Main content

AFLPA backs young Magpie Nathan Freeman's trade bid

Nathan Freeman of the Magpies in action during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 1 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Collingwood Magpies at Aurora Stadium, Launceston on February 26, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Nathan Freeman has requested a trade from Collingwood despite failing to play a game in his first two years
At the end of that contract he should have the ability to try to move if he wants to
AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh

YOUNG players should be free to pursue a move to a new club at the end of their first two-year contract, according to AFL Players' Association boss Paul Marsh.

Collingwood's No.10 draft pick from 2013, midfielder Nathan Freeman, earlier this month requested to be traded to St Kilda after just two years on the club's list without a senior game after battling hamstring injuries.

James Aish, who was drafted three places ahead of Freeman by the Brisbane Lions in 2013, is also weighing up his future after just two seasons in Queensland. 

It has again raised the idea that a draftee's first standard contract should be stretched to three years, which has been previously pushed by some clubs, but Marsh says players should be free to move at the expiry of their deals. 

"If he's contracted for two years then at the end of that contract he should have the ability to try to move if he wants to," Marsh told radio station SEN.

"Clubs don't own these players. They've got a job to do to try to create as good an environment as possible so the players want to stay there. But if for whatever reason the player wants to move at the end of that contract I have no issue with them doing so."

Marsh said as younger players had not yet earned the power that comes with free agency, moving clubs presented a greater risk for those players as they could end up back in the draft if a deal could not be struck.

But he reiterated it was up to clubs to build a culture and environment where players could not be lured elsewhere.

"We do see a pretty small number of players moving clubs from year to year. The majority of the clubs are very good at keeping their players with them," Marsh said.

"The small number that do move are often looking for greater opportunity, or they may want to go home or it might be money. 

"I have no issue with players at the end of contracts wanting to go and move somewhere else and I think the competition is, in many respects, better for it."