Demons coach backs AFL draft lottery

Paul Roos is all for a draft lottery system but the Melbourne coach is unsure if even that radical move would completely wipe out the stigma of tanking in the AFL.

Tanking has again come to the fore as competition cellar dwellers Fremantle and Essendon prepare to face off this weekend, with the loser one step closer to claiming the prized No.1 pick at this year’s draft.

A draft lottery system whereby the first four picks at the draft are randomly awarded to the bottom four teams at the end of the season has been proposed in the past but was raised again this week by Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert.

Roos is a big fan of the idea but says even a lottery will leave room for cynics to doubt the motives of underachieving clubs.

“I’ve been a massive supporter of it for probably the last 10 years ever since the tanking, or whatever people want to talk about (started),” Roos said.

“It’s already started again this week so I think (a lottery) is a clear solution.

“I suppose the debate then is do you tank from being the fifth-worst team to be the fourth-worst? Do you try and go down the ladder to get into the lottery?

“That’s the next phase of it but I think having that system certainly clears up a lot of the intrigue around the end of the season and what teams are going to do because you’re just not guaranteed to get the No.1 draft pick.”

Roos believes the tanking issue is a matter of perspective.

Clubs have a duty to prepare as well as they possibly can for the next season once they are out of finals contention but actions like playing youngsters and putting players in for operations inevitably leads to tanking questions being raised from outside the club.

“When you’re out of finals contention and there’s four or five rounds to go you’re often thinking about the next year,” he said.

“You’re not thinking about the draft or getting a draft pick, you’re thinking about getting players in for an operation so they can start training in November, so that’s very different (from tanking).”

Melbourne were investigated by the AFL after they finished last in 2009 and were awarded a priority pick for winning fewer than five games but the league found no evidence of systemic tanking.

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