WESTERN Bulldogs premiership coach Luke Beveridge wants the AFL to take advantage of the coronavirus shutdown period to raise the draft age to 19.
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The debate is back on the agenda, with the AFL's pathway competitions on hold and the potential of list sizes shrinking, in part because of the financial strain the global pandemic is having.
Beveridge has long held the view that the draft age should increase from 18 years old and sees the current situation as the ideal opportunity to make it happen.
"It's an absolute no-brainer," Beveridge told SEN radio.
"I mean, every other year, as much as I've advocated for the draft age to be lifted, I was finding it hard to work through how you'd actually do it.
"But now, because none of the pathway programs are playing and training, it just makes absolute sense if we feel strongly enough about it and the benefits we will get from it, to just go ahead and do it."
Beveridge said there were many benefits to changing the draft age, including teenage footballers not having to complete year 12 in the same year they hope to join an AFL club.
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He also believed the change would make players more mature mentally and physically for AFL demands, as well as potentially helping junior clubs retain teams.
"If the draft age goes to 19, it will allow junior clubs … to field teams in their under-16s and under-17s year and bridge junior comps into senior comps a little bit easier," Beveridge said.
"Also, there needs to be a negotiation with the private schools for them to play their games mid-week rather than on the weekend.
"(Then) these junior clubs can continue to have access to their young boys and girls, and make sure they stabilise junior teams and clubs and those programs."
There are differing views among the coaches on the draft age topic, with Carlton's David Teague pointing to 2018 No.1 pick Sam Walsh as an example of someone who was ready to play in the AFL.
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Gold Coast's Stuart Dew deferred to the players and their families, saying they knew best in this situation.
"Do we give players, boys and girls, the best opportunity to finish their studies without the pressure?" Dew said last week.
"I know speaking to the parents of draftees, that last year in year 12, if it lines up with their draft year – that's a lot of pressure. Would they benefit from that (increase)?
"I'm probably a bit removed from it, so I think whoever makes the decision on that needs to ask players who have been through it and also the families. I think that'd be the best point of action."