Future picks may be off the menu for some AFL clubs

Wayne Roar Guru

By Wayne, Wayne is a Roar Guru


21 Have your say

    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.

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • October 5th 2017 @ 8:17am
      Bretto said | October 5th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      A bit more background and explanation would be good. Sounds like a 3 stooges sketch.

      • Roar Guru

        October 5th 2017 @ 8:34am
        Wayne said | October 5th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        Sure. The AFL when they brought in future draft pick trading mandated that in a four year cycle. From the AFL site (http://www.afl.com.au/news/2016-08-12/the-futurepick-puzzle)
        “AFL.com.au confirmed with the AFL that as long as a club has two first-round picks in a four-year period, they comply with the rules surrounding future first-round draft picks that were introduced ahead of last year’s trading period.”

        So the original four year cycle would be 2015/16/17/18 when this was first introduced; and 2016/17/18/19 would be the next four year cycle etc.

        Six clubs didn’t use a first round pick in 2015, six clubs in 2016 didn’t (of which Geelong/Collingwood have used 0) so for the 2015-18 cycle they are required to use TWO or not trade in future picks.

        • October 5th 2017 @ 12:52pm
          Bretto said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report


        • Roar Guru

          October 5th 2017 @ 1:28pm
          Cat said | October 5th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          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

          All clubs are free to trade future first round picks this year.

          … 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.
          Even then, clubs can apply to the AFL for an exemption.
          Exemptions will be determined based on the age of players brought in through trades and what draft picks the club has used.

    • October 5th 2017 @ 10:27am
      Brian said | October 5th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

      What though occurs if a club does not comply.

      Lets take Geelong and assume they trade their round 1 2018 pick for Ablett. They then enter the 2018 trade period with no high picks and needing to secure two frist round picks. Seems to me other clubs will then hold them to some high ransom or can they turn around and cop the AFL punishment?

      • Roar Guru

        October 5th 2017 @ 11:03am
        Cat said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        Considering the AFL have to sign off on any deal before hand, surely they wouldn’t allow a club to do something that will ensure they break a rule down the track. AFAIK the only ‘punishment’ is not being allowed to trade future picks for a couple years.
        But as MattyB pointed out below these rules don’t seem to go into effect until 2019 so who really knows what can and can’t be done. Seems the AFL has left enough grey area to fill the MCG.

        • October 5th 2017 @ 12:10pm
          Brian said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          trpical so in other words punishment depends on the AFL agenda.

          • October 5th 2017 @ 12:16pm
            Mattyb said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            Brian,there won’t be a need for punishment. The league will just not approve a deal meaning the deal won’t be done.

            • October 5th 2017 @ 5:58pm
              Brian said | October 5th 2017 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

              not sure what you mean. If Geelong enter the 2019 needing to take 2 first round picks and have none its not a matter of a deal not being done its a matter of Geelong needing a deal to get the draft picks

              • October 5th 2017 @ 6:13pm
                Mattyb said | October 5th 2017 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

                In 2019 what will happen is a new cycle begins which means the old cycle no longer matters.
                My guess is last year there was some confusion so the AFL has said they will tighten,or more so begin the rules at the next cycle,2019. In the next cycle you won’t be able to enter the final year with less than one first round pick because the AFL wouldn’t have approved the previous trade that left you in deficit.
                Funnily enough it’s made it more confusing to fans but not really.

                The author really needs to step up here and explain his article better. Personally I think his article has major flaws or is completely wrong.

                If I’m still not making sense let me know which parts and I’ll try and clarify further.

    • October 5th 2017 @ 10:54am
      Mattyb said | October 5th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

      The AFL clarified last season that these rules don’t begin until 2019. Also,clubs will still not have to use the picks as they can go to the AFL for an exemption. For example if clubs use a first round future pick for a 23 year old,the AFL will look at this differently to bringing in 30 year olds.
      The rule is very confusing with even Geelong admitting last year they were unsure if they could trade this years first round which the AFL said they could.
      This is the best link I could find as I couldn’t be bothered looking any harder.


      • Roar Guru

        October 5th 2017 @ 11:03am
        Cat said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        paywalled article.

        • October 5th 2017 @ 11:20am
          Mattyb said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          Cheers Gene,thought that could happen.
          Try going to the offline option on your device and type in the headline,this tends to work. You might be able to just type in the headline and pick the article up if another website ran it.
          As we have both said,it seems like even after 2019 there will still be plenty of grey area which I hope I explained by mentioning how players ages will play a role.
          The best way to explain it would be,it’s not that you can’t continue to use future picks,but when you reach the limit you will need the AFL to tick off and approve the deal.

          • Roar Guru

            October 5th 2017 @ 11:30am
            Cat said | October 5th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

            The AFL needs to tick off every single trade anyway so not sure what this rule change actual does. I guess it just gives the AFL the ability to stop a club from being too dumb. I won’t be a bit surprised if by 2019 the AFL changes the rule again, going to be a fluid thing until they see how it all plays out.

            • October 5th 2017 @ 12:09pm
              Mattyb said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

              I understand the AFL have to tick off all trades but your guess is how I read it,they won’t tick off deals where clubs have already given away all their first round picks if they think continueing to do so might cause long term trouble. A traditional trade they just tick off if all is above board.
              It’s all pretty complicated and I hope I’ve explained it the best I can.

        • October 5th 2017 @ 7:28pm
          GJ said | October 5th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

          Another way around the paywall is to copy the link into a google search box. and search The articles links come up, open the link you’re looking for and off you go

          • October 5th 2017 @ 8:23pm
            Mattyb said | October 5th 2017 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

            Thanks for sharing that GJ. It looks like the author has totally abandoned his article so hopefully people will do some research into what is actually going on.

    • October 5th 2017 @ 12:28pm
      Johnno said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

      Can you explain more on Fremantle and where they used their first round pick….the only trade I can think of was McCarthy, but they traded down but stayed in the first round? Isn’t this the same as what you say Collingwood can do?

      • October 5th 2017 @ 12:40pm
        Mattyb said | October 5th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        Johnno,my belief is your correct. The ruling that begins in 2019 is that you have to use first round picks as opposed to not trading them out.
        In your example,Fremantle have in fact used a first round pick,the one they traded down so all is good there.

        • October 5th 2017 @ 3:26pm
          Johnno said | October 5th 2017 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

          Thanks Mattyb

    • October 6th 2017 @ 1:05pm
      Paul said | October 6th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

      More rules on the run