AFL football boss Steven Hocking arrives at Marvel Stadium during last year’s trade period.
AFL football boss Steven Hocking arrives at Marvel Stadium during last year’s trade period.

AFL poised for extra trade period  

PLAYERS could complete an entire pre-season at one club only to be traded to a rival on the eve of Round 1 next season.

In what would be a radical change to the player movement landscape, the AFL is seriously considering bringing in a second trade period that would take place between the JLT Community Series and the traditional Richmond-Carlton season-opener.

AFL heavyweights will meet all 18 clubs on Monday to indicate whether the mooted exchange period will be ticked off for 2020.

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That meeting will take place directly before this year's trade period starts at 9am.

Clubs expect that they would be empowered to trade players, draft picks and future draft picks under the most likely model.

But first and second-year draftees, as well as Category B rookies, would be off-limits.

Clubs recruiting players would be required to fit their contracts under the salary cap.

In the most extreme example, a player could theoretically relocate from Victoria to Western Australia just days before the home-and-away season.

Or, a player could line up for one club in the final pre-season match, and then swap jumpers to play against his old team in Round 1 just two weeks later.

The concept was raised by the AFL at a recent club chief executive conference.

The league presented two options - a mid-season trade period and a pre-season trade period - and club bosses emphatically voted for the March version.

Feedback given to the AFL was that a pre-season trade period was "more palatable", particularly because of the strain a mid-season trade period would put on staff and resources.

Another concern with the mid-season timeslot was intellectual property swapping hands just 12 weeks before the finals begin.

This year 11 clubs entered Round 1 with multiple players injured for the first half of the season.

List managers expect fringe ruckmen and key-position players would dominate pre-season trade discussions.

But Hawthorn could've used a pre-season trade period to replace Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell, who missed 2019 after breaking his leg in January.

A pre-season trade period would run in conjunction with the mid-season draft, which is certain to remain given this year's success.

Richmond drafted premiership player and Grand Final debutant Marlion Pickett in May, while fellow mid-season draftees John Noble (Collingwood) and Will Snelling (Essendon) also played in September.

Hawthorn could have compensated for the loss of Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell under the new system. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images.
Hawthorn could have compensated for the loss of Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell under the new system. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images.

The supplemental selection period (SSP) will also remain, which enabled Sydney Stack (Richmond), Michael Gibbons (Carlton) and Shane Mumford (GWS) join after the national and rookie drafts during the pre-season.

AFL football boss Steve Hocking has long campaigned for an extra trade period to further stimulate player movement, although Hocking's preference was for a mid-season window.

"We think (a second trade period) is realistic and I say that confidently because the discussions have been had with senior coaches and heads of footy," Hocking said earlier this year.

"We think it makes the season tighter because you've got the opportunity to potentially plug in a player or two to keep you competitive."