Free Agency - Working like intended or a complete Balls up

What is everyone’s thoughts on Free Agency system to date now we have had it for close to 6 years?
The AFL said the whole premise was to try and equalize clubs whereby players could move to the less exciting clubs for bigger pay packets and in my opinion this is a complete joke. Looking back at which clubs have benefitted the most from Free Agency by either recruiting players in their prime and premierships we have
E.Betts (much loved and AA)
D.Thomas - prior was a premiership player
M.Wright - Solid contributor and best 22
Goddard (in his prime)
D.Pearce (was good, not getting a look in now)
Gold Coast
Hawks 2 premierships
Simpkin + Frawley (premierships)
N.Dal Santo
Rockliff, Motlop
D.Roberton (best 22 player now. Was a DFA)
West Coast
X.Ellis - former premiership player for
J.Hamling (Premiership)
M.Suckling (Premiership)

The biggest benefactory is arguably Hawks getting some player to boost their premierships. Bulldogs got 2 players to contribute to their premierships.
Sydney yet to make any premierships with Buddy’s big monster.

Gold Coast have had some in the likes of Barlow and Grant, but they havent paid off and Barlow is not best 22 in their eyes. Richmond went hard early with Chaplin and Knights but they capitulated.


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Players should be able to play where they want.


When you set it out like that it doesn’t seem that big a deal.
I thought it was players mostly going to a few clubs, but it’s more like there are only a couple of clubs not benefiting from/utilising it.

The big effect of FA isn’t really captured here, it’s the lowering of trade values and the devaluation of contracts. Clubs know that if an eligible or soon-to-be-eligible player wants out (regardless of contract status) then you pretty much have to trade him to wherever he wants to go or else you’ll lose him for peanuts once FA comes around. Clubs are in no position to demand a bidding war for their want-out players any more, and destination clubs know that the clubs they’re poaching from have no bargaining power. Players and destination clubs have all the power, weaker clubs who start haemorrhaging players are not going to get value for what they lose, and are going to find the process very hard to stop.


Agree on this. I’ve been a big believer that players either need to nominate three clubs, then the current club should be able to trade the player to whoever will offer best value in return.

E.g Carlisle with St Kilda

IF he was a RFA and we were told we only got a 2nd round pick. We could say nope. We want a pick directly after our 1st or St Kilda’s first rounder in a trade.

Saints say No. Hawks in the wing. They offer 2 1st rounders. In this case we say we tried. Saints refused. AFL made a joke of it. We trade him to Hawks and he stays in Victoria.

There should be no homesickness reason as there are 2 clubs in each state. The only reason it could be problematic is if both clubs don’t rate the player and only offer a pittance.

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The design has always been nonsensical.

The acquiring club should have to sacrifice draft points that are the equivalent of the draft points received by the selling club.


The purpose of FA has always been to make it easy for players to get to the teams they want, regardless of whether those teams have the trade/draft currency to pay for them. That’s because everyone in the footy industry knows that the draft/salary cap/afl standard contract system is not legal, and if even one disgruntled player sues for free movement then he’ll win and the entire house of cards will collapse. FA was a bone the AFL tossed the AFLPA to prevent that from happening - the players don’t really want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs either, after all, it’d be a big risk for any of them to blow up the system, so they settled for the compromise. If clubs start being asked to give up draft position for ‘free’ agents, then it’ll get real hard to switch clubs all over again, and the deal between the AFLPA and the AFL gets broken, and suddenly court cases become a possibility again. That is never going to happen.

The AFL sold it as an equalisation measure, but it never was one.



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Why can’t the AFL make free agency more like academy and father son picks, but with a twist which requires the pick/s they use to go to the side who is giving up the free agent.

Father/son and academy almost always go to their preferred side if they are quality.

Players could nominate their preferred sides and sides who they nominated would have to match the round of the pick either with a current or future pick and add a next round pick or swap picks to make up the points. This would be important because you wouldn’t want top of the ladder teams getting players cheaper than lower teams.

Why should the receiving team get them for nothing and the rest of the teams pay the price with their picks being demoted?



You could even give lower teams a points discount compared to the teams higher up the ladder.

This might work better as an equalisation measure than the current system.

FA is the AFLPA’s thing, AFL has to go along with it or have their draft trading system destroyed in court for restraint of trade.

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Testicles skywards.
Yankee bull$hit.

I am coming around to the notion that FA compensation should be scrapped.

You say that now. You won’t when it’s our players heading out door.

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Yeah that’s why I’ve always supported it in the past. However it’s just a false economy currently, the whole fact that clubs are told what compensation they’ll get before they decide to match the RFA contract or not seems more and more ridiculous as time goes on. But that’s just for the high profile Lynch types, how about Collingwood getting a 3rd round selection for someone they were probably going to delist anyway in Fasolo?

They whole compensation pick thing just gets more farcical as time goes on, there seems little rhyme or reason to the compensation “formula”. Scrap the picks they cause more harm than good.

Yep, I think its time to remove compo. There was one fatal flaw in not having compo but that has been removed by the ability to bank salary cap.

Previously the argument for not having compo was that you had the opportunity to attract other players with your now free cap. However there simply wasn’t enough time. If a high profile player only informs you in October he is leaving you only have weeks to work on a replacement. We know that most recruits are targeted a good 12 months in advance.

Now if a free agent leaves, you can simply bank that salary cap(if you aren’t already front loading contracts). Then give yourself 12 months to find the right talent.

They should drop the compensation, no need, then watch the players get longer deals with bird rights clauses in the contracts and they will all be moved under contract. It would create more security for players and allow easier movement.

Plus also Hawks have received compensation for letting a few spuds go - Ellis, Suckling,
And you forgot Vickery :slight_smile: