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Trading first-round picks: Misunderstood rule explained

The Bombers gave up their 2018 and 2019 first-round selections to the Giants for Dylan Shiel - AFL,Essendon Bombers,Trade,Draft
The Bombers gave up their 2018 and 2019 first-round selections to the Giants for Dylan Shiel

ESSENDON will be able to shop around its 2020 first-round draft pick in a bid to lure another star when the 2019 NAB AFL Trade Period begins.

There has been some confusion in the reporting of the rules around trading first-round picks, including an interpretation that teams could always trade their first selection from the current year and were only restricted in trading future ones.

But AFL.com.au can confirm this is not the case.

The Bombers have transformed themselves into a premiership threat in the past year with a series of trade prizes, including Devon Smith, Jake Stringer, Adam Saad and, most recently, Dylan Shiel.

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They gave up their 2017 first-round selection to Greater Western Sydney as part of the Smith deal, then handed over this year's and next to the Giants for Shiel.

Essendon last had a pick in the first round in 2016, when it made Andy McGrath the No.1 overall choice, and the Bombers also claimed Darcy Parish (selection five) and Aaron Francis (six) that way in 2015.

That means the Bombers satisfy the AFL's new rule, which comes into play next year, regarding the use of at least two first-round picks in the previous four-year period.

The only exception to that is where a club has applied for and received special permission, with the AFL weighing up the age of the players brought in and other draft selections used in that time.

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The rule, outlined in the Determination for the trading of future draft selections document, is designed to protect teams from trading themselves into long-term trouble.

The AFL alerted the 18 clubs about the incoming requirement in 2015, the year future draft pick trading was introduced.

As of now, only Geelong and Collingwood would have to use their first-round selection in 2019, although the Pies will likely match a first-round bid this year for Isaac Quaynor and possibly Will Kelly.

Quaynor is a Collingwood Next Generation Academy member, while Kelly – son of 1990 premiership player and leading player agent Craig Kelly – is a father-son prospect.

The Magpies will meet the four-year quota if they match a first-round bid for either of those players and would then be able to do as they please with their first-round pick next year.

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Essendon is in a similar scenario to Hawthorn and Melbourne under the new trade conditions.

All three clubs drafted two players in the first round in 2015, but the Hawks and Demons haven't used one since and neither has one this year.

They can do as they wish with their first-round pick in the 2019 NAB AFL Trade Period, including offloading a future one, because they have used at least two in the preceding four-year period.

However, like the Bombers, unless they trade in extra first-round selections this year or next, they will have to start using those picks in 2020 until they satisfy the four-year rolling requirement.

That trio of teams will have used just one first-round pick or fewer through the 2019 draft – assuming they don't acquire any extras – once their two from 2015 drop off.

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They will be the last three clubs in that situation, barring AFL permission, now that the four-year rule is in place, which demands at least two first-round picks are used in that period.

An end-of-first-round compensation selection does not count in a club's rolling four-year tally.

Your club's first-round draft picks

CLUB

2015

2016

2017

2018*

TOTAL

Adelaide

2

1

1

3

7

Brisbane

2

2

3

1

8

Carlton

4

1

2

1

8

Collingwood

0

0

1

0**

1

Essendon

2

1

0

0

3

Fremantle

0

1

2

1

4

Geelong

0

0

0

1

1

Gold Coast

2

4

0^

3

9

GWS Giants

3

4

1

3

11

Hawthorn

2

0

0

0

2

Melbourne

2

0

0

0

2

North Melbourne

1

1

1

0**

3

Port Adelaide

0

2

0

3

5

Richmond

1

0

1

1

3

St Kilda

1

0

2

1

4

Sydney

1

1^

1

0**

3

West Coast

0

1

1

0

2

Western Bulldogs

0

1

2

1

4

* Picks are subject to change until draft night

** Collingwood, North Melbourne and Sydney are expected to match first-round bids for Isaac Quaynor (and possibly Will Kelly), Tarryn Thomas and Nick Blakey, respectively

^ The Swans ended up with Brisbane's end-of-first-round priority pick in 2016, and Gold Coast ended up with Geelong's end-of-first-round free agency compensation pick in 2017. Neither counts as a first-round pick for these purposes.