The AFL might have inadvertently reopened the “tanking” debate with its draft compensation picks for clubs who lost players to Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney.
Five clubs have told the league they will use a total of seven compensation selections at this November’s national draft, which is tipped to be one of the strongest in history.
The Western Bulldogs and Melbourne have activated compensation picks that will come immediately after their round-one selection.
So if one of these clubs finish last, it would have the first two picks of the draft.
The league scrapped priority draft picks last month, replacing them with a system that will make it harder for teams who finish low on the ladder to gain extra selections.
AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson said at the time that the rule changes were partly aimed at eradicating any suspicion that clubs tanked late in seasons for extra draft picks.
If Melbourne or the Bulldogs are low on the ladder near the end of the season, there might be extra interest in how hard they appear to be trying.
Clubs received compensation picks for losing uncontracted players to the Suns and Giants in the past two years.
GWS also have an extra round-one selection, but that is because of a trade with Adelaide and it will come immediately after the Crows’ first-round pick.
In other words, it is out of the Giants’ hands where that compensation pick will fall in the first round.
The ‘Dogs will use a pick they received for losing Callan Ward to the Giants and Melbourne will activate a compensation selection that came to them because Tom Scully went to GWS.
Melbourne have also activated a mid-round one selection that they received for Scully’s move north.
That pick comes between the round-one selections of the eighth- and ninth-placed clubs.
Brisbane will use a pick at the end of round one that is compensation for Michael Rischitelli going to Gold Coast two years ago.
Richmond have activated a pick they received in a trade and this must be used immediately after Port Adelaide’s round-two selection.
The Bulldogs activated a round-three selection they received for losing Sam Reid to GWS.
Several clubs opted not to activate their compensation picks this year.