Resource FAQs: Rules, Regulations and Resources for Player Movements in the AFL

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Lore

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This thread will contain information about all the rules of drafting, trading and free agency that are relevant to the AFL.

We will also link to relevant resources both on bigfooty and around the web for your convenience.

Index

Club List Management

Salary Cap & Salaries
Trading Picks and Players
Drafts
Father-son and Academy players
Free Agency

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footyfan1978

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I would suggest it’s probably out of date. Several clubs on 34 or 35 are under and a couple more on 39. I’m quite sure they don’t all have concessions.

Everything always is out of date at this time of year, it’s too much for any 3rd party website to keep track of as list changes aren’t always publicly reported and there’s 800-odd players you would have to be dead accurate about.

The only organisation that would know the details of all clubs is AFL HQ, and they’re not talking.
Yep, good summary of how hard it is for fans outside AFL HQ to be certain on it all. Certainly for Gold Coast I cannot find anything solid on if they have any limit to rookie list for this new season beyond what they were listed in assistance package so doubt they limited to 44 overall.

A lot of clubs passed on picks in various drafts so those under 44 probably that way on purpose as want to leave spots in SPP and next year mid-season rookie draft.
 

Lore

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Yep, good summary of how hard it is for fans outside AFL HQ to be certain on it all. Certainly for Gold Coast I cannot find anything solid on if they have any limit to rookie list for this new season beyond what they were listed in assistance package so doubt they limited to 44 overall.

A lot of clubs passed on picks in various drafts so those under 44 probably that way on purpose as want to leave spots in SPP and next year mid-season rookie draft.
Or there are delistings, re-listings and rookie upgrades that haven’t been taken into account.

Essendon isn’t on 34+7+2, of that I’m absolutely certain. We have 36 seniors + 3 Cat A + 2 Cat B. So it’s way off.

And I’m about 95% sure Gold Coast has the same list sizes as everyone else now. I don’t have a link so you can think what you like, but yeah.

I’d say those numbers are completely up to s**t.

Miguel Sanchez has a thread in the draft hub about how many live picks each club has before the draft, so if you do a quick bit of maths based on that and who they eventually drafted you’d be closer.
 

footyfan1978

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Or there are delistings, re-listings and rookie upgrades that haven’t been taken into account.

Essendon isn’t on 34+7+2, of that I’m absolutely certain. We have 36 seniors + 3 Cat A + 2 Cat B. So it’s way off.
They seem to have the players drafted all listed.
I might do a spreadsheet myself in next couple of days and see whether their numbers match.
 

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andana

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With the SSP coming up I was wondering if there is any compensation for state teams eg WAFL clubs to get anything.
 

Lore

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With the SSO coming up I was wondering if there is any compensation for state teams eg WAFL clubs to get anything.
SSP? No.

I think there will be some sort of agreement in place for top-ups from the state leagues if clubs are playing with half their list down with covid though.
 

andana

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East Fremantle look like losing two KPF/rucks. Difficult to replace.

yes, should be SSP.
thanks
 

RussellEbertHandball

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I have been trying to find out what the adjusted salary cap is for 2022. It was supposed to be negotiated in the off season but I can't find anything confirming what it is. Does anyone have any confirmed info.

I've searched far and wide on big footy and elsewhere but nothing comes up. Has the original 2022 salary cap and ASA cap just been automatically applied??

This article on October 17 says


SALARY CAP

The exact size of next year’s salary cap remains unknown. Clubs were permitted to spend $13.19m on players this season but negotiations over the 2022 cap are ongoing. Players have taken hefty pay cuts across the two-year Covid crisis. Under the collective bargaining agreement struck prior to Covid, the salary cap was supposed to hit $14.77m in 2022.
 

doggiesin08

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Are clubs and players allowed (by mutual consent) to renegotiate contracts to reduce the number of years remaining?

For example, could West Coast and Tom Barrass renegotiate his existing 5 year contract to instead expire on 31 October 2022? Given his years of service he would then qualify as a free agent and they would get an enticing compensation pick if he moved elsewhere (likely to be a top 3-4 pick given the salary he could reasonably command)? The Free Agents rule appears to be pretty simple and by the letter would be satisfied:

1.1 Free Agents
(a) Unless a Player is a Restricted Free Agent, a Player who:
(i) is party to a Contract of Service with a Club that expires on or prior to 31 October in a particular year (relevant year); and
(ii) prior to or upon the expiration of the Contract of Service referred to in Rule 1.1(a)(i), has been on that Club’s Primary and/or Rookie List for eight or more consecutive AFL Seasons,
(b) will be a Free Agent in the relevant year.


I'm sure the AFL would hate the optics and crack down on it (either in real time or for following seasons) but is it technically available?
 

Ticky009

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Category B Rookie Exemptions:

Exemptions to re-list Category-B players due to exceptional circumstances.

 
Oct 3, 2022
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Great resource, however have gone through this thread and I don't think the below is clarified, apologies if it is:
- A team who loses a player to free agency gets their compensation pick almost immediately, as noted by Port Adelaide getting their compo pick within hours for Karl Amon
- They would then able to use that pick in a transaction once the trade window opens, so hypothetically if it was to be part of the JFH trade it could be
- However, at the same time, Brisbane are 'encouraged' to trade for UFA Jack Gunston instead of using Free Agency because doing so will prevent their Dan McStay compensation pick being diluted or even eroded when he signs with the Pies

Therefore, what's the mechanism in place to prevent the following happening: Brisbane encourage Collingwood to sign McStay first, prompting the AFL to give them a compo pick. Brisbane receive it, and then use it in hypothetically a trade for Josh Dunkley, so the pick is now with the Bulldogs. Once that's done, then Brisbane sign Jack Gunston as a free agent, they didn't need to trade for him in the end and were able to extract maximum value for McStay's compensation.

Hope that makes sense? Again apologies if the mechanism/answer is articulated in the thread, I did go through it!
 

Lore

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Great resource, however have gone through this thread and I don't think the below is clarified, apologies if it is:
- A team who loses a player to free agency gets their compensation pick almost immediately, as noted by Port Adelaide getting their compo pick within hours for Karl Amon
- They would then able to use that pick in a transaction once the trade window opens, so hypothetically if it was to be part of the JFH trade it could be
- However, at the same time, Brisbane are 'encouraged' to trade for UFA Jack Gunston instead of using Free Agency because doing so will prevent their Dan McStay compensation pick being diluted or even eroded when he signs with the Pies
All true
Therefore, what's the mechanism in place to prevent the following happening: Brisbane encourage Collingwood to sign McStay first, prompting the AFL to give them a compo pick. Brisbane receive it, and then use it in hypothetically a trade for Josh Dunkley, so the pick is now with the Bulldogs. Once that's done, then Brisbane sign Jack Gunston as a free agent, they didn't need to trade for him in the end and were able to extract maximum value for McStay's compensation.

Hope that makes sense? Again apologies if the mechanism/answer is articulated in the thread, I did go through it!
A compensation pick can be given and then removed or altered if another FA comes in to offset it.

If they traded it out before receiving the second free agent I don't know how the AFL would go about taking it back, presumably they'd just make it up as they go along, like they do for everything else. Perhaps a points penalty in the draft off their pick in the same round.

Doing something like that would make the AFL Very Angry though, so it's not advisable even if it's technically possible. The club will not trade it until they know it's theirs to trade. Same as when Adelaide were expecting draft sanctions over the Tippett saga they kept their pick so that they could lose it without screwing up other things in unexpected ways.
 
Oct 3, 2022
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All true

A compensation pick can be given and then removed or altered if another FA comes in to offset it.

If they traded it out before receiving the second free agent I don't know how the AFL would go about taking it back, presumably they'd just make it up as they go along, like they do for everything else. Perhaps a points penalty in the draft off their pick in the same round.

Doing something like that would make the AFL Very Angry though, so it's not advisable even if it's technically possible. The club will not trade it until they know it's theirs to trade. Same as when Adelaide were expecting draft sanctions over the Tippett saga they kept their pick so that they could lose it without screwing up other things in unexpected ways.
Thanks for this. So in essence its all plausible and for a scenario such as Brisbane doing this, in real life either the AFL would hold off on given the McStay compo knowing Brisbane is circling Gunston and its common sense to wait (compared to the AFL given Port their Amon pick 3-4 hours later). Or if this did eventuate the AFL would conjure up something to "correct" it on the fly. The Dogs keep the pick they got in good faith but Brisbane would be penalised somehow to "even things out". Seems a weird loophole that whilst as you say not advisable, it'd be a more ruthless, effective way of running things for Brisbane especially as they have the draft pressures with Ashcroft and Fletcher. Thanks again,
 

Lore

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Thanks for this. So in essence its all plausible and for a scenario such as Brisbane doing this, in real life either the AFL would hold off on given the McStay compo knowing Brisbane is circling Gunston and its common sense to wait (compared to the AFL given Port their Amon pick 3-4 hours later). Or if this did eventuate the AFL would conjure up something to "correct" it on the fly. The Dogs keep the pick they got in good faith but Brisbane would be penalised somehow to "even things out". Seems a weird loophole that whilst as you say not advisable, it'd be a more ruthless, effective way of running things for Brisbane especially as they have the draft pressures with Ashcroft and Fletcher. Thanks again,
I think when it happened last year the compensation announcement was almost immediate but was possibly worded as 'provisional' or something along that line.
 

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Changes to salary dumps

Lore

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The AFL ticks off every trade to ensure fairness is provided for clubs and has previously denied deals that they have viewed as too one-sided.

However clubs are anticipating the League will be more open to approving deals that allow clubs to complete lopsided trades in which the team that receives a player (and takes on his contract) also gains a strong draft selection or selections.

The AFL is expected to be willing to allow more significant salary dumps so that clubs can clear their own tight caps whilst seeing other clubs use their spare cash and get rewarded for taking on a player's money and adding draft selections.
 

RussellEbertHandball

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Lore do you know if the AFL have confirmed or changed the list size for 2023? I've done a few searches and can't find anything. I know the 2023-24 CBA hasn't been completed yet.

After Covid cuts they announced this would be the list size flexiblity in 2021;


The maximum list size for next year have been reduced from 47 to 44 which includes the ability to list up to two Category B rookies.

The minimum list size for each club will be 37, which can be made up by as little as 36 senior listed players and one rookie.

To reach 44, clubs can carry 36-38 senior listed players, four-to-six Category A rookies and two Category B rookies.
.................

They kept this in place for 2022, announcing in August 2021 that the only change was rookies could stay an extra year on the list and when can move players from main list to rookie list.


CLUBS are set to retain the same list sizes for 2022 while rookies in their third season will be allowed to spend a fourth 'replacement year' on the list after the AFL passed a rule change ahead of the off-season.

Under AFL rules players had not been allowed to spend more than three straight years on the rookie list. However, clubs had been lobbying the League to give extra time to rookies who had been disrupted in their development by the past two AFL seasons by COVID-19.

It saw the AFL confirm to clubs on Wednesday that any player in their third season as a Category A or B rookie will be eligible to spend another season as a rookie in 2022 as a 'replacement' year.

The players will not be required to be delisted and go through the draft process to be re-selected, with the move giving extra time to players brought from international regions or other sports who have had less time to develop at lower levels due to the impact of the pandemic.

But the rule that allowed clubs to move primary-listed players to the rookie list between the first and second list lodgment periods to open up senior spots will not be permitted this off-season.

In a memo to clubs, the AFL said that there is "no forecast changes to list sizes for 2022" and that the one-off rule was brought in last season due to the changes that came late in the piece with list sizes and structures. They will, however, be able to shift players on the senior list to the rookie list in the time between the national and rookie drafts if the player is contracted for 2022. ................................
 

Lore

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Lore do you know if the AFL have confirmed or changed the list size for 2023? I've done a few searches and can't find anything. I know the 2023-24 CBA hasn't been completed yet.

After Covid cuts they announced this would be the list size flexiblity in 2021;


The maximum list size for next year have been reduced from 47 to 44 which includes the ability to list up to two Category B rookies.

The minimum list size for each club will be 37, which can be made up by as little as 36 senior listed players and one rookie.

To reach 44, clubs can carry 36-38 senior listed players, four-to-six Category A rookies and two Category B rookies.
.................

They kept this in place for 2022, announcing in August 2021 that the only change was rookies could stay an extra year on the list and when can move players from main list to rookie list.


CLUBS are set to retain the same list sizes for 2022 while rookies in their third season will be allowed to spend a fourth 'replacement year' on the list after the AFL passed a rule change ahead of the off-season.

Under AFL rules players had not been allowed to spend more than three straight years on the rookie list. However, clubs had been lobbying the League to give extra time to rookies who had been disrupted in their development by the past two AFL seasons by COVID-19.

It saw the AFL confirm to clubs on Wednesday that any player in their third season as a Category A or B rookie will be eligible to spend another season as a rookie in 2022 as a 'replacement' year.

The players will not be required to be delisted and go through the draft process to be re-selected, with the move giving extra time to players brought from international regions or other sports who have had less time to develop at lower levels due to the impact of the pandemic.

But the rule that allowed clubs to move primary-listed players to the rookie list between the first and second list lodgment periods to open up senior spots will not be permitted this off-season.

In a memo to clubs, the AFL said that there is "no forecast changes to list sizes for 2022" and that the one-off rule was brought in last season due to the changes that came late in the piece with list sizes and structures. They will, however, be able to shift players on the senior list to the rookie list in the time between the national and rookie drafts if the player is contracted for 2022. ................................
2023 lists will be the same size as they were in 2022 on current information.

If McLachlan manages to get the CBA done before he finishes up then it may change before the actual draft, but it’s already cutting it quite fine at this stage with list lodgement dates fast approaching.
 

Bletch

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Hi Lore - do you know what the rule is that governs how many selections a club can take in the National Draft? I thought it was limited by the number of places you have available on your primary list - e.g. if you have 32 players on your primary list coming into the ND, you can take 6 selections into the draft (38-32). But I also seem to recall the AFL lifting this requirement at some time over the past few years. I just can't find where that is in the current AFL rules.

It will be interesting for Brisbane this year in particular, with 7 picks making up their points value for matching bids on Ashcroft and Fletcher. But they might have trouble clearing places on their list to allow for those 7 picks to be used, right?
 

Lore

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Hi Lore - do you know what the rule is that governs how many selections a club can take in the National Draft? I thought it was limited by the number of places you have available on your primary list - e.g. if you have 32 players on your primary list coming into the ND, you can take 6 selections into the draft (38-32). But I also seem to recall the AFL lifting this requirement at some time over the past few years. I just can't find where that is in the current AFL rules.

It will be interesting for Brisbane this year in particular, with 7 picks making up their points value for matching bids on Ashcroft and Fletcher. But they might have trouble clearing places on their list to allow for those 7 picks to be used, right?
It should be the exact number of available spots on your list.

It was changed temporarily at the end of 2020 for the draft because of the unexpected list size reductions (clubs had already acquired enough future picks to match spots on a list of 38-40, but it then became a list of 36-37 for 2021 and they would have lost access to the picks they'd traded for), so they were able to match bids with picks as though the list had 40 spots. The additional flexibility was supposed to be a one-off though.

Last year when they cleaned up the draft order to remove inactive picks at the end of pick-only trades (three days before the actual draft), a couple of clubs only had 3 picks because that's how many spots they had available – 3 being the minimum number of picks that you have to take to the draft.


One way of freeing up additional list spots is to delist a player that you then re draft as a rookie, which is quite common. You run the risk of another club picking them up but mostly they don't get in each others' way.
 
Trading future picks and the requirement to use four 1st round picks in a rolling four-year cycle

Lore

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Trading future picks and the requirement to use four 1st round picks in a rolling four-year cycle

RULE PROVISION COULD UNLOCK TRADE DEALS​

CLUBS are looking to see if there are provisions within rules that could allow them to trade out their future first and second-round picks to unlock deals.

Under the AFL's rules, clubs can trade out a future first-round draft selection but if they do that, must retain the rest of their future selections for that draft. If they trade out a second, third or fourth-round future pick, they must hold their first-rounder for that year.

The League put in the proviso as a risk management move so that clubs can't trade away their full hand of selections.

However it is understood clubs are checking with the League to see if there are any means to permit extra picks being traded if it is for players who are fresh to the AFL system and close to draft age.

Exemptions are allowed in the AFL's rule for clubs using at least two first-round picks in a rolling four-year period if a recruiting target is of a certain age and experience as determined by the AFL.

For instance, West Coast is currently blocked from trading its No.2 pick under AFL rules because it has used only one first-round pick in the past four years, but the League would tick it off if the Eagles were trading it for Melbourne young star Luke Jackson.

If any provisions were permitted for more future selections being traded, it could help deliver trade outcomes for a number of clubs searching for extra draft chips to use in deals.

It could allow the Cats to use a future first-round selection to make a play for Collingwood's Ollie Henry if their traded-in pick No.25 from Brisbane isn't accepted. Under current rules Geelong wouldn't be able to use that pick as it sent a future second-round pick to Brisbane in Friday's pick swap and is also likely to send a future pick to Gold Coast in the Jack Bowes deal.

Port Adelaide has offered pick No.8 in this year's draft as well as a future first-round selection as the centrepiece to a three-way floated trade with West Coast and North Melbourne for Jason Horne-Francis and Junior Rioli.

Under the rules it would not currently be able to add any other future selections to the trade pie, with the Power also interested in Cats big man Esava Ratugolea. – Callum Twomey
 

Bletch

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It should be the exact number of available spots on your list.

It was changed temporarily at the end of 2020 for the draft because of the unexpected list size reductions (clubs had already acquired enough future picks to match spots on a list of 38-40, but it then became a list of 36-37 for 2021 and they would have lost access to the picks they'd traded for), so they were able to match bids with picks as though the list had 40 spots. The additional flexibility was supposed to be a one-off though.

Last year when they cleaned up the draft order to remove inactive picks at the end of pick-only trades (three days before the actual draft), a couple of clubs only had 3 picks because that's how many spots they had available – 3 being the minimum number of picks that you have to take to the draft.


One way of freeing up additional list spots is to delist a player that you then re draft as a rookie, which is quite common. You run the risk of another club picking them up but mostly they don't get in each others' way.
Thanks!
 

Lore

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Contracts for father-sons can be extended early, apparently.

A key point to note is that players drafted under the father-son rule have the option to immediately extend their two-year contract, which is the tenure length every draftee agrees to. Likely No. 1 pick Will Ashcroft, for example, signed a four-year deal with the Brisbane Lions when he officially nominated them in early August.
 

Giant Strides

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Hey Lore, what's your understanding of the number of picks able to be held by a club once draft night starts? We know that at the start of the draft, picks held must equal available list spots, but once 7pm rolls around, does that remain the case, or can trades occur that put a club above that number?

Specifically, I'm referring to Brisbane this year. Can they, at 7pm, trade each of their 30s picks for multiple 40s/50s picks to garner extra points? But in doing so, that puts them above their number of list spots - is that an issue once the draft has commenced?

Thanks in advance.
 

Lore

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draft night tradesHey Lore, what's your understanding of the number of picks able to be held by a club once draft night starts? We know that at the start of the draft, picks held must equal available list spots, but once 7pm rolls around, does that remain the case, or can trades occur that put a club above that number?

Specifically, I'm referring to Brisbane this year. Can they, at 7pm, trade each of their 30s picks for multiple 40s/50s picks to garner extra points? But in doing so, that puts them above their number of list spots - is that an issue once the draft has commenced?

Thanks in advance.
The number of active picks that can actually be used to trade/match is restricted to the open list spots, so if you trade in more 2022 picks than you trade out, then the later picks that you had originally should be deactivated, I think…

I don’t have time just now to figure it all out but you can test it if you look at last years’ draft night trades there’s a couple of examples, and there’s a day 2 order that the AFL published (same thread couple of posts earlier) that should have evidence of extra picks if they are still there after day 1 live trades.
 

Giant Strides

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The number of active picks that can actually be used to trade/match is restricted to the open list spots, so if you trade in more 2022 picks than you trade out, then the later picks that you had originally should be deactivated, I think…

I don’t have time just now to figure it all out but you can test it if you look at last years’ draft night trades there’s a couple of examples, and there’s a day 2 order that the AFL published (same thread couple of posts earlier) that should have evidence of extra picks if they are still there after day 1 live trades.
Cheers, thanks for the reply Lore. No need to do any work on my behalf, I wasn't aiming to task you to do any figuring out, just given your close attention over the last few years of drafts trying to tap into your understanding. (It would help us if AFL House provided some clear guidance, but I get the feeling that they like keeping it a bit cloak & dagger!).

In this year's case for Lions, the extra positions might exist for as little as 5 minutes. If they trade at 7pm and Ashcroft gets bid at #1 at 7.05pm, they'd be gone immediately in the matching process. I'll be glued to the screen to see what transpires!