The 21-year-old caught the Giants by surprise by asking for a trade after publicly committing to the club a month ago, and was left stranded as GWS refused to budge on a deal, citing a lack of depth in Hill’s position.
The heartbroken youngster had reportedly shed tears on the phone to Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro to get a deal done, prompting the Bombers to improve the trade bid hours before the 7:30 pm trade deadline today, but the Giants did not blink.
After his client was denied a move, Corporate Sports Australia’s Head of Player Representation, Colin Young, expressed his disappointment.
“It’s very deflating, it’s very upsetting,” he told Fox Footy.
“I think logically [the Essendon request] is legitimate because it wasn’t a contract of five years and $1 million or five years by $800,000. It was a contract which was similar to what he’s on right now.
“I know there’s speculation about the agents going to their trade book to get things done [but] it was a legitimate trade for compassionate reasons. Bobby’s cousin plays at Essendon and Bobby rang Essendon himself to try and get a trade done before we even got a chance to get on the phone.
“We flew Bobby’s father down today to be by his side. It was a legitimate reason and the right things were there. I thought it could get done. I just thought there were all the right key elements to get this deal done.
“Obviously Bobby’s pretty deflated now and he’s going to have a drive to be with the family tonight. We’ll give it three-to-four days and give it time and then catch up and see where it sits. Obviously he’s pretty upset because he did a lot of the work himself talking to relatives in the Indigenous community in Melbourne.”
Hill’s primary reason for wanting to join Essendon was centred around a desire to be closer to his two cousins, Essendon VFLW player Courtney Ugle and St Kilda’s Bradley Hill, as his partner prepares to give birth to the couple’s child.
Young revealed that the Saints star had also believed that a move to Melbourne was best for his younger cousin’s wellbeing.
Despite GWS Giants football boss Jason McCartney insisting that the main reason the trade didn’t get done was the fact that Hill caught the club by surprise, Young painted a different story.
“There’s been discussions over a long period about Bobby and where he was with his partner with Jason over the year,” he said.
“Essendon got the future second so it wasn’t outrageous and we never got told by GWS whether they wanted a future second and a future third or whatever, so obviously they were strong on keeping him.”
Despite the trade move falling over, the Giants are adamant that Hill will be able to have a productive season in 2022 and have pledged to put the requisite support needed around he and his partner, Georgia.
McCartney told the Seven Network that GWS is set to appoint a new Indigenous liaison manager that will help support Hill and his family.
“We’ll chat to the family, we’ll put support around him,” McCartney said.
“That person will be able to provide Bobby with tremendous support. We’re confident it will be fine.
“He’s a great young man. He’s outstanding, he’s a bubbly personality and he’s got genuine talent that’s going to help us win games of footy.”
Despite a war of words between McCartney and Essendon over a tense trade deal for youngster Jye Caldwell during last year’s trade period, both sides denied that lingering bad blood was the reason a deal didn’t get done.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be tonight, but he’s a contracted player so you’ve got to be pragmatic in these situations,” Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro told 3AW’s Sportsday.
“We fully respect the decision that Jason and GWS made.”
Dodoro said he had caught wind of Hill’s desire to move to Melbourne a week earlier than it became public, before being contacted by Young over the club’s interest.
“We actually didn’t get a chance to present and he said he wanted to come to the Bombers, which was extremely flattering,” he said.
“But at no stage did Jason or the GWS Giants say they wanted to trade him, so in many ways it was a futile exercise.