COLLINGWOOD president Eddie McGuire has backed an AFL plan to lift Victoria's junior competition to an under-19 league.
However, McGuire has reiterated his view the draft age should remain at 18, saying lifting the minimum age before being eligible to join a club would be a "restraint of trade".
The AFL's talent pathways subcommittee met last week and is continuing to discuss whether it will make the under-18 NAB League (which generally produces around half of the draft pool each year) an under-19 competition in 2021.
AFL.com.au reported in April that it was part of the League's options for next year, particularly in the strong chance this year's draft pool is reduced on the back of the COVID-19 fallout.
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McGuire said pushing the age groups up by a year, but still allowing the best 18-year-old talents the chance to get into the AFL system, struck the right balance.
"I like the idea of under-15s, under-17s, and under-19s. People have been talking about lifting the draft age. But I'll say this again, it is against the law to do so. It's a restraint of trade. If you're 18 and you can go to war and you can vote, [then] you can play football," McGuire told SEN.
"It's not compulsory. You don't have to nominate yourself for the draft. But if we get to that situation the best 18-year-olds like [No.1 pick Matt] Rowell, for example from last year, he could have been playing VFL last year and getting himself even more ready for senior football when other kids aren't going to be ready to go until they're 19, 20, 21.
"I think what we'll probably see is it gives us the opportunity to look at more players who can come in and who are readymade to play senior football."
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The talent pathways subcommittee is discussing a number of areas of the game, including the link between second-tier competitions and elite junior leagues.
Currently there is an Australia-wide under-15s schools competition, before the AFL's official elite talent pathway kicking in at under-16 and under-18 level with national championships at both levels.
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It has also in recent years bolstered its under-17s program, with a 'Futures' series being played so clubs, who are able to trade future draft selections, are aware of upcoming talent pools.