ESSENDON coach Brad Scott has flagged 'pick purchasing' as a way for struggling clubs to effectively generate their own compensation picks, rather than seeking assistance from the AFL.
Scott, formerly the AFL's general manager of football and a long-time coach of North Melbourne, told AFL.com.au's Gettable Draft Countdown that the next evolution of trading could help the League to reduce its level of intervention in maintaining competitive balance.
For the second successive year, North Melbourne has received an assistance package including draft selections after winning just 12 of 84 games in the past four seasons.
Pick purchasing, a concept that was first raised by AFL.com.au in 2021, would allow one club to outright buy a draft pick off another by trading its salary cap space.
Scott said pick purchasing was one of a number of innovations the AFL could consider to increase flexibility around player movement.
"If it was something like 'we'll trade our future first-round selection plus three or four hundred thousand dollars of salary cap space', I think a lot more deals would get done," he said.
"Whether you agree with free agency compensation or the AFL's assistance package for some clubs, pick purchasing potentially moves the need for any of that."
Scott also raised the idea of new draftees being live-traded on draft night after they had been selected by their clubs, but said pick purchasing was a more logical next step to introduce.
"Is the industry ready for the trading of players on the night? If a player gets taken in the first five rounds, could they potentially on-trade them? Those are things I think we should all talk about," he said.
"But right at the moment, the North Melbourne assistance package is a good place to start because if there was pick purchasing, you'd assume that if you're down the bottom end of the ladder, you should have some cap space.
"So that would enable clubs to get their own compensation pick, rather than asking the AFL for help."
North Melbourne holds five of the first 18 picks in the 2023 AFL Draft, which begins at 7pm AEDT on Monday, after a busy trade period.
You can catch all the best draft news and analysis on Draft Night Live from 6.45pm AEDT on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live App.
And be sure to tune into Gettable Draft Countdown with Cal Twomey and Riley Beveridge from 2pm AEDT on Monday for the latest draft preview ahead of all tonight's action.