Carlton recruit Blake Acres has been dubbed “the steal of the trade period” after he was traded from Fremantle to the Blues for a future third-round selection.
Acres is one of a number of Fremantle players who were offered below-par contracts to stay at the club, with the Blues pouncing on the chance to secure the 26-year-old on a three-year deal at around $350,000 per season.
Speaking on Fox Footy’s Trading Day, Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph was bullish on the impact Acres could have at Carlton.
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“It’s a massive upgrade on Jack Newnes, who was a really loyal player. He had a massive year, Blake Acres, as the prototypical Ed Langdon wingman,” Ralph said.
“You consider his final against Collingwood at the MCG. He tweaks his medial, 87 minutes of game time, he has 27 possessions, 580 metres gained, kicks at 94 per cent efficiency, seven intercept possessions.
“He’s an elite wingman and they get him at well below the average wage. I think it’s a massive steal.”
Acres’ career-best season has him primed to continue on with his good form in 2023.
Now 120 games into his AFL career, Acres’ best football is still to come, according to Hawthorn campion Dermott Brereton.
“This boy is probably in the sweet spot of his career now. Having seen him up close, I thought the penny took a while to drop. He’s about to enter into the best part of his career,” he said.
“If you’re building a list at a club, you basically want three wingers who are good to go at any stage.
“The only thing I’m thinking about – and this is more as a player – for the first time in his career the penny has dropped on how to play this game and he’s now changing his environment.
“Money speaks, that’s the only thing it can be because his environment has him playing the best football of his career and now he’s changing it.”
As Ralph added, “money screams” in the case of Acres, given the sheer size of the gap in salary commitment.
“He was offered $180,000, that was the offer he was given (by Fremantle). He’s been offered $350,000 over the next three years (by Carlton),” he said.
“I think he’s the steal of the trade period, I think he’s going to be magnificent. He’s not a megastar, he’s not McKay or Curnow but he’s exactly what they need.”
Carlton holds pick No.10, 28, 62, 64 and 82 in the upcoming draft.