AFL Draft History

The AFL Draft, first held in 1986, is the major list management tool for AFL clubs, alongside the trade period and free agency.

Every current player in the AFL has come through the draft system. Each club must have at least three selections in the AFL Draft.

The AFL Draft, Pre-Season Draft and Rookie Drafts are critical to the AFL Commission's objective of developing an even competition.

The top-10 picks model their new jumpers during the 2015 NAB AFL Draft at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Picture: Michael Willson

The Mid-Season Draft was introduced in 1990 but scrapped after the 1993 season. It returned again in 2019 when Richmond famously selected Marlion Pickett who would go on to play his debut game in that year's Grand Final. It then took another break in 2020 due to the COVID-interrupted year, however, returned again for the 2021 season. 

In 1997, the AFL introduced the Rookie Draft which enabled clubs to list players between the ages of 18 and 23. These players could be upgraded to primary lists at a time when player lists were lodged with the AFL before the National Draft or during the season as a long-term injury replacement or as a nominated rookie.

In 2007, the AFL introduced a mature-age rookie, over 23 years of age, to be listed if he had not previously been on a primary or rookie list of any club. This was further amended for the 2010-12 seasons with the removal of the maximum age requirement while allowing previously listed AFL players to be rookie listed.