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Half Pregnant Free Agency


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Hardwick lamented the league was "half pregnant" in its pursuit of equalisation through free agency, which was introduced at the end of the 2012 season.

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"We have the mechanism in play, but we don't have all the parts in play," Hardwick said, two days after Geelong counterpart Chris Scott called for free agency to be scrapped.

"Free agency is a good mechanism ... (it) is here to stay, we just have to make sure we do it properly."

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/damien-hardwick-says-afl-should-reform-free-agency-to-aid-all-20140731-zyypk.html#ixzz391dPl6eJ

You can argue the merits of his NFL idea of the top 4 being restricted from involvement in FA but you cannot argue that he is not right about the AFL being half pregnant in its FA model.

There is much they have taken from other equalised sports that has merit as an equalisation measure as well as a way for players to have more freedom - but there is much they have left on the table that would make FA a more worthwhile experience for clubs down the bottom that the league wants to see up the top.

The FA-related Mechanisms to install immediately;

1. Players cannot veto trades.

2. Contracts cannot be signed until the October they expire.

3. Lists are not finalised until two months into the season.

4. Injury replacement players can come from outside the AFL.

At the moment the AFLPA has got what it wants without giving much at all - the AFL needs to make sure it doesn't relent on more freedoms without thinking about what effect it will have.

Frankly, the AFL has been making up this stuff as they go and it has been embarrassing to watch these people free jazz their way to policy.

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1. Players cannot veto trades. <--- This invalidate the players' call for more freedom in choosing where they wish to work. A player should be able to determine whether or not they want to go to another club. Removing the veto option means a player could sign a contract thinking they are part of the long-term club plans, only to be traded with no say.



2. Contracts cannot be signed until the October they expire. <---- Agreed. Completely ban any discussion or contact with free agency until their contract is up. Current system is a farce. As it is in the NRL.



3. Lists are not finalised until two months into the season. <---- Get rid of list finalisation. Clubs should be able to sign and waive players as they wish.



4. Injury replacement players can come from outside the AFL. <---- Agreed.



VOTE rpfc.


Edited by praha
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Agree with all of the RPFC, especially number 1.

Free agency is about transitioning the AFL from a league with a suburban footy club mentality to a professional, commercial one.

So far the players have gotten their way with far easier movement between clubs. Clubs should similarly be able to trade players as they see fit in order to maximise the talent on their lists. Yes this may be an inconvenience for the players, but they are getting more than adequately remunerated for their services regardless of which team they play for. If the AFL are serious about ramping up the league to the level of the NFL, NBA etc then all parties have to adjust.

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Personally, I think Hardwick's comments are about the most sensible that I've heard to date. If we must have Free Agency (and, it seems we must...!), then restrictions like this to stop the top clubs pinching all the good players can only be a good idea, in my humble opinion.

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The FA-related Mechanisms to install immediately;

You seem to be removing the rights of the players.

Players cannot veto trades? How does this relate to FA? What are you getting at here?

October sign on? Ablett, Scully, Franklin and I reckon Frawley all committed well before the end of the season. What does this achieve? It doesn't seem to achieve anything in terms of equalization.

I can't see how the last two relate to FA. How does the list not being finalized until the end of May work? What are you trying to achieve?

What has injury replacement got to do with FA?

I don't like FA as I like the concept that players play with one club for their careers but that must be balanced with a players rights to play where he has an offer he wants to take up.The mechanism of that is of course a vexed issue.

If we are going to have FA I'd like to see is the "receiving" club have to pay something. At the moment they get something for nothing and that's the greatest problem with the equalization concept and FA. For all I don't like FA I respect, for example, Frawley's right to now play for a team that is competitive. He's put up with crud for 8 years, he's paid his dues and he deserves to play where he wants now to have a chance at some success in his career. I think it would be unfair to deny him that right which, if I'm reading your OP correctly, it seems to do.

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The effect FA has had on the AFL landscape means that the remedies to what people are worried about require an holistic view of the whole list management and recruitment structure.

1. Players standard contract should preclude vetoing trades, if a player wants to negotiate a 'no-trade clause' they can. But we don't allow draftees to choose where they go, why should a teenager not be given that right but when they are on the list they suddenly can choose where they go?

2. Contracts not being signed until October means that the player is more inclined to get market value for their services, there are far too many players signing well before their contract expires on far less than they are worth. Equalisation demands talent be paid market value, delaying signing has proven to have this effect in the NBA and NFL.

3. Lists not being finalised until two months into the season will give a benefit to the teams that struggle to attract talent by traditional means and allow them to sign players (and trade for in a subsequent in season trade period) that others wouldn't have a spot for.

4. The injury replacements are an extension of that, and at the heart of it - it is about giving teams more options and to use the MFC and Frawley as an example:

We could trade Frawley to his club of choice (or not) and he could decide whether to still become a FA or resign at that point with his new club.

OR we could let him have his FA, which he signs in October, but we could have signed a back from outside the AFL during the season as the chances of him re-signing diminish. I mention the injury replacements here as players who have left through means like this tend to end their season early through injury...

The answer to these issues are not simply contained within the FA policies, they require a structural change to how players move and how lists are formed.

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I reckon an idea where by the team who recruits a free agent has to give up the compensation pick to the opposition so picks are created out of thin air

Geelong recruit James Frawley, Geelong have to give Melbourne the equivalent of what their compo should be, their first round pick

the way the current system works Sydney could win the flag, pick up the top free agent and not have to give up anything.

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I reckon an idea where by the team who recruits a free agent has to give up the compensation pick to the opposition so picks are created out of thin air

Geelong recruit James Frawley, Geelong have to give Melbourne the equivalent of what their compo should be, their first round pick

the way the current system works Sydney could win the flag, pick up the top free agent and not have to give up anything.

Yes, but your version would have give pick 18 yet, if we recruited the same player we would be forced to give Pick 3.

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Yes, but your version would have give pick 18 yet, if we recruited the same player we would be forced to give Pick 3.

I suppose you're right, would need it to favour lower rated teams.

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The effect FA has had on the AFL landscape means that the remedies to what people are worried about require an holistic view of the whole list management and recruitment structure.

1. Players standard contract should preclude vetoing trades, if a player wants to negotiate a 'no-trade clause' they can. But we don't allow draftees to choose where they go, why should a teenager not be given that right but when they are on the list they suddenly can choose where they go?

2. Contracts not being signed until October means that the player is more inclined to get market value for their services, there are far too many players signing well before their contract expires on far less than they are worth. Equalisation demands talent be paid market value, delaying signing has proven to have this effect in the NBA and NFL.

3. Lists not being finalised until two months into the season will give a benefit to the teams that struggle to attract talent by traditional means and allow them to sign players (and trade for in a subsequent in season trade period) that others wouldn't have a spot for.

4. The injury replacements are an extension of that, and at the heart of it - it is about giving teams more options and to use the MFC and Frawley as an example:

We could trade Frawley to his club of choice (or not) and he could decide whether to still become a FA or resign at that point with his new club.

OR we could let him have his FA, which he signs in October, but we could have signed a back from outside the AFL during the season as the chances of him re-signing diminish. I mention the injury replacements here as players who have left through means like this tend to end their season early through injury...

The answer to these issues are not simply contained within the FA policies, they require a structural change to how players move and how lists are formed.

It's a good discussion to have.

I can't agree that players have to go where they are traded. Apart from anything it seems to breach individual rights. When Frawley leaves to chase success we can trade him to Saints where he can't have it. That's not "fair". A player who has personal reasons to stay in Melbourne is suddenly traded to Perth. I don't think that works. Trades need to be win win and with the player having no right of veto that is unlikely. Teenagers don't have the right of veto because their drafting is part of equalization and the rules after that need to be a balance between player rights and club needs.

Contracts not being signed until October precludes players being signed up during the year. Hogan and McDonald wouldn't yet be signed. Your "market value" argument doesn't hold IMO because contracts are for 2 to 5 years normally and contract anticipate performance with clauses in them adjusting payment where necessary. If you're worried about players signing before October you'd shyte yourself at long term contracts.

The May cut off for list management idea is interesting. But if we wanted to draft someone in what happens to list sizes? Does someone have to get cut? What about his contract? I suppose contracts could be restructured to run to April or May 30/31. It's an interesting idea but I'm wondering how it works with the draft and list sizes. But is certainly adds something to the mix and gives fringe players opportunities. I'm wondering if clubs should have to nominate (say) 30 players by season start and the balance of players are FA for one/two months. Now that would be interesting.

The whole list management debate is a good one. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Oh, and on the "receiving" team getting a FA and paying. I'm not suggesting the "payment" goes to the "giving" club, that compensation is already catered for. In my mind if Hawthorn get Frawley they might have to pay their first 2 picks in the draft whereas Collingwood might have to give up pick 12. The issue for me with FA is the receiver gets something for nothing. That is the greatest threat to equalization and should be addressed.

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It's a good discussion to have.

I can't agree that players have to go where they are traded. Apart from anything it seems to breach individual rights. When Frawley leaves to chase success we can trade him to Saints where he can't have it. That's not "fair". A player who has personal reasons to stay in Melbourne is suddenly traded to Perth. I don't think that works. Trades need to be win win and with the player having no right of veto that is unlikely. Teenagers don't have the right of veto because their drafting is part of equalization and the rules after that need to be a balance between player rights and club needs.

I once had similar reservations and the breach of individual rights is an obvious one and one that led to the Bosman ruling in International Soccer. But we are already there with the draft - it is an instrument that infringes a persons right to choose their employer...

Essentially, the employer is the AFL and the contracts that a player signs is with the competition. This should allow the trading of that contract without the need for the player to agree. Now, that is a jump from what we currently have but keep in mind the scenario where we trade Frawley last year or mid-season does not mean that he has to sign a new contract with the team we trade him to - if he wishes to not sign a new contract and become a FA at the end of that season - he can choose to do that. That is how it is run in the US. Just yesterday - two of the best pitchers in the MLB were traded months before they are to enjoy FA.

As for the 'teenagers don't have the right of veto because they are apart of equalisation' argument - I largely reject it because if trading players against their will is a 'breach of individual rights' so is the draft concept.

Contracts not being signed until October precludes players being signed up during the year. Hogan and McDonald wouldn't yet be signed. Your "market value" argument doesn't hold IMO because contracts are for 2 to 5 years normally and contract anticipate performance with clauses in them adjusting payment where necessary. If you're worried about players signing before October you'd shyte yourself at long term contracts.

The Hogan deal would be fine as he had another 15 months on his contract - the extension rules only apply in that calendar year. Players like McDonald would get closer to 'market value' because more teams are 'in his ear' and he is more likely to get what 'the market' is willing to pay if 'the market' has been able to propose a contract to him.

A moratorium on contracts being signed won't stop speculation, but it would calm the constant back-and-forth between the media and players on their decision to leave it until October. Essentially, if you and your club can't decide before April/May, you can't sort it out until the end of the season. This is something FOR the players really. This is a balance between what clubs want, what players want, and what the AFL wants (an equalised league).

The May cut off for list management idea is interesting. But if we wanted to draft someone in what happens to list sizes? Does someone have to get cut? What about his contract? I suppose contracts could be restructured to run to April or May 30/31. It's an interesting idea but I'm wondering how it works with the draft and list sizes. But is certainly adds something to the mix and gives fringe players opportunities. I'm wondering if clubs should have to nominate (say) 30 players by season start and the balance of players are FA for one/two months. Now that would be interesting.

I would envision what is called a 'train-on squad' that can balloon out to 10 to 15 for about 4 or 5 spots (or however many spots are yet to be filled) and that the list is then finalised approx. mid-season. Players in that squad are given contract for that period and paid enough to allow them to do it full time, but also have the right to sign anywhere else while not officially on a clubs list. This would replace the rookie list and would mitigate the situation we had this year when all our tall forwards went missing.

Oh, and on the "receiving" team getting a FA and paying. I'm not suggesting the "payment" goes to the "giving" club, that compensation is already catered for. In my mind if Hawthorn get Frawley they might have to pay their first 2 picks in the draft whereas Collingwood might have to give up pick 12. The issue for me with FA is the receiver gets something for nothing. That is the greatest threat to equalization and should be addressed.

I understand the desire to do it this way but FA is also supposed to be a way for lowly clubs to get (an, yes, overpay) talent from clubs above them. To take something from the teams getting these FAs is something that I think will hurt the system in a few years time when players become more professional, see their opportunities with more clarity, and ask for their market value in a league that wants to have an even shot a the flag for 3 quarters of the league.

This is all very new to the AFL and AFL fans but I would remind people that a US sports construct we have made our own that didn't start at all well is the National Draft; NRL fans still look at it like a confused blue heeler but I think we can all agree that it is something that helps the league as a whole and spreads the talent around the clubs?

Remember, it started with players selected who didn't agree to come to those clubs (see: Darren Jarman to the Dees - sigh...) and with some clubs treating it like a foreign and malignant artefact (Fremantle giving away Lucas, Lloyd, etc)...

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