AFL news 2021, choice of free agency remuneration, system explained, analysis, commercial period, news, rumors, Lance Franklin, James Frawley

The thoughts of the great David King of North Melbourne on free agency compensation choices were straightforward.

“It’s kind of like watching the fight. We all know these are *** bulls, but there is a place for it and we need it, ”he said.

One of the most confusing elements of the trading period, compensation choices are again a key talking point after several free agency signings in the past 24 hours.

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The first move to be made was that of Jake Kelly in Essendon, which earned the Crows a third-round pick, currently No.42.

Mabior Chol’s move to the Gold Coast Suns secured the Tigers a late second-round selection, currently Pick 38. This drew negative reactions from the football world, with Chol having only played 10 games for Richmond in 2021.

Sydney got a late second-round pick for George Hewett’s transfer to Carlton after the Swans opted not to match the offer.

But is there a place for compensation choices?

King was a fan of the system to help support lower-ranked teams, stressing how valuable he was to Melbourne when they were given Pick 3 after James Frawley’s move to Hawthorn – which the Demons used to secure Angus Bradshaw.

Again, he did not subscribe to the existence of “secret herbs and spices” about how the AFL lands on the compensation choices in each scenario.

“I like it to be a bit heavy and flexible. Melbourne needed this Pick 3, he became Angus Brayshaw, ”said double Prime Minister Kangaroo.

“OK, you lose Frawley, but you get Brayshaw, so it’s a seven-year down payment. Can you afford not to have it for the teams that need it?

“I think you need some compensation, but saying I don’t know how they arrive at the decision of Pick 3 or Pick 21 or whatever…. but I love this.”

No matter how anyone sees the pay picks, in a hyper EQ-driven league he’s seemingly here to stay. And so explains how the system works… or at least what we think we know.


The system has been in effect since 2012 with free agencies and is secret so that clubs do not manipulate it.

It was introduced to reimburse clubs with a draft pick equivalent to the value of starting free agents in an effort to keep the league in balance. But how is this value determined?

Nine’s Jake Niall revealed details in 2018, which showed players were ranked based on their annual salary and age. Compensation is then determined based on these rankings.

The length of the deal is considered the key factor in determining the value against a player’s annual salary.

But the Sun Herald has since revealed last year that players are compared to those in their age bracket.

Mabior Chol signs for the Gold Coast Suns | 00:54

A note from the AFL sent to clubs in the Sun Herald The report says the compensation attempts to “reflect the relative values ​​of different players in relation to each other”, rather than “fully compensating a club for the loss of a player”.

Compensation is determined by the “bracket” of compensation to which the player belongs. Once the formula provides suggested compensation, an AFL expert panel can then recommend a change if there is a “materially abnormal” result.

The bands are as follows:

– Top five percent = first round pick

– Top 15 percent = choice of end of first round

– Top 30 percent = second round pick

– Top 50 percent = choice of end of second round

– Top 70 percent = third round pick

– Below = no selection


Compensation is awarded based on the final position of the receiving team, so lower-ranked teams are better reimbursed. But that doesn’t necessarily equate to fair value for the starting player.

Hawthorn and Melbourne both received sensational first-round picks for Lance Franklin and Frawley respectively, which then came after their natural picks.

As mentioned, the Demons got the 3 pick for Frawley after their 17th season in 2014.

Lance Franklin (left) of the Swans competes for the ball with James Frawley of the Hawks during the AFL Day 17 game between the Sydney Swans and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on Thursday July 14, 2016. (AAP Image / Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVE, EDITORIAL USE ONLYSource: AAP

Meanwhile, the newly-winning Hawks were only given the 19 pick when Franklin left for Sydney in 2013 for a nine-year, $ 10 million mega-contract.

Below is the list of the final payment statement for the 2020 free agency period before the Academy and NGA applications.

Choice 7: Joe Daniher (Essendon in Brisbane)

Pick 10: Zac Williams (GWS to Carlton)

Choice 23: Brad Crouch (Adelaide to St Kilda)

Choice 31: Aidan Corr (GWS in North Melbourne)

Choice 40: Rory Atkins (Adelaide to Gold Coast)

Choice 46: Isaac Smith (Hawthorn in Geelong)

No compensation: Shaun McKernan (Essendon to St Kilda)


Compensation is also affected by free agents lost and earned by each club during a trade period.

It is a system lent by other free agency models in other codes.

One example is the NFL, where the New England Patriots have historically allowed players to go into free agency without signing anywhere themselves because they wouldn’t receive as much of a draft lineup.

Another example is Richmond trading for Robbie Tarrant instead of acquiring him as a free agent as this would have affected their pay for Chol.


Well, they don’t.Teams can only try to project what a player’s worth might be, which adds an element of confusion to the system.

A key example is last year when Brad Crouch moved from Adelaide to St Kilda. There were various reports of the midfielder’s offer of contract to the Saints, thus affecting Adelaide’s pay.

Brad Crouch signed with St Kilda last year (Photo by Albert Perez / AFL Photos / via Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

This was the difference between the Crows receiving a first-round roster, which would be pick 2 after finishing 18th in 2020, or an end-of-first-round pick, which would be pick 19, then fall back after Academy and the NGA. Auction.

Of course, the Crows could have just matched any offer since he had restricted status. Ultimately, they were given an end-of-first-round pick which went back to the No.28 selection.


As mentioned above, the AFL has an “expert committee” that can recommend changes in the event of a “materially abnormal” result.

Therefore, the AFL ultimately has the power to alter the choices as it sees fit.

The compensation system has long been considered the AFL’s “secret herbs and spices”. Much like how player salaries aren’t public, neither is it. So no matter how hard we try to make sense of it, only the league really knows how it works.

“They’re just making up… There is no formula,” AFL Media Damian Barrett said on AFL Commercial Radio this week.

“He can be anywhere they want.”

Heck, even though the compensation choices are mostly improvised, done much like wrestling, we’ll still be watching to see what happens next.

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