THE AFL is expected to review whether rules allowing players to nominate their financial terms for the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft should be tightened.
Box Hill Hawks midfielder Jai Newcombe was the only player in the pool of 602 prospects for the mid-season draft who nominated under 'other terms', having changed his original nomination paperwork close to the deadline after initially putting in for the standard six or 18-month term.
Hawthorn selected the 20-year-old with pick No.2 at Wednesday night's mid-season intake on what is understood to be a 30-month (for the remainder of 2021 and to the end of 2023) contract that spikes at a base of around $170,000 in 2022 with potential additions for match payments and incentives.
It is believed the deal for this year is at the standard rates and the third year is at the regular rookie base with potential built-in increases in line with any Collective Bargaining Agreement changes, with Newcombe being managed by Peter Lenton at Kapital Sports.
It means the Hawks will need to pay approximately $80,000 extra for Newcombe within their salary cap under his nominated terms compared to what he would have cost without the extra terms.
Base rookie contracts are paid outside of a club's salary cap but anything above that, including match payments and incentives, are tallied inside the cap.
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The League is set to look at whether players who have not been through the AFL system previously should be able to put financial terms on their head. Some clubs believe it could open the door to players positioning themselves to sit out of drafts unless their terms are met and other unintended consequences.
Previously unlisted players – such as mature-ager Tim Kelly in 2017 or a potential top pick at this year's draft like Jason Horne, for instance – cannot place any financial terms on their nominations for the end-of-year national draft for their first standard contract under the CBA, which has seen clubs question why young draftees are able to do it in the mid-year draft.
The quirk for rookies under the CBA is that their initial deal is only for one year, which means clubs could forecast a bigger deal for the player's second season. The anomaly is only open for the mid-season intake, not the year-end rookie draft that falls after the national and pre-season drafts.
The capacity for a player to name his price mid-season was included in the reintroduction of the mid-season draft in 2019, largely as a way to assist delisted players who didn’t want to come back into the system on rookie wages.
Players who have been in the AFL or have had trades fail to go through, such as Jack Martin when he moved from Gold Coast to Carlton at the end of 2019, can place financial terms on their nomination for the national or pre-season draft to ensure their passage to their preferred club.
Generally players who nominate other terms are eyeing off heading to a certain club with the terms usually set to ward off rivals.