The events of this week’s trade dealings are bound to see fans of the Western Bulldogs shaking their heads in confusion.

On one hand, the Bulldogs are seemingly building for the future by allowing Brian Lake to cross over to Hawthorn, but in doing so, they have sacrificed one of their few remaining key position players for an inadequate amount in return.

Hawthorn’s acquisition of former All-Australian defender Brian Lake puts it in great shape as the Hawks look to avenge their loss in the 2012 Grand Final. Lake is an experienced defender that also has the ability to contribute up forward, and played 197 games for the Bulldogs over 11 seasons after debuting in 2002.

Despite the Bulldogs’ poor performances this season, Lake still managed 8 marks per game, bettering his career average of 6.4, and finished 10th in the Charles Sutton Medal for the Bulldogs’ best and fairest.

Winner of the Dogs’ best and fairest in 2007, and dual All-Australian in 2009 and 2010, Lake will thrive in a much stronger team at the Hawks, for he and fellow Hawk defender Josh Gibson are outstanding readers of the play, together able to create a system that will leave forwards incredulous as to how to kick a winning score.

For the Bulldogs to lose Lake, as well as pick 27, in return for two mid-range picks (21 and 41), is an act that seems to be selling their immediate future down the river, on the premise that they see a complete list rebuild as the only way to achieve long-term success.

A wiser move for the Bulldogs would have been to insist on a better deal from the Hawks for the services of Lake.

To effectively lose him for a net gain of one pick and a slightly better selection in the draft, as well as the likelihood that they will be still contributing to the payment of the remaining year on Lake’s contract, is hardly adequate compensation for loss of the 30-year-old Bulldog veteran.

It has been suggested by Lake’s manager, former VFL player Marty Pask, that Lake was likely to leave the club as an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2013 anyway. Even if this was the case, the compensation offered by the AFL under the free agency terms would still have amounted to the net gain of a pick that the Dogs have now received from the Hawks.

The Bulldogs would have also retained the services of Lake for one more season, without having to pay for a player that is longer at the club, as is now the case with his move to the Hawks.

The main difference is that Lake, by leaving now for Hawthorn, will have the opportunity to play at a club which is on the edge of premiership glory.

This arrangement is a great outcome for Brian Lake, providing he is committed to the Hawthorn Football Club and adapts to their culture, but not as good as a deal for the Bulldogs who lose a valuable senior player and only have received mild compensation.

The decision made this week is one that the Western Bulldogs may come to regret at the end of 2013, especially if Brian Lake returns to his very best form at Hawthorn and celebrates premiership success.

This contrast of fortunes is evident as the Bulldogs continue to struggle on the field in 2013 and beyond, as they are likely to sit wallowing at the foot of the AFL ladder in the foreseeable future.