CLUBS are pushing for a US-style 'waiver' process ahead of a draft format in order to fill supplementary lists that will help combat the upcoming condensed AFL season.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said on Monday the new 17-game model would likely include an "accelerated" window to squeeze in as many games as possible, played every four or five days before the worst of the coronavirus outbreak is expected to hit around June.

SEASON SLASHED AFL cuts rounds to 17

He went on to say AFL clubs would be allowed to add players to their current lists from state league competitions.

The AFL then invited clubs' list management teams to provide feedback about the new system in the past two days before it is confirmed next week.

05:26 Mins
Published on

COVID-19 update: Players want more games, as AFL delays decision

Join Damian Barrett and Nat Edwards for an update on season 2020 as the AFL continues to deal with the coronavirus crisis

Published on

While a 'mini-draft' was initially floated, clubs are instead favouring a waiver process that would see players recruited on a needs basis only. 

The financial strain and looming salary cuts as a result of the pandemic mean new supplementary footballers would be added and released when required. 

While quarters are set to be cut in length to reduce fatigue, clubs will still be able to add up to five players to their current lists. 

LATEST NEWS All your COVID-19 updates here

Some remaining questions among recruiters spoke to include how they will afford supplementary-listed footballers during the cost slashing, as well as whether they can add players at any time or only in certain circumstances, such as when injury strikes. 

One option raised would have the waiver process – commonly used in American sports – rank clubs one to 18, based on reverse ladder order, to determine the order of weekly bidding. 

For example, 12th-placed North Melbourne would be ranked No.7 in the waiver order and could bid for a player such as ex-Collingwood defender Sam Murray. 

Sam Murray in action for Collingwood against North Melbourne in round 18, 2018. Picture: AFL Photos

Provided no club ranked from No.1 to No.6 placed a bid on Murray, the Roos would secure him. If multiple clubs bid for a certain player, the highest-ranked club would score the player. 

Current club lists comprise 45 players, plus Category B rookies, but a large portion of those players are often injured or in a development phase and not ready for AFL football.

Players from state leagues including Murray, former West Coast midfielder Chris Masten, ex-Crow Richard Douglas or delisted Lion Nick Robertson would be immediately ready to play. 

REPLACEMENT PLAYERS? The top contenders

It's understood AFL clubs have already reached out to some of these players to monitor their interest, even bypassing their agents on occasion.

Former Eagle Chris Masten looms as an ideal replacement player. Picture: AFL Photos

AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield last week said he had "no doubt" more players than ever before would be used to play AFL football in 2020 to deal with the condensed schedule.

The AFL is weighing up whether the waiver process would continue after the condensed window of matches are played. 

It also remains to be seen which players would be eligible for the new process, given there were certain conditions in place for the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP). 

Among them were that players had to have nominated for the most recent national draft and they couldn't have retired or delisted themselves the previous season. 

SUSPENDED State league comps in turmoil due to virus crisis

Unless this criteria was removed, players such as Dale Thomas, Brett Deledio, Luke Hodge, Daniel Wells, Tyson Goldsack or Alex Fasolo would not be eligible.

Many clubs believe the unprecedented circumstances brought on by COVID-19 provide the AFL with an opportunity to trial player movement ideas that were once only a pipe dream for the future.

However, it's expected the waiver process would replace the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft that last year delivered 13 players to AFL lists, including Richmond premiership hero Marlion Pickett.

12:57 Mins
Published on

The hardest road to Grand Final glory: Pickett's triumph

Follow Marlion Pickett's amazing story to the AFL and the MCG's September stage

Published on