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AFL boss pushes mid-year trade period

Football

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan has made another bold push for a mid-year trade period, declaring it would help to create a more equal competition.

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McLachlan is confident the long-discussed concept will be introduced in coming years despite having little support from clubs.

He said the league was keen to facilitate greater player movement to help struggling teams rebuild more quickly.

“It’s one of the only times where you have the weaker clubs – ie. the club lower down the ladder – having more leverage in the trade,” McLachlan told an AFL website podcast.

“It’s four, five or six years for a club to get in the position to be competing deep into the finals.

“And you might get the wrong couple of injuries, and you’ve got everything right and you’re travelling well (but) you need a player.”

McLachlan cited Port Adelaide in 2016 as an example of a club who could have strongly benefited from mid-year trading.

With Paddy Ryder banned for the season and Matthew Lobbe out with a knee injury, the Power were forced to play pinch-hitter Jackson Trengove as their full-time ruckman.

Their midfield suffered and Port went on to finish 10th.

McLachlan said Port could have engaged with a club such as St Kilda who at the time had a surplus of big men, stressing that the Saints would have had the leverage and were under no obligation to make a deal.

“The reason some people don’t like it is there’s an emotive side to the trade, but there’s no difference to the end of the year,” he said.

“No one likes change generally. Our clubs like it as little as anyone. I think we’ll get there on that.”

McLachlan signalled that live trading of prospective draftees on the night of the draft was also on the agenda.

Just 28 players changed clubs during the recent trade and free-agency window and McLachlan said the sky would not fall in if mid-year trading was introduced.

“Players are incredibly loyal. We get to the end of the trade period and people are bemoaning the lack of trades and player movement,” he said.

“If anything, I think there needs to be more player movement.”

– AAP

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