AFL could open a trade window from January

The AFL mid-season trading period could be a misnomer with the league open to a player transfer period being open from January until a cut-off point around June.

AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking said he was confident that more trading options would be available next season and the detail of a mid-season trading period would be worked through before the end of the year

He said the AFL was open to the idea of clubs being able to trade players for a longer period.

“It could do be, as an example, from January right through [until June] … it could be four days,” Hocking said.

“[It’s] not a case of making one decision in isolation.”

Under the current system, clubs can recruit players through trades, free agency and the drafts with lists finalised at the conclusion of the rookie draft in November.

Clubs lost players for this season after that deadline with Sydney’s Kurt Tippett, Richmond’s Ben Griffiths and Hawthorn’s Ty Vickery retiring without the club having the option of replacing them.

The prospect of a mid-season draft has received a lukewarm reception from clubs concerned about the effect of players joining clubs mid-season with culture, intellectual property and the art of list management all potentially threatened.

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott said a mid-season draft might lead to bigger margins between teams after the draft, particularly if clubs trade experienced talent for high draft picks to be used the next season.

Clubs from outside Victoria have been concerned that players will be more willing to switch between clubs within their state than interstate mid-season while state leagues are also concerned about the impact on their competitions of losing players.

Hocking acknowledged that all those issues would be part of the dicussion with the AFL’s new competition committee that is scheduled to meet on May 10.

“That is all stuff we will work through with the stakeholders,” Hocking said.

He also responded to concerns from list managers that they did not have a seat on the competition committee, saying a player movement committee would still meet to discuss issues relating to list management and their views would be fed into the competition committee.

The AFL has sent three officials – Josh Vanderloo, Ken Wood and Simon Murphy – overseas to examine the NFL draft later this week.

They are gleaning ideas for a proposed two-day national draft in November which would include live trading of draft picks and increased strategising by list managers and clubs during the period.

Players are understood to be open to the ideas although the AFLPA is yet to determine their policy on several aspects of player movement.

Hocking said the AFL was adopting a growth mindset in relation to such issues.

“We’ve got to get away from (the mindset that) a decision is made and it’s done. The game changes and so it’s a work in progress and it’s something you continue to re-evaluate, consider and develop,” Hocking said.

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