As speculation continues to grow around how Geelong will manage to secure a trade for Gary Ablett from the Gold Coast Suns, graphic designers at a number of media outlets are all breathing a sigh of relief that they don’t have to fiddle with images of Ablett – as there are plenty of photos of him in action for the Cats from the early days of his career. Trade period is traditionally the busiest time of the year for graphic designers in the sports media industry, as hungry content editors demand high quality jumper swaps for every single player that is rumoured to be heading to a new home.

If you’ve kept track of player movements over the last decade, you’ll know that the AFL trade period is flush with whispers about a multitude of players switching clubs. And each time one of these whispers reaches a news desk, graphic designers are forced to fire up their trusty old Photoshop to create a semi-believable image of the player in their possible new jumper.

According to one designer, who requested anonymity, “the whole Ablett story is a bloody relief mate. I’ve been changing outfits on footy players more often than my daughters change outfits on their Barbie dolls. It just gets worse every year, and there’s a whole sub-culture of footy fans that obsess over these jumper swaps and even critique them on social media. It’s an incredibly stressful time of year.”

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