St. Kilda and Port Adelaide have cautioned the AFL against the push to scrap compensation picks after both clubs lost players during the Free Agency period, with St Kilda losing Brendon Goddard to Essendon whilst Port lost Danyle Pearce and Troy Chaplin.
Both sides were compensated for their loses as St Kilda received a first-round National Draft pick, pick 13 overall, whilst Port gained two second-round picks, 30 and 31, for the pair’s departure.
St Kilda dipped into the Delisted Free Agency period, picking up Dylan Roberton from Fremantle. No compensation was given to Fremantle as it had delisted Roberton.
Though St Kilda has yet to formalise its view on compensation picks, chief executive Michael Nettlefold said the Saints would have been “disappointed” to lose Goddard for nothing.
Hawthorn was one club that was vocal about its disappointment with its compensation, which was a third-round pick for the loss of Clinton Young, departing to Collingwood.
A couple of potential free agents ended up traded to their new club of choice rather than going through free agency. For example, Collingwood gained Jordan Russell from Carlton when the Blues offered up a draft pick for him.
Whilst some clubs feel they are entitled to the compensation picks, working out the worth of a player who has left continues to be a problem with clubs believing they are entitled to more than they are being offered.
This should be another reason for the AFL to look at the abolishing of the compensation pick; no pick means no club is unhappy with what has been offered and this should force teams to try and sign someone else.
The first season of free agency was needed as clubs were getting used to the idea, but now that AFL clubs have had a taste of what free agency period is and are now wiser on how it works, as well as what they will need to do moving forward, surely no compensation pick should be required.
The clubs should now be able to just go ahead and sign a free agent on their own to cover the player they have lost, not having to argue with the AFL on what they should have received in compensation to replace the leaving player.
The AFL should be able now to tinker with the rules of Free Agency a bit more and find a way to ease some fears of a mass exodus from one club to another.
With a few minor modifications, it should be possible to make clubs more independent of the AFL and more satisfied with the way Free Agency works.