Free Agency is a disaster for the competition and needs a huge rethink

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iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
13,479
14,795
Brisbane
AFL Club
Geelong
Other Teams
Pompey
I might as well write this now as (Restricted) Free Agency is about to deliver us a second superstar in five years - so it doesn't look like whinging. I love what FA has brought for my club, but I absolutely hate what it's done for the competition.

One of the great things about footy in the 2000s was that it felt like it could be anyone's turn. Fitzroy/Brisbane, Geelong and Sydney all broke droughts; StKilda almost broke theirs.

Now, with the advent of FA, the best players only want to move to the best clubs (surprise, surprise) - and so that means that clubs like Geelong, Sydney, Richmond and Hawthorn all get to turn flags into eras, while spending the decade away from the cliff face that hit Brisbane and Essendon in the 2000s. It's crazy that a side can win a flag or come runner-up and immediately add a "big fish" like Frawley, Lynch, Cameron, Buddy, Crouch et al. In last year's prelim, Tom Lynch kicked five goals of Richmond's twelve, in a three-goal win. No Tom Lynch, no 2019 flag.

As much as I have loved Geelong's run for 14 years now, IMO it really hurts the competition as a whole. Free Agency has just turned into a talent siphon from bad clubs to good, and made it that much more predictable.
 

Matera92

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 9, 2009
15,400
26,143
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Bulls, East Freo, Las Vegas Bears
I might as well write this now as (Restricted) Free Agency is about to deliver us a second superstar in five years - so it doesn't look like whinging. I love what FA has brought for my club, but I absolutely hate what it's done for the competition.

One of the great things about footy in the 2000s was that it felt like it could be anyone's turn. Fitzroy/Brisbane, Geelong and Sydney all broke droughts; StKilda almost broke theirs.

Now, with the advent of FA, the best players only want to move to the best clubs (surprise, surprise) - and so that means that clubs like Geelong, Sydney, Richmond and Hawthorn all get to turn flags into eras, while spending the decade away from the cliff face that hit Brisbane and Essendon in the 2000s. It's crazy that a side can win a flag or come runner-up and immediately add a "big fish" like Frawley, Lynch, Cameron, Buddy, Crouch et al. In last year's prelim, Tom Lynch kicked five goals of Richmond's twelve, in a three-goal win. No Tom Lynch, no 2019 flag.

As much as I have loved Geelong's run for 14 years now, IMO it really hurts the competition as a whole. Free Agency has just turned into a talent siphon from bad clubs to good, and made it that much more predictable.
This was always the intended result the AFL had in mind.

Naive to think otherwise.
 

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Red Black and Blue

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 1, 2006
21,247
12,743
Melbourne
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Everton, Storm, Victory
It's not as broken as the draft. Best talent in the land going to a finalist, another top ten talent to a preliminary finalist and the fourth top ten talent reserved for the Swans in 5 years. Plus a mechanism exists allowing them to trade ahead of bids and get an additional elite talent for cents on the dollar. If Free agency exists the draft has to be unadulterated to actually make rebuilding possible.
 

vicpride

Club Legend
May 11, 2014
1,539
1,465
Restraint of trade would come up without the free agency that's been implemented. North signed Higgins, Dal Santo, Waite. Brisbane about to grab Daniher. Carlton just recruited Williams, Essendon Shiel. Not exactly Dynasties of success here. You build the core the landscape changes rapidly. It's 2020 free agency isn't leaving us.

Sent from my SM-J810Y using Tapatalk
 

Freomaniac

Brownlow Medallist
May 3, 2007
21,663
10,917
Parts Unknown
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Man City, Valencia, Lazio, Panthers
It's not as broken as the draft. Best talent in the land going to a finalist, another top ten talent to a preliminary finalist and the fourth top ten talent reserved for the Swans in 5 years. Plus a mechanism exists allowing them to trade ahead of bids and get an additional elite talent for cents on the dollar. If Free agency exists the draft has to be unadulterated to actually make rebuilding possible.
Well thats Partially the clubs fault for trading their 1st rounders.

No one complained in Freo trading freos 1st rounders from 1994-2006.

Anyone trades their future 1st rounder and that ends up as pick 1, has themselves to blame.

I acutally Want free Agency to go from 8 years to 6 years or even possibly 5 years.
 

Buzzasto DaSilva

Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 6, 2011
5,367
9,814
Goonellebah
AFL Club
GWS
Other Teams
Islanders
Totally disagree. The onus is on us to prove to a player like Jeremy Cameron that we are the right club for him going forward, and we failed to do that. That's on us, nobody else.
 

doppleganger

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 4, 2005
16,990
8,602
Putney
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Collingwood
It was brought in to help players move, so it is working.

GWS and GC losing players, that was going to happen with or without free agency. Will take them a few cracks to build their culture, but as Brisbane is showing get it right and you can become a destination club.

The compensation also works as designed, if GWS was rubbish they would potentially get pick 1 for Cameron, if they were premiers about pick 20...compensation isn’t just about valuing the player, but also relative assistance needed by the clubs.

And clubs can force a trade if restricted

Point being that after what amount of time and service to a club can a player have more say in where they play? Think it is about right at the moment

Geelong in the envious position of being able to offer the non-Melbourne bubble, and people who grew up all along the surf coast which attracts plenty of talent from a lifestyle perspective.
 

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boncer34

Inaugural Steward
Jul 11, 2005
48,579
52,918
Baghdad
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Melbourne Storm
Richmond, Geelong and Brisbane all became top 4 sides without free agency. You can become a gun side through the draft still.

Remember when Sydney got Franklin and were going to stay a super team forever?

Free agency may extend your run at the top but it doesn't keep you up forever.

Unless your Geelong. :p
 

Supercoach Bargain

Premiership Player
Jul 30, 2012
4,654
6,090
Just behind you...
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Westbury
Free agency is a compromise. It would take 1 player to challenge the draft in court, restraint of trade, and they would win. Terry Hill did this in the rugby and that is why they don't have a draft/free agency etc. So the law is there and the precedent is there. Free agency allows movement, but gives some return to clubs ie match and trade or compensation. Orherwise they'd get nothing and the big would get bigger.
 

Lsta062

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 15, 2014
14,214
28,478
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
Chelsea, LA Lakers, Western United
Free agency was not brought in for the betterment of the competition though. It was brought in so that the players have more freedom in moving clubs after a certain length of service with their club. It’s basically to counteract that they do not choose what club they get drafted to in my opinion.

I’m not in love with the system, but what can they change to this system while still maintaining the purpose that it was brought in for? Unless the AFL stop caring about freedom of movement, the free agency system will remain in my opinion.
 

Johnny Bananas

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 10, 2010
6,174
7,492
A sugar refinery
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
Free agency isn't a disaster in other sports though. We should ask why good players aren't tempted to sign megabucks deals with bad teams like they do in the NFL, or to a lesser extent the NRL. (Many of those teams end up with buyer's remorse pretty soon after, but that's another story). Is it because the money offered to them is fairly even between teams?
 

The Final Word

Club Legend
Jun 7, 2007
1,889
1,833
Melbourne
AFL Club
Geelong
Assuming the data in Wikipedia is accurate, there have been a grand total of 86 free agents in 8 years.

44 of those 86 were delisted. I don't think there's any logical argument to force a delisted player through a draft. So basically we're focusing on 42 players

Here is the list of Unrestricted Free Agents (definition: Players who are not in the top 25 per cent of salaries at their club (that is, in the club’s top nine-10 paid players) are eligible for unrestricted free agency if they have served at least eight years with the club.)

Chris Knights
Quinten Lynch
Shannon Byrnes
Tom Murphy
Jared Rivers
Clinton Young
Matthew White
Colin Sylvia
Xavier Ellis
Jarrad Waite
James Frawley
Nick Malceski
James Gwilt
Matt Suckling
Dawson Simpson
Daniel Wells
Chris Mayne
Reece Conca
Luke Dahlhaus
Alex Fasolo
Cam Ellis-Yolmen
Adam Tomlinson
Grant Birchall

Going out on a limb, I'm saying Frawley is the only really significant one in there. Waite, Suckling good but really, there's not much to get worried about in that list.

Now the Restricted Free Agents:
Danyle Pearce
Brendon Goddard
Troy Chaplin
Brent Moloney
Eddie Betts
Lance Franklin
Dale Thomas
Nick Dal Santo
Shaun Higgins
Scott Selwood
Matthew Leuenberger
Ty Vickery
Nathan Brown
Jackson Trengove
Tom Rockliff
Steven Motlop
Tom Lynch
Scott Lycett
Brandon Ellis

Other than Buddy and Tom Lynch, did any club really try to keep those players? Goddard says he didn't get a reasonable offer from St Kilda, West Coast were only annoyed with the compo for Selwood. 26 year old Betts got only a 2 year offer from Carlton and 4 from the Crows. Vickery and Motlop were basically sent express post to their new clubs once compo was basically assured.

So when we say disaster we're talking about the movement of Frawley, Buddy, Lynch and now Jeremey Cameron right? 4 guys in 9 years.
 

The Final Word

Club Legend
Jun 7, 2007
1,889
1,833
Melbourne
AFL Club
Geelong
Geelong in the envious position of being able to offer the non-Melbourne bubble, and people who grew up all along the surf coast which attracts plenty of talent from a lifestyle perspective.
From someone who remembers the 10 year effort to replace Gary Ablett Senior, it's pretty funny that Geelong is such an apparent destination club. We were basically on our hands and knees begging Jade Rawlings, Scott Lucas and Daniel Bradshaw to come to the club without any success.
 

STPer18

Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 12, 2017
7,224
19,891
AFL Club
Geelong
Rivers, Dahlhaus and Scott Selwood - that's our free agency haul since inception. It's just all a bit unfair.
 

The Final Word

Club Legend
Jun 7, 2007
1,889
1,833
Melbourne
AFL Club
Geelong
What happened to that veteran lists? Do they even exist anymore? Never get talked about anymore in trade or free agency talks. I liked the idea of honoring loyalty.
Salary cap discounts exist but were rightly reduced. The Cats in 2011 assembled a bloody good list of blokes on, from memory, 50% salary discount. There's now a fixed percentage which caps the amount you get relief for. AFL website isn't really clear on this. There's an article from 2019 but it looks to reference everything back to 2013.
 

amazingjoshy

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 29, 2005
6,050
8,205
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Nope, just because the Cats (amongst others) have shown that rebuilding is a complete and utter furphy and with good list management you can stay up and contest every year doesn't mean it's unfair.

The only thing that should change with FA is the compensation pick plucked out of thin air that punishes every other team in the league. Get rid of completely OR make the team gaining the player pay the points from their draft picks.
 

Pessimistic

Make me an Admin!
Sep 13, 2000
77,439
34,851
Melbourne cricket ground. Australia
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Horks
I might as well write this now as (Restricted) Free Agency is about to deliver us a second superstar in five years - so it doesn't look like whinging. I love what FA has brought for my club, but I absolutely hate what it's done for the competition.

One of the great things about footy in the 2000s was that it felt like it could be anyone's turn. Fitzroy/Brisbane, Geelong and Sydney all broke droughts; StKilda almost broke theirs.

Now, with the advent of FA, the best players only want to move to the best clubs (surprise, surprise) - and so that means that clubs like Geelong, Sydney, Richmond and Hawthorn all get to turn flags into eras, while spending the decade away from the cliff face that hit Brisbane and Essendon in the 2000s. It's crazy that a side can win a flag or come runner-up and immediately add a "big fish" like Frawley, Lynch, Cameron, Buddy, Crouch et al. In last year's prelim, Tom Lynch kicked five goals of Richmond's twelve, in a three-goal win. No Tom Lynch, no 2019 flag.

As much as I have loved Geelong's run for 14 years now, IMO it really hurts the competition as a whole. Free Agency has just turned into a talent siphon from bad clubs to good, and made it that much more predictable.
Geelong actually lost Ablett in something similar to free agency. cant halp wondering if getting Danger Ablett Cameron back isnt a silent hand giving back
 

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