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Free agency compo picks likely to remain

Callum Twomey  May 30, 2013 2:42 PM

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St Kilda received a first-round compensation pick in last year's national draft for losing Brendon Goddard to Essendon

HAWTHORN won't be left empty-handed if restricted agent Lance Franklin leaves the club with it becoming increasingly likely free agency compensation picks will stay this year.

While the AFL and AFL Players' Association are yet to have their mid-season meeting on the future of compensation selections, it is believed the League is unlikely to change the rules for this year's period.

Historically the AFL has been reluctant to change rules mid-season, with clubs in full swing with contracting negotiations and list management strategies.

Clubs are split on whether compensation picks should remain, with some believing the process of handing out picks to clubs who lost free agents stifled player movement.

Leading player manager Craig Kelly this month told AFL.com.au the picks should be scrapped because they made things "complicated and messy".

But St Kilda and Port Adelaide – two clubs who lost free agents last season – have cautioned against removing the picks, acknowledging the role they play in the game's equalisation.

Other suggestions have included only handing out compensation picks to clubs who lose restricted agents, and not those who lose unrestricted agents.

Some clubs also believe the picks should only be activated at the end of each draft round, which would see the value of departing stars drop compared to last year's free agency model.

Such a move would also remove the frustration of some clubs last year whose early draft position was weakened by other clubs being compensated for losing free agents.

On Thursday, AFL.com.au canvassed the opinion of a range of industry insiders who said Franklin was more likely to remain at Hawthorn.

Last year, St Kilda was handed a first-round selection when it lost restricted free agent Brendon Goddard .

The AFL judged that the Saints should receive the highest compensation available for losing the former No.1 draft pick, and handed them a selection immediately following their first pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft (selection 12 overall).

Franklin heads the list of free agents, having told the Hawks he will not discuss his contract until the end of the year.

Western Bulldog Adam Cooney, Melbourne's Colin Sylvia and Carlton's Eddie Betts are other key free agents out of contract at the end of this year.  

Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey