Change to AFL draftee contracts mooted

The last time Brisbane lost a host of homesick players, Lions leaders gave them a social media send-off.

But Lions captain Tom Rockliff said the frustration over losing a youngster they had groomed would be eased somewhat if the AFL extended draftee contracts to three years.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan on Tuesday revealed the change would be discussed in a bid to help battling clubs retain young talent.

Rockliff championed the move on Tuesday after watching a string of players leave the Lions in his time, most notably five in late 2013 which effectively wiped out the 2010 and 2011 draft for the battling club.

At the time senior Lions players were less than forgiving, delivering parting shots to the youngsters on Twitter with the message #mummiesboysarehomenow.

But Rockliff said on Tuesday he could cop a player leaving after their three year draftee contract expired.

“If they want to shift clubs or go home after three years I think that is more than fair,” Rockliff said.

“We have found that when we struggle to win games and you have developed players for two years, to see them walk out the door makes it’s tough.

“It feels like you have to go through the whole process again.”

Under the current AFL Players Association CBA, all draftees placed on a club’s primary list sign a standard, base-pay two-year contact.

“I like the idea of going to a three year contract,” Rockliff said.

“You give them a chance to grow into their role in 12 months then the kid doesn’t feel pressure to play in that 12 months.

“They can learn the ropes and then they have two years to have a fair dinkum crack at it.

“While we are always competing to be that No.1 sport I think it important we get three years up here.”

On the Gold Coast to celebrate the code’s 150th year in Queensland, McLachlan said the move was “worth having a look at”.

“I haven’t thought whether it is good or bad but it will be discussed,” he said.

“It has been tabled by a number of clubs.

“We need consensus first before we take it forward.”

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