Free Agency - Working like intended or a complete Balls up

Until the GC stop haemorrhaging players and start attracting some worthwhile FAs of their own, I can’t see the FA compo picks going anywhere. They’re basically the only thing keeping GCs list within shouting distance of AFL quality right now.

Just get rid of contracts. Pointless.

It won’t be a problem come 2020.

In 2019 the AFLX will be “schoolyard picks”.

In 2020 the AFL will follow suit.

Tuesday nights will see the weekly televised selections of the first 10 players for each team. The selection of the last 12 is televised on Wednesday night. It will mean that Monday will be the only day of the week they don’t dominate the TV (the existing half-dozen talk shows on that day don’t count).

Note this has the side advantage of bringing AwFuL failures like the Gold Coast Suns to parity with other clubs.

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They’ll probably pick jarred brennan and nathan bock like the last time they had free hit at pretty much every player in the league.


I feel like you left somebody out.

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I don’t even know what AFLX is. Is it like the breakaway NFL league that was X something or other?

Conferences are surely coming.

Surely if one player tried to wreck equalisation the AFL would retaliate by revoking the club’s licence? I don’t imagine whichever club did it would have a lot of friends across the league.

It wouldn’t have to be a club at all. It could be, for instance, an 18yo draftee whose parents have deep pockets and who was picked up by an interstate club at pick 1 without getting a chance to stay in Melb with his sick mother. It could even be the AFLPA (or a rival, less AFL-friendly player union) if the leadership got sufficiently militant. Or whatever,

Clubs have no control over any legal actions brought by their players, for obvious reasons.

Oh, sure. I guess I was assuming the most likely scenario would be a club enticing or at the very least backing a player for a specific move. The AFLPA just shouting "leeroy jenkins!’ and launching a legal action would be something to see.

I don’t reckon Karmichael will go back there TBH.

(Obvious setup is obvious)

Do you really believe that?

Anyone can be controlled, with enough (metaphorical) horse heads.

If a player is bringing suit about the trade/draft system, it ain’t because they’re happy with the club they’re at.

Anyway, what’s the club going to do? Drop the player to the seconds? Well, he won’t have any trade value after that, will he? Tell him to ■■■■ off out of the club? Yeah, that knock on your door is the AFLPA, and by the way all the player’s mates on the playing list would like to talk to you about how they reckon you’re dicks and they want out too. On top of that, an employer penalising an employee for exercising their legal rights is the clearest case of attempting to pervert the course of justice you’ll ever see, and the club would find themselves in court very fast and would lose just as quickly.

All great. In theory. In a developed nation with a working justice system.

Caro will have about 8 months’ worth of lead stories of said player’s drug abuse, destabilising influence to the playing list, dodgy hamstrings, alleged history of alleged animal torture, and poor personal hygiene.

The AFL would send a copy of the 2013 Carlton v Richmond final to all clubs, along with a printed A2 copy of the ladder from that year, to get them to really think about just how interested they are in this broken, naughty, stinky, player.

Then they drag out any and all court cases until just after trade period, draft, and the last list lodgement. Then settle.

They’ll do anything and everything it takes. No matter how underhanded.
This we know.

I dont think free agency is needed.

if you have a player who wants to get traded because he is genuinely unhappy it seems like he gets there, especially guys out of contract.

heck we just traded in a contracted gun.

Wouldn’t suprise me if it gets used less and less as an option of last resort. Players will be traded before then.

I think Free Agency is fair enough. If you serve 7-8 years in the AFL system and you’re out of contract, I think you have a right to decide where you’d like to play. What I don’t like is players who’ve been in the system 2-3 years, coming off a rookie contract and deciding that they want to leave a club and nominate another club as their “preferred destination” and that they will only agree to a move to that one team. Players who are under contract, or players that are out of contract but don’t qualify for Free Agency (under 7 years in the AFL) should be able to be traded without their consent. The clubs need to get some power back, because the current player movement system is far too heavily weighted towards the players…


I’m sure all those tools (yes, Caro, you’re a tool…) would come out of the box if the fecal matter hit the rotary air impeller, but these aren’t cards the AFL actually wants to play, especially in a case like the salary cap/FA/trade/draft edifice where the law is extremely unambiguously and undebateably not on their side no matter how much twisting their lawyers do. And unlike the ASADA case, something like this would be very clearly in the jurisdiction of an Australian court from day one, and courts REALLY frown on these sorts of shenanigans. Any/all of this could look, again, to a judge like clear evidence of perverting the course of justice, and that means individuals at the AFL would be personally liable. And the player(/s) could ask for all sorts of injunctions to hold up list management deadlines until the case was complete.

Could the AFL still win? Maybe. But the odds would still be against them, it’s be gruesome and embarrassing and this isn’t a battle they actually want to fight, and if they lose the consequences for them would be catastrophic. Much easier for them to throw the AFLPA some bones when it comes to FA and keep the whole issue quiet (which, as a bonus, reduces the power of the clubs and encourages them to squabble among themselves rather than uniting against the AFL).

Not that the clubs particularly want the court challenge nuclear option to happen, either. Well, the Pies and Tigers probably do (cos they reckon they could poach all the good players), as would the Blues (because they think it’s still the 80s and good players would want to go there), but not sure about anyone else.

They don’t want to win the court case.
They’d far rather not be in a court case.
They just want to destroy anyone who steps out of line.

And if they can keep a player out of the game for a year or three - which doesn’t take much imagination given what the EFC boys went through - that’s a big, big chunk of a player’s career.
Time is on their side.

So you want to bind workers to their employers? Contracts are fair enough, but at the end of the term, why should a worker be restrained from moving to the employer of his choice. And don’t tell me about the training and development that the employer put into the worker. They got a return through better job performance.

An AFL footballer should be treated no different to any other worker. Talented people always get paid more.

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I’m all for abolishing the compensation for free agents but until the clubs get some power back in player movement, it’ll never happen as they’re currently held to ransom by the players. It’s worked exactly how the players wanted it to work IMO.

Hardwick is right, the power needs to shift back towards the clubs in order for it to be more equitable. Essentially every player in the AFL holds a no trade clause in their contract, meaning they have to agree to any trade they may be part of. If the clubs had the ability to trade a player they feel wants or may want out, to a club that offers the best deal instead of the club that player nominates, I think we will see a more equitable model.

For example use Ryder (I know he wasn’t FA, but wanted out nonetheless) I don’t think many here would disagree that we got bent over in that deal (picks 17 & 37 IIRC), when GWS were offering a top 5 (pick 4 from memory?) & 20’s pick, which deal would you think is more favourable to us? Given we took him at pick 7, put 9 years of development into him, under contract etc. it would’ve been much more beneficial for EFC to at least have the option but the current system meant we were over the barrel. You could argue the same this year for Cats & Tim Kelly who would’ve gone to Freo for pick 11, cats are then happy & Kelly gets to go back to WA. I know these examples aren’t free agents but it applies in giving the clubs back some power. It would then be on the clubs to successfully negotiate with players who they award a no trade clause with in contract negotiations. If Geelong for example were stupid enough to grant Kelly a NTC in his first contract, well, the deserve to be shafted but they will be shafted next year when he gets to west coast for peanuts despite signing a 5 year $3m plus deal.


There already is an implied no trade clause in every player’s contract. A contracted player can’t be traded without the agreement of the club. The power imbalance lies in the fact that the player can secure this ‘agreement’ of the club under duress. Trade me now or when my contract expires next year I’ll leave for bugger-all.