Still missed the right now part? Let me put it to you this way - you are a club looking for a young key defender RIGHT NOW, give me a list of the young players who you think have bigger upside than Francis but will possibly not cost a heap in trade because they haven’t yet established themselves. I don’t know every clubs list as well as ours obviously but I can’t think of a better prospect in that category. Francis is to young key defenders what Schache is to young key forwards. Both were highly rated pre-draft, both have only had 2 years. We know talls take longer, Hooker for example was on many people’s trade list early in his career so for mine its the worst time to trade Francis unless of course there are factor we have not been made aware of. If there are attitude problems, underlying medical concerns or he is genuinely homesick then of course than changes things but based purely on whats public it would be a failure right now to trade out Francis for anything but a 1st round pick.
Its probably important to remember as well that unlike many clubs who have bottomed out the year before we didn’t use 2017 as a re-building year. Normally high draft picks would be gifted opportunities & more time to get continuity but this year we had a very stable side with few injuries, more experienced depth than normal & so very few games were given to young players unless they were standouts like McGrath. Now if we assume the plan is to keep Hooker forward who do we have that can cover for Hurley if he gets injured? Hartley was exposed most of the year, Ambrose is a good honest trier but missed a lot of footy this year & is hardly class so again what plans to we have for strengthening our key defender stocks. Hurley is 27, if we get rid of Francis then we have only Ridley, with less exposed form than Francis as our only option. Beyond that, if we assume we get at least some of the trades done we have very little opportunity to find a replacement in 2017 draft so we are back to going into 2018’s draft with 2-3 years tops to find another key back & still needing to bolster the midfield. Its poor planning.