Didn't paywall me, but whatever.
EVERY AFL club is free to trade its future first-round pick in this year’s exchange period.
The Herald Sun has clarified future-pick trading rules and the league has for the first time released its formal guideline document.
It had been widely believed that every club must use two first-round draft picks in every rolling four-year cycle.
But the rule addresses trading a future first-round selection only when a club has used fewer than two first-round picks in the past four drafts.
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Even then, clubs can apply to the AFL for an exemption.
And according to the October 2015 document, Determination for the trading of future draft selections, the first four-year block will not come into effect until the 2019 exchange period.
The delayed introduction of future trading rules was so as not to prejudice clubs’ existing long-term list strategies.
Exemptions will be determined based on the age of players brought in through trades and what draft picks the club has used.
The Cats traded two first-round draft picks for Patrick Dangerfield. Picture: Getty Images
The future-pick document also demands that club boards authorise the trading of a future first-round selection before the trade period.
Geelong does not have a first-round pick this year, after trading it last year for Carlton’s Zach Tuohy, and last used one in 2014, drafting Nakia Cockatoo at No.10.
But the Cats are allowed to go another two years without using one.
They would also have a strong case for further leeway, after recruiting Patrick Dangerfield and using an early second-round pick last year.
It was reported last October that the Cats had to acquire an additional first-round selection this year or next year to comply with AFL rules.
The Herald Sun this month made repeated attempts to confirm this with the AFL and, after discussions, believed that was the case.
But the Cats then contacted integrity officer Ken Wood, who confirmed the relaxed rules.
After requests from the Herald Sun last week, the AFL handed over the rules, which were signed off by legal counsel Andrew Dillon.
Geelong also traded a first-round pick for Zach Tuohy. Picture: AAP
The document has never previously been made public.
Under what had been the prevailing understanding, the Cats would have had to trade in an extra first-round pick this year or next, after they traded their 2017 first-round pick for Tuohy last year.
Cats list manager Stephen Wells admitted last October he did not believe Geelong could offload a third consecutive first-round pick to land Tuohy.
“I must admit there was a perception we couldn’t do it here myself,” he said.
“But we did check with the AFL.”
The rules reveal the league is not opposed to clubs trading a string of early selections, as long as they act responsibly.
Hawthorn’s golden era was built on shrewd deals.
From 2009 to 2014, the Hawks used just one first-round pick — taking Isaac Smith in 2010 — as they traded for proven players.
Clubs are always free to trade draft picks in the current year.