Sydney list and recruiting boss Kinnear Beatson has called for a revamp of the AFL draft bidding system, saying it currently disadvantages the top sides.
Beatson’s proposal, detailed on AFL Media’s Road to the Draft podcast, would prevent “dummy bids” – when clubs make bids for Academy or father-son players, purely so the club tied to the player has to match it.
Teams are currently allowed to either match the bid for their player, and use the required number of draft points from their owned picks to do so, or pass on the player entirely.
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The former is the most common, with Sydney obtaining players like Nick Blakey (matching a bid at 10 with 34, 39 and 40) and Callum Mills (matching a bid at 3 with 33, 36, 37 and 43).
The latter was seen when Sydney didn’t match the Bulldogs’ bid for Josh Dunkley in 2015.
However despite his club’s success with the system, Beatson argued teams who had on-field success were being unfairly treated.
“I don’t think it’s ever perfect,” he said.
“The one problem I do have with it is if you finish high on the ladder and you play off in the preliminaries or the Grand Final and your pick is 16, 17 or 18 and you’ve got an elite talent that you’ve legitimately done the work with in your Academy and someone at pick seven to 10 bids on your player, given that your pick is 16, 17 or 18, you’ve really got no option but to match the bid.
“But if the rules were that if you bypassed on the bid and you came up in the draft order to the very next pick, then game on. You’ve got a decision to make. But at the moment you’re disadvantaged because of finishing high on the ladder.”
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Under Beatson’s proposal, if a team chose not to bid on a player, that team would instead rise up the draft order and take the next pick.
“My understanding of the bidding system is to try to find market value for the player. At the moment it can be a little bit subject to fake bidding to force clubs to match a bid and there’s no incentive in that particular situation not to match the bid, because your pick’s going to be at 18,” he said.
“But if a club is saying legitimately that Isaac is pick 2 and we disagree with that because we rate the player with the very next pick higher then OK, let Isaac go into the talent pool because that’s the market value determined by other clubs, and we’ll have the next pick.
“To me that would be a better option. We’ve floated that a little bit with the AFL but with not a lot of traction as yet.”
This year Sydney has two Academy prospects, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden.
Like in previous seasons they have acquired multiple second-round picks for points purposes, owning 3, 31, 34, 43, 60 and 82.