Earlier AFL trades to become norm

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says AFL players are increasingly arranging moves before the end of their season.

Speaking on the same day Carlton forward Lachie Henderson was stood down by the Blues after telling the club he wanted a trade, Hardwick said agreements reached during the season were becoming more common.

They just aren’t announced to the outside world.

“To be perfectly honest, it happens now anyway,” he said.

“That’s something that our game is starting to become accustomed to. It’s probably not common knowledge.

“The majority of trades are done leading up to the trade period and we sit around for two weeks twiddling our thumbs.”

One of those deals could be Henderson’s teammate Chris Yarran, who has been heavily linked with a cross-town move to Richmond.

Hardwick didn’t confirm or deny interest but did say he was keeping an eye out for trade week opportunities.

“We’re looking to improve our list in any way possible. Whether it’s Chris or other players, we’re looking at those avenues.

“But that’s something we’ll remain tight-lipped about.”

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said he hoped the AFL wouldn’t go down the same road as the NRL.

“They announce early in the year that players are moving on and I hope we never go that way,” he said.

“I’ve expressed that to the powers at the AFL.

“This is probably the first time (a player has announced his departure mid-season), isn’t it? It’s pretty unique circumstances.

“It’s a disappointing set of circumstances.”

Beveridge said he had no interest in Henderson given the Bulldogs’ emerging key position players.

The first-year senior coach said he was unsure whether he would make a wantaway Bulldog unavailable for selection as the Blues had with Henderson.

“It’d be really difficult for your teammates to look you in the eye … and ask themselves the question ‘is he with us or is he half gone?’,” he said.

Hardwick backed increased player movement as important in the AFL’s equalisation crusade.

“I think for the state of the game, for clubs down the bottom to attract talent, I think it’s good for the equalisation of the competition,” he said.

“It’s something that will become more and more prevalent, especially with trading of future draft picks.”

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