Hawthorn nab Keegan Brooksby as South Adelaide slams late recruiting

South Adelaide have been hard hit by the AFL’s desire to make player movement more flexible losing talls Hayden McLean and Michael Knoll to Sydney in last year’s SSP and mid-season drafts before Brooksby’s departure.

While they understand the opportunity it presents to their players and Hawthorn’s decision, Sharpe said Brooksby had a job with the club in junior development that supporters had helped fund.

The 29-year-old played 14 games for Gold Coast from 2015-2017 before West Coast added him to their list last season as a rookie via the SSP.

The Hawks had allowed Darren Minchington to train with them for the season in an attempt to gain a rookie spot but in the end they opted to take Brooksby as a back-up for premiership ruckman Ben McEvoy, who is being trialled in defence, and long-time servant Jonathan Ceglar, with the improving Ned Reeves only in his second season.

Hawthorn are sympathetic to the difficulty losing Brooksby might cause for South Adelaide on the eve of the season and did not do anything outside the rules the AFL introduced last season.

This year state league clubs that lose players to the AFL in the two drafting windows will receive $10,000 compensation if they depart via the SSP and $15,000 if they have a player chosen in the mid-season draft, with the AFL introducing the measures ahead of this season in response to feedback from state leagues after last year’s mid-season draft.

The SSP and mid-season draft were introduced in 2019 to give AFL club’s list flexibility and give players in state leagues regular opportunities to get on a list, with the AFL’s general manager for game development Andrew Dillon overseeing the system.

Richmond’s selection of Marlion Pickett from South Fremantle in the mid-season draft led to one of football’s greatest stories after he played in the Tigers premiership on debut while several players remain on AFL lists after being selected via last season’s SSP or mid-season draft.

Melbourne have already added Harley Bennell and Mitch Brown, Essendon signed Jacob Townsend and the Eagles chose Nic Reid and Jamaine Jones to join their rookie list via the SSP. The Blues are still weighing up whether to select Jordan Cunico, Callum Moore or Ryan Sturgess.


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