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AFL coaches say Ablett is still the best

Ashley Browne  July 3, 2013 12:00 PM

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If the AFL coaches could pick one player to trade for, an overwhelming majority would pick Gary Ablett

GARY Ablett remains the most coveted player in the game.

The 18 AFL senior coaches have nominated the Gold Coast superstar as their favourite for the Brownlow Medal and the player they would most like to trade for from another club.

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Ablett already has the 2009 Brownlow Medal in his swag from his time at Geelong and is the short-priced favourite to win it again this year.

In the 2013 AFL coaches survey, 13 coaches believe Ablett will win the Brownlow again this year.

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Last year's winner, Essendon's Jobe Watson, attracted three votes, while Richmond's Trent Cotchin and Adelaide's Patrick Dangerfield attracted one vote each.

Ablett is locked away by Gold Coast for two more seasons, so he won't be going anywhere. But given their choice of bringing any player into their club, seven coaches declared Ablett to be their first choice.

This time last year, Lance Franklin was the most desired player in the competition and this time around, there were three votes for the Hawthorn superstar.

Franklin becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and is being heavily courted by Greater Western Sydney. If he was to join the Giants, he would join budding champion forward Jeremy Cameron who also attracted three votes.

Travis Cloke, Nic Naitanui, Cyril Rioli, Joel Selwood and Watson each attracted one vote.

Meanwhile, on the subject of free agency, the coaches strongly supported the idea that clubs should receive better compensation for losing star players to free agency.

Fourteen of the 18 coaches believe clubs should receive "multiple" draft picks in exchange for a big-name free agent jumping ship.

But as it stands the Hawks would only receive one compensatory pick in exchange for Franklin, should he leave as a free agent. In all likelihood, that pick will come immediately after the club's first-round selection which, given Hawthorn's expected strong showing this year, will come towards the end of the first round.

The 2013 AFL coaches survey was conducted by AFL Media in partnership with the AFL Coaches Association.