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Appetite growing for mid-season trading: McLachlan

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan - AFL,Gillon McLachlan,Trade
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan

MID-YEAR trading is on the horizon as the AFL continues to explore ways to open up player movement. 

Much has been done recently to make the system more flexible for players, with the Mid-Season Rookie Draft to return on Monday, May 27 after it was last held in 1993.

There was also the introduction of the Supplemental Selection Period last year that allowed clubs to sign players directly on to their rookie lists.

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AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan said more fluid movement could be on the way.

"The clubs have been reticent. We'll have a look at how many people get drafted and I think you're going to find, for the first time, clubs want to have a conversation about a (mid-season) trade period after this year," McLachlan told AFL.com.au.

"I think people were conservative but I reckon there seems to be an appetite now for it and we'll assess that after we see how many people come in through the draft."

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Meanwhile, the AFL is set to take more action on helping players dealing with mental health issues.

The issue has come under greater scrutiny after premiership Western Bulldog Tom Boyd walked away from football and a huge contract at just 23 after he lost passion for the game. 

RETIREMENT SHOCK Dogs flag hero Boyd calls it quits at 23

Player welfare spending is presently counted under each club's soft cap, which was introduced in 2015 in a bid to curb footy's off-field spending race and prevent smaller clubs being excessively disadvantaged.

In the wake of last Tuesday's meeting among club CEOs, McLachlan flagged change would be coming, and it's possible spending on player welfare could move outside the soft cap.

"We'll be finalising those recommendations in the coming weeks and it is addressed within that framework," McLachlan said.

"We've just got some follow-up to do but when we finalise all that work, it will include a position on how player welfare, to take the broader catch-all, will be addressed in that."

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