The Roar
The Roar


Future picks may be off the menu for some AFL clubs

Gary Ablett back at the Cats. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
4th October, 2017
1556 Reads

When the AFL introduced future draft-pick trading, there was a provision that prevented clubs selling the future for the now. Now in the third year of the four-year cycle since the system started, which clubs are potentially in the weeds?

Starting with the clubs who have used their required two draft picks in the first round, we have Greater Western Sydney (seven first rounders), Gold Coast (six), Carlton (five), Brisbane (four), Adelaide, Essendon, Sydney (three), Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide (two).

Of that list, the only team on the radar would be Hawthorn, with their two first-round selections coming in 2015; meaning that they drop off the 2016-2019 grouping with currently no pick in the first round in 2017 (traded to St Kilda last year).

In the one pick in the 2015-16 drafts, we have Fremantle, West Coast, Western Bulldogs (2016) and Richmond, St Kilda (2015). Likely not a concern to any of those clubs, with both Saints and Richmond holding two first-round picks in this year’s draft, however they will need to use one each if they wish to trade a future first rounder in 2018.

West Coast and Fremantle, having used their first-round pick in 2016, won’t have that restriction until the 2019 season.

In summary, the clubs that need to use one first-round pick either this season or next season are Fremantle, Richmond, St Kilda, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs.

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The first of the two clubs in the gun to use two first-round picks are Collingwood, the holders of pick six this year. Unless they trade it up or down the order while staying inside the first round, they won’t be releasing it. They will also need to keep or acquire a first-round pick for next season to meet the AFL’s requirements, which will limit their ability to trade.

Maybe there is currency in trading pick six for Richmond’s pick 15 and 17? I haven’t studied the draft pools of the 2017 and prospective 2018 pools, but options are always on the table.


Alternatively, if the Pies trade out their first-round pick, they close options in the 2018 trade period. Quite simply, they can’t offer up the future 2019 trade period, and would also hurt that period by not being able to offer the 2020 future pick.

Geelong is the other club and, based on their current draft and trade strategy, will likely fall foul of the AFL’s restrictions. They currently hold zero picks in first round, with no picks in 2015 or 2016 drafts either from the first round.

If they are looking to trade in Gary Ablett (who won’t be near the first round now) and Jake Stringer (who may be closer to a late first-rounder), the Cats could find themselves without future trading.

In a worse space than Collingwood – with no first picks in 2015, 2016, 2017 – the Cats will need to either find a first-round pick this year or get an extra one next year and not trade it.

Worse case, they lose the ability to trade future draft picks in 2018 and 2019.

Collingwood will find a way out of the weeds, but Geelong might still play the short game and try to win the 2018 premiership and worry about it later.

The other clubs probably won’t give the futures issue another thought, but it might be a problem again once the 2015 picks fall off for Hawthorn. They would sit on zero in 2016 and 2017, so would require two from the 2018-19 drafts.