Damien Hardwick keen on AFL loan system

·2-min read

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says he would love to see a loan system introduced in the AFL to give young players the opportunity to earn more game time.

Fellow AFL club Gold Coast are in the midst of a ruck crisis, with co-captain Jarrod Witts (ACL) and youngster Matt Conroy (ACL) out for the season and Zac Smith (knee) unavailable for at least another month.

As things stand, the Suns won't be able to top-up their ruck department until June's mid-season draft but a soccer-style loan system would allow for immediate bolstering.

Hardwick cited the example of young Tigers ruckman Samson Ryan, who due to Richmond's ruck depth, is unlikely to play in his preferred position at AFL or VFL level any time soon, as a player who could benefit.

"Anything that gives a young player a chance to play the game, I love," Hardwick told reporters on Wednesday.

"We've got a young kid by the name of Samson Ryan that we'd love to loan (to the Suns).

"End of the day this kid, we're really exited about what he's gonna bring but we've got Coleman-Jones, we've got Mabior Chol, we've got Samson - so he's sitting there playing forward in VFL footy.

"Not that I'd like to give them Samson if he's playing against us but anything that gives a player the opportunity to play at AFL, I think we should look at, absolutely."

Loan systems are common across world football, while Australia's A-League introduced an internal loan system for under-23 players in 2018.

Often players on loan aren't eligible to play against their parent club.

In the NRL last year, Melbourne's Harry Grant and Wests Tigers' Paul Momirovski swapped clubs in a season-long loan deal, while some clubs also sent players out on short-term loans to the Warriors while they were based in Australia.