The reduction in the cost of players moving, partly due to FA, is a huge blow to equalisation. Its allowed Hawthorn and Geelong to stay near the top for years longer than was the historical norm, and will quite possibly continue to be the way it happens. Fundamentally, if players want to go elsewhere for success, then only proven successful clubs have a shot at getting them. It has nothing to do with midfields, it has to do with the success of the club.
The saga cost us doubly, as we were probably primed to spend a few years in finals. Which would have avoided the lost players and maybe brought in some.
That said, EFC has to improve in identifying under-valued youngsters. Hopefully Stewart and Green are a move in the right direction, but more could be done here.