The prospect of a mid-season trading period is back on the agenda, but AFL coaches have differing views on whether it would help struggling clubs.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says it’s a necessity, North Melbourne coach Brad Scott is keen to see unloved players get a gig but his twin Chris thinks it’s a cop-out.
The Tigers boss sees a mid-season draft as giving clubs a helping hand where injury or misfortune can otherwise derail a season.
“We’re very open to it and think it’s something that the game needs,” he said.
“(Trade period) should just start when it normally starts in October and have a cut-off point at the 30th of May.
“I think the game is at the stage where it has to grow.
“Equalisation off field is important but equalisation on field is equally important.”
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has previously pledged his support, but with a focus on drafting non-AFL players.
But both Scotts have concerns.
The Kangaroos coach suggested a mid-season trade period could create an open season on the best players at clubs not in finals contention, widening the gulf between AFL powerhouses and the rest.
“It would probably frustrate the second tier of the competition enormously because other clubs at a lower level would be losing players,” he said.
“But I’m all for player movement, particularly players who are not getting an opportunity at the club.
“If they can get an opportunity at a different club at level, then that’s good for them.”
Geelong coach Crhis Scott says a mid-season draft would take away from the hugely important list management systems.
At Simonds Stadium, Geelong have the best recruiting manager in the AFL in Stephen Wells.
The premiership coach said he’d prefer to let Wells do his work.
“I think I can confidently say our broad club policy is that trading in-season is not something we support,” he said.
“We think that list management is more of an art and you need to plan for issues with key players or injuries throughout the season.
“To have a safety net there takes away a little bit from the art of list management.”
Hardwick might not have counted on the Scott brothers’ opposition, suggesting coaches were close to the line on a system for next season.
“There’s probably been enough support now that it’s over to the AFL,” he said.
The mid-season draft or trading period was a hot topic of league chief Gillon McLachlan’s much-publicised home dinner with AFL coaches last year.
In August, McLachlan said support for a mid-season trade period did exist among coaches and it was possible to see its implementation in 2016.