The Melksham-Wingard Rookie Experience

I have read 2 or 3 articles and wikipedias on what an “AFL Rookie Listed Player” is and it still doesn’t quite make sense to me.

So the Hawks just delisted Wingard and Melbourne delisted Jake Maleksham… and said they’ll draft them as rookies in a few weeks… why?

Is it because they are medium-term injured and the Rookie players aren’t allowed to play senior football unless another player gets long-term injured?
Therefore just shelve them for a while ?

Or is it because they need more senior list spots free to draft players in the National draft?

Or because they want to pay them rookie pay ($80k or thereabouts)?

Why would Wingard or Melksham agree to play for such a low grade salary?

I remember when Eddie Betts got rookied at age 32 or something and I couldn’t understand it either.

Also confused that if there are restrictions on Rookies not being allowed to play senior football, why are so many of these rookie-listed players then playing senior footy?

Wasn’t Shaun McKernan on our Rookie List for like 4 or 5 years and played a heap of games?

This one.

They still get paid their outstanding current contracts and no restrictions on games they can play.

The rookie list needs a bit of an overhaul


Agree in my opinion it should one list with unlimited spots it would allow the worse preforming clubs more looks at talent to find them.
The part iam not sure about would be salary cap though iam of a the opinion there should be no minimum spend so we don’t get clubs paying mediocre players over there worth just to reach it


The Rookie list has gone from a fantastic idea to take risks on young players, and then be able to promote them to the senior list if they develop over time.
It’s now a complete rort for shifting players around to manipulate the draft and list and salaries.
Wingard and Melksham are examples of players injured who will unlikely play being kept by moving them from one list to another.
It is beyond me why we still have it, so either change the name to Supplement List or just increase list sizes and remove it all together.
Considering how many changes the AFL make each year it intrigues me why this continues to escape being fixed!


They should just not allow ex-senior players at a club to become rookie listed players at that same club imo. Simple fix.


AFL Shot themselves in the foot when they reduced list sizes and a number of clubs needed to do this to get the minimum national draft picks.

like the idea of increasing the maximum cap, so you can choose to add extra players and use salary cap that way.
ie say list spaces are capped at 44 as minimum, but then have a maximum of 50. so those with salary cap to spend can add a few more players as required.
Gold coast and North have been offered extra list spot concessions in the past , why not open it up to more clubs. Also would help keep older guys on lists potentially if have more spots available.


Yeah or create the inverse of the Rookie List - the Seniors List, where you can have 3 players who are Over 31yo who don’t count towards your regular list


Sounds like the old “veterans” list. Wasn’t it only 70% of their salary went to the cap? Dustin Fletcher was definitely on it.

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The afl created this by splitting the list and putting a cap on senior listed players.

Just make it one list


They hardly fit the definition of a rookie;



rook·​ie ˈru̇-kē

Synonyms of rookie



also : NOVICE


: a first-year participant in a major professional sport

Just make it one list.

You can still have a rookie draft with less guaranteed contracts or whatever, but just have a single list.

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Could also be as simple as a sliding scale where the later in the draft you’re taken the less the club must offer you (both monetary & contract length).


There should be a cap on how much a rookie can earn, e.g. $90k

Therefore that would stop them doing silly ■■■■ like putting Wingard on the Rookie List, because he would never agree to that salary (or at least I doubt it).

Just call it the “Supplementary list”

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Yeah i think he was on ot for like 15 years

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