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AFL rules out priority picks for Lions, Blues

Nullarbor roar, Hawk tests, no priorities Nat Edwards anchors Footy Feed from Perth

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CARLTON and the Brisbane Lions have failed in their bids for priority picks, with the AFL knocking back their requests for extra draft selections.

The League informed the Blues and Lions on Wednesday their submissions for priority picks under the special assistance rule would not be granted.

As was expected, the AFL Commission accepted the joint recommendation from the AFL's general counsel Andrew Dillon and football operations manager Mark Evans to deny the bids.

The AFL executive believed the plight of the Blues and Lions, who finished this season in 18th and 17th positions on the ladder respectively, did not constitute the "exceptional circumstances" required to win a priority pick.

The Lions had requested an extra draft selection due to their retention issues and the lack of early picks remaining on the list, while the Blues sought a pick to fast-track their rebuild.

But the requests were always considered unlikely to succeed, with the AFL already knocking back Melbourne's bids for priority picks in 2013 and 2014 despite the Demons' poor form over several years.

Carlton CEO Steven Trigg said the Blues were disappointed with the decision, but they understood the AFL's reasoning. 

"Our members want our football club to be competitive and that’s what we are building towards. In the absence of defined criteria it was obviously worth asking the question, and I believe that’s what our members would expect," Trigg said. 

"I want to be very clear in saying that we are prepared to put in the hard work required to build Carlton back up, but if some assistance was there to help accelerate that process, then we needed to explore the opportunity.

"While the outcome hasn’t gone in our favour we understand the AFL’s decision."

It means the top of the draft is set to stay uncompromised, with a free agency compensation pick to the Lions for losing Matthew Leuenberger the only remaining way of alterations to the order of the picks.

The Blues are tipped to draft key defender Jacob Weitering with pick No.1 at November's NAB AFL Draft, which would allow the Lions to select key forward Josh Schache, who kicked a record 24 goals during the mid-year under-18 championships.

Gold Coast holds pick No.3, Essendon finished the season with pick No.4 and St Kilda has selection No.5.

Midfielder Darcy Parish, powerful South Australian Aaron Francis and talls forward Charlie Curnow and Sam Weideman are among the possibilities in the next group of picks.

INDICATIVE FIRST-ROUND DRAFT ORDER
(1) Carlton
(2) Brisbane Lions
(3) Gold Coast
(4) Essendon
(5) St Kilda
(6) Melbourne
(7) Collingwood
(8) Greater Western Sydney
(9) Geelong
(10) Port Adelaide
(11) Western Bulldogs
(12) Richmond
(13) Adelaide
(14) Sydney Swans
(15) North Melbourne
(16) Fremantle
(17) Grand Final runner up
(18) Premier
(19) Gold Coast end-of-first round compensation selection