Patrick Dangerfield ignites AFL world with trade period proposal

The Geelong premiership midfielder is keen to see the AFL emulate the likes of the NBA with mid-season player movement.

Patrick Dangerfield celebrates with the AFL premiership trophy after Geelong won the 2022 grand final.
Patrick Dangerfield has suggested a mid-season trade period for the AFL, following on the footsteps of American leagues like the NBA. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Patrick Dangerfield has sparked an interesting debate in the AFL world, posting a public poll asking fans their thoughts on the addition of a mid-season trade deadline. The Geelong champion's poll was in part sparked by the NBA's equivalent, a time of huge interest in the league which came to a conclusion last week.

At present, players can only be moved from team to team during the post-season trade period every year, which runs for two weeks soon after the grand final. Dangerfield took to social media with a poll on Friday, asking followers if they would be supportive of the introduction of a mid-season trading period.

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While hardly a scientific poll by any stretch, 63 per cent of voters were in favour of Dangerfield's suggestion - although it also had a fair share of critics. His suggestion would still differ somewhat from the NBA, which permits in-season trading at any time until a deadline soon after the half-way point of the regular season.

Dangerfield is also the head of the AFL Players Association, and has long been a supporter of the concept of mid-season trades. He spoke about the concept on SEN Radio earlier in the week, prior to taking his thought bubble online.

“I’d love to see, at some stage, mid-season trading come in,” he said. “We see it in other codes globally, it certainly adds another layer of intrigue.

“It’s not something that we’ve engaged in a huge amount of discussion around as a PA, simply because there’s been so much on. I think broadly we’d be open to it.”

His poll attracted a range of responses, with former coach Nathan Buckley, Collingwood forward Mason Cox and even former NBA star Andrew Bogut weighing in. Of the three, Buckley offered the most intriguing opinion.

“I voted yes. Players hold too much power. Need to give clubs more capacity to improve their lists and their prospects above and beyond year by year,” Buckley wrote in reply. The 2022 trade period saw wantaway stars such as Daniel McStay and Josh Dunkley secure trades to their preferred destinations, Collingwood and Brisbane respectively.

Cox was also supportive - albeit with the caveat that players should get a larger cut of league revenue if trades can go ahead without their consent, as in the NBA and other American leagues. Bogut, who was part of what was at the time a controversial trade from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Golden State Warriors in 2012, said the concept wouldn't work if players had to approve trades.

Footy great Graham Cornes approved the idea, rating it as a better option than the existing mid-season draft which allows clubs to recruit from state leagues such as the VFL, SANFL and WAFL in order to top up their sides. Cornes argued the current system was detrimental to the state leagues.

Patrick Dangerfield set for key role in AFL negotiation with players

Dangerfield is also expected to have a busy start to the year as players meet with the AFL to begin discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement. AFL boss Gillon McLachlan, who was originally meant to leave the role last year before staying on to get the CBA deal done, says he is open to having a men's and women's agreement in place.

Asked if he would like to leave the AFL with joint men's and women's CBAs, McLachlan replied: "it would be nice to be done, but it takes what it takes. Those discussions are beginning in earnest.

"The PA have had data to process, to be worked through over the summer and there are meetings scheduled. If they were a joint deal, it would make sense. The right deal is a fair deal for male and female athletes and if they're separate to make it fair, that's OK as well."

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan smiles during a press conference.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan is optimistic about the prospect of reaching a new CBA with players in the coming months. (Photo by Martin Keep/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Apart from deciding on a Tasmanian licence, another major issue still on McLachlan's desk is the investigation into racism allegations at Hawthorn. The AFL had hoped it would have had the findings by last Christmas.

"It's an independent panel and we therefore don't have a lot of control over the timing," he said. "I don't want to put pressure on that.

"Time is important and hopefully we get something back in February."

Asked about his successor, McLachlan said that process was "playing out". He was likewise non-committal on the perennial question of whether the grand final will be played at night.

"It (a decision) will be done in March or April, I'm sure," he said.

with AAP

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