchestrate something now, if Georgiades were to request a move, signal his intentions a year in advance, a trade could be done.

For the Eagles, anything outside of their 1st round draft pick should be on the table.

There’s a world where Georgiades is just as valuable as Jackson in three years — and you’re suddenly underpaying.

The true skill of building an elite AFL list is the value of the unknown ceiling — projecting greatness — what this guy could be, not what he is.

Jackson will cost but in Georgiades you’re getting in before the market reacts to his inevitable rise.

If the West Coast empire is to strike back, they need an aggressive, confident approach. Adding a high-end talent like Georgiades would be a bloody good start.

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