That won’t change either – unless the form of every second All Star player dramatically drops off between now and then – because the AFL review of the flawed NGA system and the percentage discount clubs receive when they pluck a player under those rules won’t result in any changes until 2021.
Add to that equation the fact Gold Coast can also sign their own academy graduates without having to put them through the draft as a result of generous concessions the AFL made to see the Suns rise, and the 2020 draft is diluted even further.
All that is relevant now, because it has dictated the decisions of many clubs since the end of the season in trading of picks and players. It could also help make sense of live trading of picks during the AFL’s draft extravaganza, which now stretches through free agency, trades, pick swaps, draft nights one and two, pre-season and rookie drafts, the pre-season supplemental selection period and mid-season drafts in a never-ending peddling of hope.
The Giants, Melbourne, Port Adelaide and West Coast traded out their first round pick for next year while Collingwood and Hawthorn were prepared to as well if there were any takers.
Take the Eagles out of the conversation, as the trade to get Tim Kelly from Geelong was always going to cost them, the other five clubs did so knowing that a top-10 pick is more valuable to them this year than next, with all five having potential academy, NGA or father-son prospects to bid on in 2020.
It also informed the offer Sydney was prepared to make for Essendon’s Joe Daniher, as they ideally wanted to get a top-10 pick from this year’s broad pool in the door knowing Gulden and Braedon Campbell were to graduate from their academy in 2020. The Bombers had future defensive prospect Cody Brand in their thinking too when contemplating their future needs.
On the other hand, Adelaide, the Brisbane Lions, Geelong and North Melbourne have taken advantage of the situation to get an extra 2020 first-rounder in the door at a relatively cheap price, with the Cats and the Kangaroos not having obvious academy or father-son prospects on the immediate horizon.
The Western Bulldogs have hung on to their first-round pick for next season, but you can bet they will be keeping it for a possible trade between now and this time next season, as they have the most exciting NGA prospect yet in Ugle-Hagan ready to roll their way at a discount price in 2020.