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St Kilda and Port caution against scrapping compo picks

Callum Twomey  March 13, 2013 8:31 PM

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Port Adelaide lost free agents Danyle Pearce and Troy Chaplin (centre) over the off-season

I would imagine most sides who lost high-quality players would be disappointed not receiving some compensation for that player

TWO OF the clubs most affected by free agency last year have cautioned against the push to scrap compensation picks.

St Kilda and Port Adelaide were at the centre of the first free agency period in 2012.

The Saints lost restricted agent Brendon Goddard to Essendon, while Danyle Pearce and Troy Chaplin left the Power under the new free agency rules.

Both clubs were compensated for their losses - the Saints were handed a first-round NAB AFL Draft pick (No.13 overall) while Port gained two second-round picks (30, 31) for the pair's departure.

St Kilda is yet to formalise its view on compensation picks, but chief executive Michael Nettlefold said it would have been "disappointed" to lose Goddard for nothing.

"All clubs appreciate there's different sides to the debate but I would imagine most sides who lost high-quality players would be disappointed not receiving some compensation for that player," Nettlefold told AFL.com.au.

"All followers of the AFL recognise that with free agency, it's a new world. And ultimately the mechanisms for determining if there's compensation or not will be at the judgment of the AFL."

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Power football manager Peter Rohde stressed compensation is an important plank in the League's equalisation.

"Our position is very much that we'd like to let the system run its course for a few years and see what happens," Rohde said.

"The whole process of equalisation is based around if you do lose a free agent player you get some sort of compensation for them.

"In terms of the equalisation process … obviously the teams at the top of the ladder have probably got some drawing power for free agents who, at the end of their career, might want to change clubs in a view to win a premiership.

"It could disadvantage clubs at the bottom of the ladder at any given time if they lost a lot of free agents."

As revealed by AFL.com.au in February, some clubs are pushing for compensation picks to be abolished completely, while others believe the selections should only exist for restricted free agents.

AFL.com.au's report also said if the picks do remain, a proposed change could result in the compensation value of the game's biggest stars, like Hawthorn restricted agent Lance Franklin, slashed.

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The AFL's review into free agency was on hold until the start of the season, but it is expected to be fast-tracked after the appointment of Mark Evans as the new football operations boss.

Evans questioned the system's equity last year as Hawthorn's football manager when the club felt it was short-changed for losing free agent Clinton Young to Collingwood.

Now as the driver of the review, Evans said his feelings place him in a strong position in his new role.

"Your philosophies and things like that are based on the experiences you've had, so I don't think I'm going to be able to separate those things, and maybe that will be a good thing for some of those debates," Evans told AFL.com.au.

Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey.