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Hot topics: Should clubs be allowed to trade players against their will?


Player power has never been so strong. We saw it three months ago. Ryan Griffen, contracted Western Bulldogs captain, told the club he'd played 202 games for he wanted to head to Greater Western Sydney. The Dogs, in turn, emphatically stated they had "no intention of indulging" Griffen's approach. Then, first year (yes, FIRST YEAR) GWS forward Tom Boyd declared he wanted to head to the Whitten Oval. Both clubs said they wouldn't trade but Griffen's position was untenable while Boyd's manager Liam Pickering said if his client didn't move that year, he'd be gone in 12 months' time when his contract was done. In the end, a deal was reached but not before two clubs were essentially held to ransom by two contracted players – one who has played just nine AFL games. Dayne Beams and the Brisbane Lions' quintet of Billy Longer, Jared Polec, Sam Docherty, Elliot Yeo and Patrick Karnezis are other examples of players who have basically deemed themselves free agents without reaching that status, and successfully landed at their preferred destinations. So if players - and sometimes contracted ones - can demand to be traded to specific clubs, why don't clubs get the same right? It could also help struggling clubs rebuild faster, if they were able to offer an attractive deal involving draft picks to recruit established talent; talent that otherwise would not have been interested in moving. Melbourne suffered when a trade involving Ryan Ferguson and Brad Sewell fell through in 2005. Sewell agreed in principle but the contracted Ferguson wanted to stay a Demon. Sewell went on to play 200 games and win two premierships with Hawthorn; Ferguson played 47 games and was delisted in 2007. Imagine if there was no need for player approval in that scenario? Players know the deal. They enter the draft knowing they could go anywhere. Yes, coming home from Bali to be told you're off to the other side of the country would be tough. There would have to be safeguards but ultimately, if the players want movement to be freer when it's on their terms, maybe they should give a bit of that privilege back to the clubs too.  - Jennifer Phelan

It's a basic worker's right to choose their place of employment, and we already take that away from our players once with the draft, so why should we make it open slather once they're at a club? Could you imagine the Brisbane Lions shipping a homesick South Australian (like Jared Polec last year) to West Coast just because they got a better offer from the Eagles than the Power? We don't always get what we want in life, but taking away a right to choose your employer is a step too far. Neither you or I have that problem, so why should players? Not to mention the responsibility on both the League and the clubs to look after the players' mental wellbeing. Bouncing them around the country like ping pong balls against their will is sure-fire way to send them down a slippery slope of emotional unsteadiness. What's next, trading CEOs for future draft picks? Where do we draw the line? We run the risk of mimicking competitions like the EPL or NBA where players end up with resumes longer than their arms. One final thought: think about Tom Boyd's move from GWS to the Western Bulldogs. Imagine if Fremantle – crying out for a long-term replacement for the ageing Matthew Pavlich – offered the same contract to the Giants the Dogs did. Whether it be spite or the fact the Dockers coughed up a better trade deal, the Giants choose to ship Boyd west. Hardly seems right, does it? - Michael Whiting