A free agent signing that could win Essendon a flag

Josh Elliott Editor

By Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor

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    This time last year, I really liked the look of Essendon and it led me to predict – accurately, as it turned out – that the club would play finals in season 2017.

    That’s not super relevant to this article. I just like to mention it whenever I get a chance.

    The reasoning was simple – the Bombers had a great list. They boasted a strong contingent of young talent, combined with a number of mature, ready-to-win guns who could lead the team. It is a recipe for success.

    Some of that mature talent has moved on now, Jobe Watson being the biggest name, but the Dons also said goodbye to the likes of James Kelly, Brent Stanton and Heath Hocking at the end of last year, and cut players like Ben Howlett and Craig Bird.

    That might not seem like a whole lot just looking at the names, and fair enough, as only Watson and Kelly have ever been particularly well-known AFL players, but collectively it represents just under 1200 games of AFL experience out the door, and leaves Brendon Goddard and Mark Baguley as the only two players over 30 on Essendon’s list.

    The Dons did not stand idly by in trade period however and instead approached October in perhaps the most aggressive way they have as a club in decades.

    Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Adam Saad all bring attributes to the club that can help them improve in 2018 – primarily speed, and in the case of Stringer and Smith, the ability to hit the scoreboard. That will maximise the strengths of a list that already had some pace and one of the better forward lines in the league.

    However, an argument could fairly be made that the Bombers didn’t manage to bring in the type of player that they arguably need a most: a big, dominant inside midfielder who can be the bedrock of their centre-bounce team.

    They need an axle on which the wheel can turn.

    They need a lynchpin.

    They need Rory Sloane.

    Rory Sloane Adelaide Crows AFL Grand Final 2017 tall

    When rumour first went around in October last year that Sloane might be gettable for a Victorian club as a free agent at the end of 2018, I figured that despite their regular struggles to retain talented players, Adelaide probably shouldn’t worry too much.

    Sloane is currently 27 years old, but by Round 1 2019, when he would be playing his first game for his hypothetical new club, he will have turned 29 – a young 29, but 29, and perhaps only with a few very good years left in his career.

    That means any club looking to sign Sloane must surely be in win-now mode, and honestly, how many Victorian teams are there who fit the bill?

    You can cross off Collingwood, Carlton, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs – Sloane just doesn’t fit into the age profile that these clubs are trying to build.

    Richmond and Geelong would both love a Rory Sloane in the side, but it doesn’t seem likely. The Cats probably don’t have room from a salary cap point of view, and the Tigers only have eyes for Tom Lynch.

    Melbourne, perhaps, could be a realistic option, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Snatching Jake Lever last year was their list-completing play, they’ve got players in Sloane’s mould already, and will probably sit tight and not risk overloading their salary cap.

    That leaves Essendon. If Sloane wants to come home to Victoria, but wants to be at a team that can push for a flag before he finishes up, the Bombers make a lot of sense.

    John Worsfold

    I’m a big believer that you need to have at least one absolute A-grade midfielder to be a serious threat for the premiership, and probably the one criticism you could make of Essendon’s best 22 at present is that they lack one.

    It’s not impossible that a player to fill this gap could come from the Bombers’ list. Dyson Heppell has been close to that mark a few times, and players like Andy McGrath and Zach Merrett are serious young talents. Jayden Laverde and Kyle Langford are more unknown than I’d like them to be at this stage, and could reveal themselves as surprise packets.

    There has even been talk of Jake Stringer playing more of a midfield role than he did at the Bulldogs, with comparisons being made in his play style to Jobe Watson. However, this is pretty common pre-season talk, and not the kind of basket I’d want to put many eggs in.

    The Dons could play the patient game and wait for Merrett or McGrath to become this week-in-week-out-dominant-hybrid-ball-winner-slash-game-breaker. They could cross their fingers and hope that Heppell plays career-best footy over the next two or three years.

    Or, they could be proactive and go on the hunt.

    There are a few good midfielders on the 2018 free agency list. Andrew Gaff. Marc Murphy. Luke Dahlhaus. Maybe Tom Liberatore?

    But when you weigh up the players Essendon already has, and what they need the most, Sloane – who averaged six clearances, seven tackles and 13 contested possessions per game last year – makes sense. He can be vulnerable to a hard tag, but that’s really the only knock on him.

    It’s worth noting here also that Sloane already has a connection with John Worsfold as he played a big role in coaching Adelaide in the latter half of 2015, following the tragic death of Phil Walsh.

    Rory Sloane Adelaide Crows 2016 AFL

    The one potential stumbling block for the Bombers is the fact that, despite 2018 being his tenth season in the AFL, Sloane is set to become a restricted free agent when the list is formally announced in March.

    There is an obscure rule which essentially states that if a player is one of the higher earners at his club and has not previously been a restricted free agent, then they must be a restricted free agent at least once before being eligible for unrestricted free agency.

    Since Sloane last signed a contract in 2015, a year before he was eligible for free agency, he will likely be considered a restricted free agent only in 2018, therefore giving Adelaide the right to match any bid he is willing to accept.

    While no club in the history of free agency has formally matched a bid for a restricted free agent yet, the Crows have come the closest – they made it clear to Geelong in 2015 that they would match any bid for Patrick Dangerfield, and the two clubs simply went to the trade table rather than going through that formal process.

    If they felt it was the best move they could make, they’d do it again.

    If Essendon have to risk needing to pay a draft pick for Sloane, they should still be willing to – their list is almost overbalanced in terms of young talent and they could afford to take the hit, especially if they have a good year on the field and we’re only talking about something in the mid-to-late teens.

    But if you’re going to spend draft picks on a player, why not have a crack at someone with arguably just as much talent, but younger, and able to have a longer career at your club?

    More specifically, why not go for Ollie Wines?

    Ollie Wines Port Adelaide Power AFL 2017

    Wines isn’t a free agent and if Essendon can convince him to come to the club, they’d have to pay up big at the draft table. Possibly two years of first-round picks big, or a first and a second at the minimum.

    But for a player of his quality, only just now ready to come into his prime, and one that fits their specific needs so incredibly well, isn’t that worth it?

    If you want a contested ball beast, Ollie ‘Quadzilla’ Wines is Plato’s perfect form of the contested ball beast. To say he’s built like a brick shithouse is not superlative enough. Brick shithouses dream of being built like Ollie Wines.

    And we already know Essendon are keen. Wines was one of two players that Adrian Dodoro cheekily asked the Power about during the Paddy Ryder trade saga in 2014 (the other being Chad Wingard).

    Wines has been earmarked as a future Port Adelaide captain probably since his stellar debut in Round 1, when he had 24 disposals, six inside 50s and two goal-assists in a 79-point win over Melbourne that kicked off the Ken Hinkley era in style.

    However, being talented and Victorian but playing elsewhere, there has always been some talk about him returning to his home state.

    Last time he was out of contract, in 2016, he re-signed early. However, last week Wines described himself as being “not comfortable signing at the moment”, suggesting it may be a longer process this time around.

    Now, before you accuse me of this all being idle speculation, let may say: this absolutely, 100 per cent is all idle speculation.

    And if I had to come down on either side of the debate, as things currently lie I’d say both Sloane and Wines are more likely to stay with their current clubs than move.

    But Essendon are ready to be very, very good, and they know it. And while they brought in some serious talent over the offseason, they would still have enough salary cap room to go hard at filling that one big gap still left on their list.

    Rory Sloane and Ollie Wines both fit the bill. Watch this space.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.

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    The Crowd Says (46)

    • Roar Guru

      February 23rd 2018 @ 10:08am
      TomC said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      I grow more and more positive about the Bombers’ list with time, but all the same I think Josh gets a little ahead of himself here. I think they’re still managing too many ordinary players, and while I like Parish and McGrath very much – and McKenna could be something – that’s about it for the sub-22yo contingent.

      Nevertheless, Sloane would be an excellent fit for that Essendon midfield for all the reasons Josh says. The last two years show that you don’t need to be a dominant side to win a premiership, just a good one for whom everything goes right at the right time. The Bombers are more than capable of being that with the addition of one or two more complete midfielders.

      But I still have a romantic attachment to the idea of one-club players and I’d like to see Sloane play out his career and win at least one premiership at the Crows.

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2018 @ 10:30am
        JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        I’m curious to know why you drew the line at sub-22, Tom? If you went with sub-23 you’d add Merrett and Fantasia to the list, and sub-24 would get you Daniher, Stewart, Stringer, Saad and Gleeson too.

        Sub-22 is still pretty speculative territory, since most players in that category have only been in the system for a couple of years. People keep dismissing Langford but he only recently turned 21 and has played 31 games. In 6 appearances last year predominantly as a half-forward he averaged 14 touches, 4 marks, 3 tackles and 0.7 goals.

        There are also big wraps internally on Begley, Mutch, Draper and Ridley (all 19), even though only one of them has debuted to date.

        • Roar Guru

          February 23rd 2018 @ 10:51am
          TomC said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          I drew the line at sub22 specifically to exclude Merrett, Fantasia and Daniher, of course. It’s not my attempt to make a scientific breakdown of their list, but my indirect response to Josh’s contention that the Bombers have an overabundance of young talent. I don’t agree, largely because I think they’re a bit thin below a certain age.

          But like I said, I rate the Bombers pretty highly. Any problems I see are just relative to the many positives I see.

          There are big wraps internally on every player in the league under the age of 22.

          • Roar Guru

            February 23rd 2018 @ 12:07pm
            JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

            But that assumes anyone 22 or over doesn’t constitute ‘young talent’, which is an odd way to look at it. Excluding Merrett and co doesn’t make sense.

            Some wraps are actually justified, Tom, being backed up by what the relevant kids have done at reserves level and in the odd senior game. Kobe Mutch came second in Essendon’s VFL B&F in his first year at the club, despite only playing 14 games, while Josh Begley kicked 5 goals in 3 senior appearances as a medium forward.

            Even if you don’t rate them yet, you’ve still listed 3 players under 22 who are in the first choice team. That’s actually a reasonable number from effectively only two drafts (2018 picks were traded away for other relatively young players) in a side that played finals.

            • Roar Guru

              February 23rd 2018 @ 1:24pm
              TomC said | February 23rd 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

              You’re arguing against points I’m not making. I’m not at all saying that 22 is some sort of magic cut off. Just making an observation about Essendon’s list. I’m not suggesting their drafting has been bad; the AFL imposed penalties are the reality and this is the impact of those penalties.

              Being able to perform very well at a level below the AFL is more or less a prerequisite for being on an AFL list.

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 11:17am
          Aransan said | February 23rd 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

          Begley and Ridley will be very good players. Langford played largely in the VFL last season so that he could be educated in the midfielder role. I believe Essendon can cover the inside midfielder’s position with a mixture of players in any given game.

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2018 @ 11:26am
        AdelaideDocker said | February 23rd 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

        Couldn’t agree more on that last line, Tom. Hence why I was so ecstatic Fyfe resigned with the Dockers, and why my city almost burned down when Dangerfield moved.

        • Editor

          February 23rd 2018 @ 12:11pm
          Josh Elliott said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          If Adelaide burned down, would anyone notice?

      • Editor

        February 23rd 2018 @ 12:11pm
        Josh Elliott said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        On a purely romantic level I’d like to see Sloane stay at the Crows too. I definitely seem to be more enamored by the Bombers than most – part of it I suspect is because I’m thinking at least a few of the very young players mentioned by James still can make a big impact.

    • Roar Guru

      February 23rd 2018 @ 10:11am
      JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      You make good arguments, Josh, and I’d love Sloane at the Bombers. But when you say Essendon needs “a big, dominant inside midfielder who can be the bedrock of their centre-bounce team”, it doesn’t really make a case for Sloane being the number one target.

      Sloane is 183cm and 79kg. He is great in the contest and about as hard as they come, but the reason he struggles with a tag is that he is not actually very big by modern midfield standards.

      Contrast Sloane with Heppell – 189cm, 81kg. The difference between them in key stats is less than 2 contested possessions and tackles per game and just 0.2 clearances. When you factor in that Heppell hasn’t peaked yet, has generally played in a crappier side and has been through hell since his breakout 2014, there isn’t actually a lot between them (not that having two players of their ilk would be a bad thing).

      Wines, on the other hand, would be fit the bill perfectly…

      • Editor

        February 23rd 2018 @ 12:13pm
        Josh Elliott said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

        Fair point re Sloane and it is something I did consider – so probably not the best wording by me there. I have a feeling that the 79kg figure, like most weight figures for AFL players, is probably not totally accurate, but yes. Regardless of actual size, Sloane does play like a bigger guy – he probably doesn’t fit the words I used, but I think he does fit the type of player Essendon needs, at least as closely as you will get on the free agency market. I think stats aside there’s no argument that Sloane has a bigger influence on games than Heppell, based on last year at least, but that might change.

      • February 23rd 2018 @ 3:47pm
        tim said | February 23rd 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

        Don’t know if you remember Dangerfield’s figjam moment in the prelim. Despite what people say it was D who initiated the contact and D who came off second best.

        Before Sloane’s troubles with a heavy tag I would have picked him ahead of D because he influenced the outcome of games more than D did.

        Maybe not so much now.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 23rd 2018 @ 10:24am
      Lamby said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      The latest salary figures show that each team has 7 or 8 players on $500k+. I am not sure Essendon has the $1mil+ needed to get Rory to move. The 3 new blokes (Jake Stringer, Devon Smith and Adam Saad) all will be on the $500k+ (as you need to pay overs to get players to move). Daniher & Heppell are close to $1mil. Throw in Goddard, Hooker, Zaharakis, Hurley, Leuenberger and the Bombers won’t have much room. Then they will need to have some cash to throw at McKenna, McGrath, Fantasia (a good Norwood boy who surely wants to move home to his mates) & Tipungwuti.

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2018 @ 10:40am
        JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        Your general point about whether or not the Bombers have the cap space is a fair one, but I think you’re overestimating how much Saad and Smith are being paid. All three new recruits wanted to leave their clubs, so all Essendon had to do was make their offer look a bit more attractive than a few other potential suitors. I’d say Stringer is the only one being paid over half a mil per season.

        And Leuenberger, seriously? He’d hardly be eating up big $, plus he’s out of contract at the end of this year and might not even get a gig if Bellchambers has a decent 2018 and Draper keeps improving.

        BTW, keep your filthy mitts off Orrrrraaaaziooooo 😉

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 11:07am
          truetigerfan said | February 23rd 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          Goddard should be retired one way or another at the end of this season, too.

          • February 26th 2018 @ 6:58am
            Kane said | February 26th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

            He should have been retired at the end of last season. Very over rated player, he was at St Kilda too.

            • February 26th 2018 @ 10:35am
              Aransan said | February 26th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

              Previous winner of Essendon’s best and fairest, runner up in 2017? An important leader at Essendon during the supplements saga. I am sure St Kilda and Essendon supporters value Goddard but Collingwood supporters don’t like him. I expect another strong season but it is up to Essendon to find the best role for him.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 23rd 2018 @ 11:09am
          Lamby said | February 23rd 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

          BTW, keep your filthy mitts off Orrrrraaaaziooooo

          If Sloane is restricted free agent then the Bombers will need to do a deal. Danger cost the Cats a 1 round pick and a player. I presume Sloane will be the same – your first round draft pick and a player like Fantasia to get the deal done.

          • Roar Guru

            February 23rd 2018 @ 12:10pm
            JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

            They only need to do a deal if the Crows are willing and able to match any offer for Sloane, Lamby. And if it was going to take giving up a gun kid to get say, 3-4 years of Sloane, I doubt they would do it.

            They might do it for 8ish years of Wines, though.

            • Roar Guru

              February 23rd 2018 @ 1:30pm
              JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

              I should also add – the player traded by the Cats was Dean Gore. Not in the same league as Fantasia.

              • Roar Guru

                February 23rd 2018 @ 1:58pm
                Cat said | February 23rd 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

                And Dean Gore has since been delisted and re-signed with Geelong’s VFL side. The ‘steak knives’ returned despite being ‘going home’ in the trade.

          • Roar Guru

            February 23rd 2018 @ 12:56pm
            Cat said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

            Keep in mind one of the reasons Adelaide could threaten to match Danger and force the Cats into a trade is Danger agreed to a contract a fair bit below what he could get on the open market (rumored to be around $800k/yr).
            I don’t think Sloane will be taking below market if he decides to move.

            • Roar Rookie

              February 23rd 2018 @ 1:51pm
              Lamby said | February 23rd 2018 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

              Yep, with Danger the Crows only had 1 club to deal with. With Sloane it will be multiple clubs and he would only be going for the ‘one last big contract’. The Crows will say they can match. It will be like Lever and will require the equivalent of 2 first round draft picks and (for Sloane) more than $1mil.

              • Roar Guru

                February 23rd 2018 @ 2:04pm
                Cat said | February 23rd 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Again Lever was low dollars comparatively speaking. Crows have to be able to realistically fit the contract under their cap in case a deal doesn’t get done. If a club came with a front loaded $1.2–1.5m/yr deal I don’t see how the Crows would have a hope in hell of fitting that in their cap.

              • Roar Rookie

                February 23rd 2018 @ 2:45pm
                Lamby said | February 23rd 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                The Crows were not going to double Lever’s salary to get near the $900k he is on at Melbourne, where they are already paying Sloane close to what his asking price would be. The Crows cannot afford to pay a player on potential when they already have 11 players who have been in the All-Australian squad in the last 3 years, when you can only pay 7-8 players over $500k. Tex, Betts, Sloane, Jacobs, Lynch, Talia, Smith, Laird, Jenkins, M Crouch, Gibbs are all AA squad in the last 3 years. All would command $750+ to move. Throw in B Crouch and McGovern into the mix and you can see why the Crows cannot afford to pay on potential. Good luck to Lever – who would not take a huge pay rise, but it will be interesting to see how he goes without 3 All-Australians around him (Talia, Smith, Laird) and players like Brown and Kelly shutting down players to allow Lever to be free.

              • February 23rd 2018 @ 9:01pm
                Farnzy said | February 23rd 2018 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

                Lever is on 750K over 4. Not sure where crows fans get this 900K figure. Adelaide aren’t going to be able to get away with low balling Sloane, don’t offer him his open market worth and he’s gone. Not to mention Laird will be commanding a massive pay rise.

              • February 24th 2018 @ 6:20am
                Aransan said | February 24th 2018 @ 6:20am | ! Report

                A team would have to be near the bottom of the ladder to be able to pay all their players market value. All things being equal, an elite player should be prepared to stay for 80% of market value — however the “market value” of certain players could vary greatly between clubs.

          • February 23rd 2018 @ 7:00pm
            Ditto said | February 23rd 2018 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

            I’m pretty sure Adelaide got Geelong’s second round pick as well.

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 11:12am
          Aransan said | February 23rd 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          I agree with you about what Smith and Saad would be on but the salary cap could be a problem in the future with increasing payments required for players such as Daniher and Merrett. If Stringer lives up to his potential he will need boosted payments as well.

          • Roar Guru

            February 23rd 2018 @ 12:12pm
            JamesH said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

            They could front-end Sloane’s contract for the first couple of seasons to ease the cap space later, though.

      • Editor

        February 23rd 2018 @ 12:16pm
        Josh Elliott said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        I would be suspect that Stringer, Smith and Saad combined are on less than a total of $1.5 million, and less than what left the Bombers through delistings and retirements at the end of the year. I reckon they could definitely afford to spend big now but it is a potential concern if they have a player later on who deserves more money but they don’t have room for it – that’s why Sloane makes a lot of sense to me as he will retire and be off the books by the time someone like Andy McGrath is deserving that megacontract.

        If the Dons need a South Australian player to give back to the Crows in a trade for Sloane, I’d say it’ll be Aaron Francis – he’s probably half a chance to be there in 2019 Sloane or no Sloane (with the other half of the chance being that he goes to Port Adelaide).

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 12:20pm
          truetigerfan said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

          Would they really need to pay Stringer more? He would have to be absolutely outstanding to warrant a pay rise especially if you assume it’s his last chance saloon! Might not be worth a cracker by the time his contract is up for renewal.

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 12:55pm
          Aransan said | February 23rd 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Aaron Francis would need to play a number of games and play well this year to be considered in any trading. Let us hope he can recover from his personal issues as he is a great kid.

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 1:47pm
          sammy said | February 23rd 2018 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

          Eddie Betts is maybe a couple of seasons away from finishing – although you never know, so Fantasia makes perfect sense in any swap deal and being a norwood boy would get to come home

    • Roar Guru

      February 23rd 2018 @ 1:17pm
      Redb said | February 23rd 2018 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

      I’d love Sloane to come to Essendon. How likely, who knows?

    • Roar Guru

      February 23rd 2018 @ 2:16pm
      Cat said | February 23rd 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

      There is an obscure rule which essentially states that if a player is one of the higher earners at his club and has not previously been a restricted free agent, then they must be a restricted free agent at least once before being eligible for unrestricted free agency.

      I think you’ve misread the rule Josh.

      This is what the rule says:

      Players who are in the top 25 per cent of salaries at their club (that is, in the club’s top nine-10 paid players) are eligible for restricted free agency the first time they are out of contract, if they have served at least eight years with the club.

      For example, a player who is contracted after his seventh year for one, two, three, four or five years will be eligible for restricted free agency when next out of contract having completed either eight, nine, 10, 11 or 12 seasons respectively.

      A top 25 per cent player is eligible for unrestricted free agency when next out of contract, provided a player can never be an unrestricted free agent until completing at least 10 years’ service at one club.

      Sloane will 100% be unrestricted.

      • Roar Guru

        February 23rd 2018 @ 2:55pm
        Cat said | February 23rd 2018 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

        Did some more digging trying to find a clearer idea.

        The following is taken verbatim from the actual 2017–2022 CBA:

        1.2 Restricted Free Agents
        _____(a) Subject to Rule 1.2(b), a Player who:
        __________(i) otherwise meets the criteria under Rule 1.1(a) in a particular year (relevant year); and
        __________(ii) as at the date determined by the AFL under Rule 1.3 (relevant date), is entitled to Guaranteed Payments for the relevant year that places that Player:
        _______________(A) where a Club has 40 Players on its Primary List as at the relevant date, within the top 10 ranked Players on the Club’s Primary List; or
        _______________(B) where a Club has less than 40 Players on its Primary List as at the relevant date, within the top 9 ranked Players on the Club’s Primary List;
        _______________(C) in respect of Guaranteed Payments for the relevant year, such rankings to be determined by the AFL,
        will be a Restricted Free Agent in the relevant year.
        _____(b) A Player who meets the criteria under Rule 1.2(a) will not be a Restricted Free Agent, and will be a Free Agent, in a particular year where both of the following apply:
        __________(i) his Contract of Service expires on or before 31 October in a particular year being equal to or greater than his tenth consecutive year as a Player on the Primary and/or Rookie List of the Player’s Current Club; and
        __________(ii) he has already entered into a new Contract of Service with his Current Club once following 1 March in his eighth consecutive AFL Season on the Primary and/or Rookie List of that Club.

        Sloane clearly meets everything with the possible exception of 1.2(b)(ii). I have no idea when he entered into his last contract (keep in mind if at any point the club renegotiated his contract to save cap space that may be considered a new contract).

        • February 23rd 2018 @ 5:25pm
          sammy said | February 23rd 2018 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

          I think that is the key..from the crow boards it looks like he signed before 1 march. Also this article suggests he resigned in his 7th year http://www.afl.com.au/news/2015-06-15/rory-sloane-says-he-was-always-going-to-resign-with-crows

        • Editor

          February 23rd 2018 @ 8:59pm
          Josh Elliott said | February 23rd 2018 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

          As mentioned in the article, he re-signed in 2015, so he was never previously a free agent, which as far as I can tell under the rule you’ve mentioned means he will be restricted. It would be very AFL-like though to be confused by their own rule (or write it in such a confusing way that we’re all misinterpreting it).

          • Roar Guru

            February 23rd 2018 @ 9:30pm
            Cat said | February 23rd 2018 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

            The rule, as written, is very clear. Whats not clear is why the AFLPA would ever have agreed to it. Its completely asinine. As written why would any player ever agree to sign a deal that took them past their 8th year?

    • February 23rd 2018 @ 5:47pm
      Jesse Breen said | February 23rd 2018 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

      Ollie for sure. Trade Francis and first rounder. Everyone wins. Make it happen Adrian!

      • Editor

        February 23rd 2018 @ 9:00pm
        Josh Elliott said | February 23rd 2018 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

        I reckon Port would ask for more.

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