Another form of Listed Player

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Horace

Premium Gold
Dec 2, 2001
10,382
18,413
Mitcham
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Fitzroy
With Ed's delisting today, on top of the initial 11 de-listings, as well as Will Walker's move to the Rookie List, I got to thinking about how list sizes are so much lower than they used to be back in the 1980's and earlier. Back then clubs used to have around 55 players on the list, so as to provide enough players to fill their Senior and Reserves teams.

Some clubs used those higher numbers, very effectively to both blood players and achieve great success. No greater example than Hawthorn in the 1980's. Unfortunately though it also allowed clubs to hold onto and stockpile players for longer than was necessarily good for the competition, so the AFL cut list sizes, as well as the Reserves Competition began to fall apart, in part due to financial considerations. In more recent years we have seen the re-introduction of the VFL competition as a de-facto Reserves competition, however with a separate VFL list of players, with teams made up from each clubs senior list, when those players are not selected in the AFL team.

The problem with the senior list being cut to now a minimum of 37 and a maximum of 44 (I think), is there is nowhere near the same ability for clubs to hold on to players, who for one reason or another, may not be playing to their potential. Clubs have to do the annual cull as they cannot afford to keep them on, as they need to recruit new/younger players. As a consequence, these delisted boys are largely lost to their current club.

Yet many of these boys, depending on their length of service, may well be as invested in the club as others who are retained. While their performances aren't at the level required they might still be great people to keep involved rather than lost. These delisted players, if given another chance in their existing clubs VFL team, might still fulfil the potential that the club saw in them when they were first recruited and ultimately get another shot at the highest level.

My thought is that the AFL should introduce/re-introduce a Supplementary List, for each club, where clubs might retain de-listed players, on VFL salaries and as VFL players only, but essentially in the same system they have been in while on an AFL List.

There would have to be a fair bit of flexibility as to how the system would work. As an example, lets take Mason Wood, who I think could still make it as an AFL player. We heard yesterday he expected to play as a defender this year, yet was sent forward for the entire season. To me he looked like a player whose confidence was shot and in the circumstances all players had to face in this extraordinary year, he did not really perform at the level I think he is capable of. Who knows what he might have achieved if he had been used as a defender at senior level this year? Who knows what he might achieve if he gets another chance as a defender at VFL level?

I suggest that for players like him, at their exit interview when they are delivered the news that they will not be re-contracted, they are presented with a range of options.

It would be their choice as to which path they take. Those options might be (a) simply accept the delisting, take their chances and make themselves available to be redrafted or picked up as DFA, or (b) simply retire or (c) elect to go on to the Supplementary List and become a VFL player at the same club. If they chose to retire or go on to the Supplementary List and subsequently another club wanted to draft them, then they would be free to join that other club, however not many players get a second chance nowadays.

The one difference I would offer to a Supplementary List player, as distinct from VFL Listed players, would be in the event of a mid-season draft, if their fortunes have turned around in the VFL competition and their club wants to re-list them back onto the Senior List, then providing there is a vacancy through something like a player on the Long term Injury List, they can get a second chance at senior level.

Doubtless people will see lots of holes in my theory and it is pure speculation on my behalf. But what I think might be valuable about this proposal, is clubs might retain some fringe players within their overall system, players probably a little above VFL level but for one reason or another, not quite "cutting the mustard". Players like Mason, Ed, Paul Ahern, Jasper Pittard, in my opinion, would be terrific at VFL level, adding experience and depth to that team and who knows what might come out of that for them and the club, given the chance to refresh at the lower level.
 

Lomas

Team Captain
Nov 4, 2020
307
952
AFL Club
North Melbourne
With Ed's delisting today, on top of the initial 11 de-listings, as well as Will Walker's move to the Rookie List, I got to thinking about how list sizes are so much lower than they used to be back in the 1980's and earlier. Back then clubs used to have around 55 players on the list, so as to provide enough players to fill their Senior and Reserves teams.

Some clubs used those higher numbers, very effectively to both blood players and achieve great success. No greater example than Hawthorn in the 1980's. Unfortunately though it also allowed clubs to hold onto and stockpile players for longer than was necessarily good for the competition, so the AFL cut list sizes, as well as the Reserves Competition began to fall apart, in part due to financial considerations. In more recent years we have seen the re-introduction of the VFL competition as a de-facto Reserves competition, however with a separate VFL list of players, with teams made up from each clubs senior list, when those players are not selected in the AFL team.

The problem with the senior list being cut to now a minimum of 37 and a maximum of 44 (I think), is there is nowhere near the same ability for clubs to hold on to players, who for one reason or another, may not be playing to their potential. Clubs have to do the annual cull as they cannot afford to keep them on, as they need to recruit new/younger players. As a consequence, these delisted boys are largely lost to their current club.

Yet many of these boys, depending on their length of service, may well be as invested in the club as others who are retained. While their performances aren't at the level required they might still be great people to keep involved rather than lost. These delisted players, if given another chance in their existing clubs VFL team, might still fulfil the potential that the club saw in them when they were first recruited and ultimately get another shot at the highest level.

My thought is that the AFL should introduce/re-introduce a Supplementary List, for each club, where clubs might retain de-listed players, on VFL salaries and as VFL players only, but essentially in the same system they have been in while on an AFL List.

There would have to be a fair bit of flexibility as to how the system would work. As an example, lets take Mason Wood, who I think could still make it as an AFL player. We heard yesterday he expected to play as a defender this year, yet was sent forward for the entire season. To me he looked like a player whose confidence was shot and in the circumstances all players had to face in this extraordinary year, he did not really perform at the level I think he is capable of. Who knows what he might have achieved if he had been used as a defender at senior level this year? Who knows what he might achieve if he gets another chance as a defender at VFL level?

I suggest that for players like him, at their exit interview when they are delivered the news that they will not be re-contracted, they are presented with a range of options.

It would be their choice as to which path they take. Those options might be (a) simply accept the delisting, take their chances and make themselves available to be redrafted or picked up as DFA, or (b) simply retire or (c) elect to go on to the Supplementary List and become a VFL player at the same club. If they chose to retire or go on to the Supplementary List and subsequently another club wanted to draft them, then they would be free to join that other club, however not many players get a second chance nowadays.

The one difference I would offer to a Supplementary List player, as distinct from VFL Listed players, would be in the event of a mid-season draft, if their fortunes have turned around in the VFL competition and their club wants to re-list them back onto the Senior List, then providing there is a vacancy through something like a player on the Long term Injury List, they can get a second chance at senior level.

Doubtless people will see lots of holes in my theory and it is pure speculation on my behalf. But what I think might be valuable about this proposal, is clubs might retain some fringe players within their overall system, players probably a little above VFL level but for one reason or another, not quite "cutting the mustard". Players like Mason, Ed, Paul Ahern, Jasper Pittard, in my opinion, would be terrific at VFL level, adding experience and depth to that team and who knows what might come out of that for them and the club, given the chance to refresh at the lower level.
Unfortunately, I see the players association being the biggest impediment to this. Once a club has priority access to a player in the VFL based on their previous affiliation, the players association would insist on additional benefits to offset the current (based on the last mid season draft) loss of a pathway to any team happy to recruit them. Teams could also 'park' players in the VFL to see if they develop, knowing that they still had first dibs if they kicked on.
 

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Horace

Premium Gold
Dec 2, 2001
10,382
18,413
Mitcham
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Fitzroy
Unfortunately, I see the players association being the biggest impediment to this. Once a club has priority access to a player in the VFL based on their previous affiliation, the players association would insist on additional benefits to offset the current (based on the last mid season draft) loss of a pathway to any team happy to recruit them. Teams could also 'park' players in the VFL to see if they develop, knowing that they still had first dibs if they kicked on.
It would only work if the de-listed player was at any time able to be drafted by another club, should their form warrant. For instance, lets say someone like Majak went on to our "Supplementary" List, regained his 2018 form and another club wanted to draft him in the any draft to fill a need in their ranks, then he would be free to go. We would not be able to stop him going, unless of course we agreed to re-list him at the same time.
 

Lomas

Team Captain
Nov 4, 2020
307
952
AFL Club
North Melbourne
It would only work if the de-listed player was at any time able to be drafted by another club, should their form warrant. For instance, lets say someone like Majak went on to our "Supplementary" List, regained his 2018 form and another club wanted to draft him in the any draft to fill a need in their ranks, then he would be free to go. We would not be able to stop him going, unless of course we agreed to re-list him at the same time.
I think the potential costs of ensuring priority access, demanded by the PA, would offset the benefit unfortunately.
 

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