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AFL still unconvinced on mid-season trades

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AFL general manager of football operations Steve Hocking - AFL,Steve Hocking
AFL general manager of football operations Steve Hocking
To spend a number of months right on the cusp of 'am I in or out' is a really anxious place for players to live in
Steve Hocking

THE AFL remains unconvinced on introducing mid-season trades despite premiership-winning coach Damien Hardwick labelling the current transfer policy "farcical".

The League's football boss, Steve Hocking, says he is concerned about player anxiety and wants to avoid opening a Pandora's box by introducing mid-season trading. 

He believes a staged approach is needed.

"The reason why I say that, and I'm a little cautious about it, is the potential anxiety that may mean for players," he told SEN radio on Tuesday. 

"To spend a number of months right on the cusp of 'am I in or out' is a really anxious place for players to live in." 

Hocking was responding to comments made by Richmond mentor Hardwick, a long-time advocate for mid-season player movement.

"I still feel the AFL is behind the times with player movement and we've got to get our head around how that looks," Hardwick told AFL.com.au.

"I find it farcical that we can only improve our list once a year." 

Currently, clubs can only modify their list of 38 players during the season when there are long-term injuries and are only allowed to replace them from their rookie lists.

Sydney and Richmond will have an empty spot on their list until October, following Kurt Tippett's retirement and Ben Griffiths' switch to gridiron.

Hence Hardwick is disappointed he cannot fill Griffiths' position until the end of the year.

The AFL did trial a mid-season draft in the early 1990s before ditching it four years later. 

In November though, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan said a mid-year trade period would greatly assist weaker clubs.