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Oh, boy, this is going to be a monster - I have put together a list of things that I would install as AFL chief that would make the game a more even, balanced, and enjoyable spectacle and I haven't changed one on field rule - who knew you could make change off field that affects the onfield...

Instead of making it all TL:DR (Too Long; Didn't Read for Old Dee) I have cut them up into some sub headings so it will be easier for people to quote and massage and ridicule and explore what they wish:

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Free Agency

1. Bands 4 and 5 nixed and those that fell in these categories made irrelevant to compensation. Bands 1, 2, and 3 remain as is.

Those that are a loss will be in the first 3 categories – those just looking for new homes at close to minimum salaries are now removed from the compensation process. This would allow a club like MFC recruit low-end FAs while still maintaining the compensation level for losing a player like Frawley.

2. Max years for opposition teams capped at 5

This will not allow a team like Sydney to offer more than 5 years to a prospective FA. A FAs own team can offer as many years as it likes.

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Salary Cap

3. The Vets cap of $400k will allow a team’s own FA signing (whether they have played 10 years or not).

This would allow a team to use that money on a RFA who has been at the club for only 8 or 9 years, not just those that have been at the club for 10 years.

4. The AFL will remain a ‘Hard Cap’ league where a team cannot go over the cap, except for the stipulations mentioned in the Vets cap.

There is some desire to move to a NBA style ‘soft’ cap (teams are allowed to spend over the cap on their own players essentially) but that should not be allowed – they are other mechanism to put in before a soft cap is allowed.

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Contracts

5. All contracts are guaranteed and cannot be altered at a later time (pay out scenarios excepted).

This is to ensure that teams don’t keep players by getting 5 other players to take a pay cut down the track. Trade a player if you want to sign another.

6. All contracts cannot be formally ratified until October 1 at 12:01am. Discussions with agents/players over re-signing players is prohibited from May 31 until October 1 at 12:01am. Discussions with agents/players over signing new players are prohibited outside the month of October.

This should curtail mid-season discussion over re-signing players and remove the pressure from clubs to demand answers from players before October. With contracts only ratified during that month for extensions – it does not allow talent to be locked up by clubs and allows clubs to talk to players – this will ensure players are fully aware of their market value – a massive tenet of a Salary Cap regulated league.

7. Unless contractually stipulated, players can be traded without their consent.

This is what the players do not want but with their power and freedom comes some drawbacks and what they will get is less power and freedom in a professional sport. If they want protection from being traded without their consent they can negotiate that in their contracts – otherwise, welcome to the 21st century fellas…

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Draft

8. Raise the draft age by 6 months every 3 years until the minimum age is 20 by the following calendar year.

This is to give teams a better idea of what they are getting when they spend those picks – it will give the draft more relevance because of that and increase the importance of high picks.

9. AFL Commission to continue to hand out picks according to their formula (and their better judgement) as it is now.

There is nothing more important than a teams’ list – if there are bad teams that need help – help them.

10. 1st round picks are given 2 year contracts with two team options for the next two years, 2nd round picks are given two year contracts with 1 team option for an extra year.

This is a no brainer. I cannot believe this league has a situation where the kid taken at 1 has the same contract length as the kid taken at Pick 82.

11. In lieu of a ‘lottery’ for the teams that don’t finish in the finals to determine draft picks, a Competitive Percentage Determinator should be installed.

This will reward the team that increases their percentage (relatively) the most from the point they are mathematically out of finals contention until the end of the season. This will ensure teams play out the season as they chase a better pick and will keep the best players out on the park rather than put in moth balls for illegitimate reasons.

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List Management

12. Abolish the Rookie Draft and the Rookie List

There is no need for this mechanism anymore, if there was in the past. Rookies are paid less and are expected to do as much as professionals paid more and with more guarantee with their contracts. It is anachronistic.

13. Establish ‘Train On’ Squads after the draft (like we have now) and those players are paid well for their short time working with that team. List of 46 finalised by Jan 31.

This will allow teams to agree with overlooked players after a few months training with them (or with other teams) instead of a few weeks.

14. Injury replacement players to come from outside the AFL (assuming they were in the most recent draft list).

Any team can sign a player to replace an injured player for the time that player is injured. The max length contract that can be signed is until Oct 1. But that player is able to sign at that point with any team – he doesn’t have to go through the draft again.

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Fixture

15. There are approximately 110 ‘Prime Time’ games a season (Fri night, sat x2, and sat night x2) and they should be shared equally amongst the teams with every team getting no less than 6 a season as home games.

Again, this is an equalisation measure and there are going to issues with this that reward more than others. But welcome to the 21st century in a professionally run, supposedly equalised league where ‘anyone’ can win…

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Revenues

16. All matchday revenues are to be shared equally among the 18 teams (gate, membership (discounted entry), catering, reserved seating)

Again, welcome to the 21st century of equalised leagues. This is done in the NBA and NFL and if we are to truly emulate their strategies should be in place here. The AFL has already tried with the beverage agreement being shared but this is the thing that will make a huge difference to the bottom line of clubs and finally settle the question of whether the league makes the big teams or the big teams make the league (Hint: it is the former…)

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11. In lieu of a ‘lottery’ for the teams that don’t finish in the finals to determine draft picks, a Competitive Percentage Determinator should be installed.

This will reward the team that increases their percentage (relatively) the most from the point they are mathematically out of finals contention until the end of the season. This will ensure teams play out the season as they chase a better pick and will keep the best players out on the park rather than put in moth balls for illegitimate reasons.

Love the idea of bottom teams still having something to play for in latter end of the season. It's usually around this time of year when I begin to lose interest in a LOT of teams and games.

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With regards to the salary cap, I'd like to see a discount for length of stay on the list. For example, after the third year, each club gets to discount the salary by 5% for each additional year a player stays up to a maximum of 50% (which would take 10 years to reach). So, if a player signs a three year, $200,000 per annum contract for years 4, 5 and 6, the club would have to count $190,000 in the salary cap for year 4, $180,000 for year 5 and $170,000 for year 6. This discourages player movement as the discount doesn't apply the moment a player moves. At the end of year 6 in this example, if a new club wants to offer (say) a $300,000 per annum, 3 year contract, the player's club could offer $330,000 per annum but only have to include $264,000 (ie, $330,000 minus 20%) in its salary cap. This will particularly help poorer clubs (both poorer financially and in performance) as the better clubs will struggle to match a player's demands because of the salary cap relief afforded to the "home" club.

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Draft

8. Raise the draft age by 6 months every 3 years until the minimum age is 20 by the following calendar year.

This is to give teams a better idea of what they are getting when they spend those picks – it will give the draft more relevance because of that and increase the importance of high picks.

9. AFL Commission to continue to hand out picks according to their formula (and their better judgement) as it is now.

There is nothing more important than a teams’ list – if there are bad teams that need help – help them.

10. 1st round picks are given 2 year contracts with two team options for the next two years, 2nd round picks are given two year contracts with 1 team option for an extra year.

This is a no brainer. I cannot believe this league has a situation where the kid taken at 1 has the same contract length as the kid taken at Pick 82.

11. In lieu of a ‘lottery’ for the teams that don’t finish in the finals to determine draft picks, a Competitive Percentage Determinator should be installed.

This will reward the team that increases their percentage (relatively) the most from the point they are mathematically out of finals contention until the end of the season. This will ensure teams play out the season as they chase a better pick and will keep the best players out on the park rather than put in moth balls for illegitimate reasons.

Not sure I agree with point 11. This will reward the better teams in the bottom half of the ladder especially those with the better draw. The reason teams are at the bottom with a low percentage is they are no good. Its not very likely regardless of the carrot of an earlier pick they will be able to improve their percentage. Over the years this would just make it harder for rubbish team to get off the bottom because they will be less likely to get first pick in the draft.

I think the tanking debate as been a nothing debate from day one. The detrimental effect of tanking (what ever that is) far outweighs the benfit of an earlier pick. We picked Toumpas well before Wines and lost on that deal. Yes its better to have pick one but it is not guarantee of success. A team that plays without desire and hope will destroy a playing list and and we are a case in point. Teams wil play out the year regardless because without that burning desire to success ingrained at every level in the club draft picks will be doomed.

There is not a chance in hell Roos will do anything other than fight to final siren of the season and would expect nothing less from his players coaches and administrators.

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Contracts

5. All contracts are guaranteed and cannot be altered at a later time (pay out scenarios excepted).

This is to ensure that teams don’t keep players by getting 5 other players to take a pay cut down the track. Trade a player if you want to sign another.

6. All contracts cannot be formally ratified until October 1 at 12:01am. Discussions with agents/players over re-signing players is prohibited from May 31 until October 1 at 12:01am. Discussions with agents/players over signing new players are prohibited outside the month of October.

This should curtail mid-season discussion over re-signing players and remove the pressure from clubs to demand answers from players before October. With contracts only ratified during that month for extensions – it does not allow talent to be locked up by clubs and allows clubs to talk to players – this will ensure players are fully aware of their market value – a massive tenet of a Salary Cap regulated league.

7. Unless contractually stipulated, players can be traded without their consent.

This is what the players do not want but with their power and freedom comes some drawbacks and what they will get is less power and freedom in a professional sport. If they want protection from being traded without their consent they can negotiate that in their contracts – otherwise, welcome to the 21st century fellas…

I have held the same view for some time, and really glad someone else has brough this up. It really is a no brainer, creates a level field for everyone and removes unecessary distraction from the season proper. The only losers is the media who like to 'make' news!

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Fixture

15. There are approximately 110 ‘Prime Time’ games a season (Fri night, sat x2, and sat night x2) and they should be shared equally amongst the teams with every team getting no less than 6 a season as home games.

Again, this is an equalisation measure and there are going to issues with this that reward more than others. But welcome to the 21st century in a professionally run, supposedly equalised league where ‘anyone’ can win…

I don't consider the Saturday afternoon timeslot "prime time" - particularly the 2:10 games on Fox Sports 3.

Friday night, Saturday night or Public holidays are what I consider "prime time".

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I don't consider the Saturday afternoon timeslot "prime time" - particularly the 2:10 games on Fox Sports 3.

Friday night, Saturday night or Public holidays are what I consider "prime time".

'Prime Time' for a commercial POV. Sat Afternoon is far better than Sunday.

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The AFL are worried that elite athletes will go to other codes if we continue to raise the draft age.

I think that fear is overblown. The state leagues will be given a boon with these kids playing their teenage years there.

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One measure i'd like to see come in to replace the priority pick system is if a side finishes bottom 4 two consecutive years they are awarded 2 mini draft selections that allow the clubs to trade for one of the best 17 year olds in the country, if the picks aren't traded the side can sign 1 17 year old themselves and develop them ala Hogan

I think this system will help prevent sides hanging on the bottom for too long and give them access to more top end talent, imagine last year us being able to sign a player like Brayshaw and develop him all year.

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Not sure I agree with point 11. This will reward the better teams in the bottom half of the ladder especially those with the better draw. The reason teams are at the bottom with a low percentage is they are no good. Its not very likely regardless of the carrot of an earlier pick they will be able to improve their percentage. Over the years this would just make it harder for rubbish team to get off the bottom because they will be less likely to get first pick in the draft.

I understand the desire to not punish bad teams but I will just expand on this rule a little bit:

If Team A has a percentage of 50% when it is out of finals contention, and Team B has a percentage of 80% when it is out of finals contention - it is their relative increase that selects draft order. So if Team A finished the season with a percentage of 65, Team B would have to finish on 104.1% to have a larger relative increase in their percentage.

Team A has incentive to play out the season and their fans have reason to expect their team to want to compete rather than just wait for the end of the season.

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Salary Cap

3. The Vets cap of $400k will allow a team’s own FA signing (whether they have played 10 years or not).

This would allow a team to use that money on a RFA who has been at the club for only 8 or 9 years, not just those that have been at the club for 10 years.

I've mentioned my thoughts on this in another post - Veterans cap should be removed, it is essentially a bonus for having the good luck of a player staying at the club for 10 years. In the times of FA it really serves no value other than to assist teams who have good luck.

Draft

11. In lieu of a ‘lottery’ for the teams that don’t finish in the finals to determine draft picks, a Competitive Percentage Determinator should be installed.

This will reward the team that increases their percentage (relatively) the most from the point they are mathematically out of finals contention until the end of the season. This will ensure teams play out the season as they chase a better pick and will keep the best players out on the park rather than put in moth balls for illegitimate reasons.

There are a number of issues with this -

- Mathematically out of contention vs realistically out of contention, in 2013 Melbourne was realistically out of finals contention after the first 3 games, however mathematically we weren't out of contention until round 15 or so (as we could have won each game by 100+ points). Once it's realistic that a team won't make finals, while still mathematically possible, it's likely you'd cop a couple of hidings to make it easier to gain percentage in later rounds once it's mathematically impossible to make it.

- a teams draw isn't taken in to account, if you have a tough run at the start and an easy run home you have a much better chance of a top pick

- although minimal 9th place will have a chance at pick 1, if they aren't out of contention until the last round, play the bottom placed side and win by 20+ goals. Combined with point 1 it could seriously screw some teams.

List Management

12. Abolish the Rookie Draft and the Rookie List

There is no need for this mechanism anymore, if there was in the past. Rookies are paid less and are expected to do as much as professionals paid more and with more guarantee with their contracts. It is anachronistic.

14. Injury replacement players to come from outside the AFL (assuming they were in the most recent draft list).

Any team can sign a player to replace an injured player for the time that player is injured. The max length contract that can be signed is until Oct 1. But that player is able to sign at that point with any team – he doesn’t have to go through the draft again.

100% agree on point 12.

I like point 14, however the logistics are prohibitive, especially in regards to how these players would be treated under the salary cap. Additionally, with a 44 player list (based on the idea the rookie list is abolished), how relevant is this? It would also mean that young key position players wouldn't get drafted. Why would you take a prospective 18yo ruckman, when you can get a hardbodied 28 yo who will have a better immediate impact halfway through the system. Essentially the only players who would get drafted would be players ready to play AFL immediately.

Fixture

15. There are approximately 110 ‘Prime Time’ games a season (Fri night, sat x2, and sat night x2) and they should be shared equally amongst the teams with every team getting no less than 6 a season as home games.

Again, this is an equalisation measure and there are going to issues with this that reward more than others. But welcome to the 21st century in a professionally run, supposedly equalised league where ‘anyone’ can win…

I would've liked an idea on how to balance out the draw, to me that's the main issue with the fixture. My thoughts: remove the pre-season comp, 25 round season (excl byes.), you play every team once, then a lottery is held to determine who you play in the remaining 8 rounds.

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I've mentioned my thoughts on this in another post - Veterans cap should be removed, it is essentially a bonus for having the good luck of a player staying at the club for 10 years. In the times of FA it really serves no value other than to assist teams who have good luck.

I don't think this was the reason the veteran's cap came in. I seem to recall it was to encourage clubs to retain their older players because of public concern that the ruthlessness of list management meant clubs were prepared to axe otherwise loyal servants too early. The views expressed on Demonland when James McDonald is an example of the supporters' concerns at this practice. By only including half the the veteran's contracted amount in the salary cap, clubs were encouraged to be more sentimental in their approach to aging servants.

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There are a number of issues with this -

- Mathematically out of contention vs realistically out of contention, in 2013 Melbourne was realistically out of finals contention after the first 3 games, however mathematically we weren't out of contention until round 15 or so (as we could have won each game by 100+ points). Once it's realistic that a team won't make finals, while still mathematically possible, it's likely you'd cop a couple of hidings to make it easier to gain percentage in later rounds once it's mathematically impossible to make it.

- a teams draw isn't taken in to account, if you have a tough run at the start and an easy run home you have a much better chance of a top pick

- although minimal 9th place will have a chance at pick 1, if they aren't out of contention until the last round, play the bottom placed side and win by 20+ goals. Combined with point 1 it could seriously screw some teams.

I agree there are flaws but I don't agree with the bolded.

We are talking about the difference between Pick 1 and Pick 4. The bad team is still going to get a very good pick. There perhaps can be a cutoff with 2 rounds to go so that your scenario is mitigated.

It's about attempting to bring some meaning to the meaningless games.

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    PODCAST: Jason Taylor Interview

    I interview the Melbourne Football Club's National Recruitment Manager Jason Taylor to have a chat about our Trade and Draft period, our newest recruits, our recent recruits who have yet to debut as well as those father son prospects on the horizon ... LISTEN

    Demonland | November 27

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    Wednesday 24th April 2024
    @ 07:25pm (MCG)

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      PLAYER INJURY LENGTH
    Shane McAdam Hamstring 1-2 Weeks
    Marty Hore Thumb 1-2 Weeks
    Charlie Spargo Achilles 3 Weeks
    Christian Salem Hamstring 3-4 Weeks
    Jake Bowey Shoulder 4-5 Weeks
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    1 Max Gawn 67
    2 Christian Petracca 55
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    4 Jack Viney 28
    5 Alex Neal-Bullen 27
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