Senior AFL players have rallied around dumped Carlton forward Lachie Henderson, saying the league can be mature enough to handle in-season moves.
Henderson was told he wouldn’t be figuring in the Blues’ final three matches of the season after he giving his intention to the club to seek a trade.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan slammed the move.
“I really don’t like him saying he wants to go somewhere else with three rounds to go,” McLachlan told 3AW.
“Its unnecessary, its undisciplined and I’ve got no idea why people feel the need to do it.”
But Henderson’s former teammate Jarrad Waite, who found himself in a similar situation 12 months ago, and Hawthorn premiership midfielder Sam Mitchell backed the forward’s response.
Waite left Carlton after 12 years with the Blues to join North Melbourne, but only made public his decision after their season ended.
The 32-year-old said Henderson was only responding to a question from the club.
“I commend the way he’s gone about it because he had the guts to say I don’t want to be here next season,” he told AAP.
“He had a lot of pressure from the club asking if he was going to sign or not.
“If clubs are going to put pressure on, they have to understand they might get an answer they don’t want.
“I feel he’s done the right thing by the club by telling them early, it gives both the player and the club a way forward.”
The Blues’ decision to shelve Henderson raised the ire of Mitchell and St Kilda coach Alan Richardson.
Mitchell lived through one of the AFL’s biggest player moves when Lance Franklin swapped Hawthorn for Sydney after the club’s 2013 grand final win.
The Hawks veteran suggested Carlton should not have stood down Henderson if he was willing to play.
“I would say ‘are you committed to what we’re trying to do?’,” he told the Sunday Footy Show.
“The two most selfless games (Franklin) ever played for Hawthorn was his last two games, a prelim and a grand final and we wouldn’t have won it without him.
“We do need to get a bit more grown up about (in-season moves).”
Richardson said it didn’t make much sense to him.
“If you are the footy club putting pressure on for that answer and that person is honest and gives you the answer, I think you’ve got to look after your people.”