OPPORTUNITY still beckons for those players who didn't join an AFL club last week.
The grieving process for that group had already begun at this time last year, but the new pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP), which opened on Saturday, has changed all that.
Six clubs – Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne, Carlton, Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Gold Coast – have one list spot vacant, which will almost certainly be filled in the SSP.
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So how do the new rules work?
Previously listed AFL footballers no longer have to nominate for the draft and can sign with their club of choice as a Category A rookie between December 1 and March 15.
The only exceptions are those players who retire or delist themselves.
In those cases, they must nominate for that year's draft and be overlooked – or sit out an AFL season – to be eligible for the SSP.
The same goes for players who have never played at the highest level, but nominated for that year's draft and didn't find an AFL home.
They, too, become eligible for the following SSP, although if they still miss out they must nominate for the draft again the next year.
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The Giants, Demons and Tigers passed twice in the rookie draft, effectively leaving two spots up for grabs.
However, all three had each committed one of those to past AFL footballers who would sign in the SSP: Shane Mumford (GWS), Corey Wagner (Melbourne) and Maverick Weller (Richmond).
Former Kangaroo Corey Wagner will join Melbourne after impressing with the Casey Demons. Picture: AFL Photos
The Tigers also sought permission for West Australian midfielder Sydney Stack, an All Australian at this year's NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, to train at Punt Rd and potentially take the club's other spot.
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A ruckman is in the Suns' sights for their empty place as they seek more support for No.1 big man Jarrod Witts.
Injury-prone Tom Nicholls and Peter Wright, who is preferred as a key forward, are Witts' main back-ups at this stage.
The Blues' decision may be a race in four.
Axed forward Jed Lamb and VFL trio Jesse Palmer and Sam Fisher, who were previously listed at Port Adelaide and Sydney, respectively, and Mason Blakey trained with Carlton leading into the drafts.
Former Saint Hugh Goddard and ex-Demon Tom Bugg became Blues in last week's rookie draft after training at Ikon Park.
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That leaves the Giants, Demons and Bulldogs with one vacancy apiece.
Among the players in the mix could be multiple state league medallists Mick Gibbons, Mitch Grigg and Jye Bolton, Casey Demon Jay Lockhart, key-position prospect Hayden McLean, who trained at St Kilda, and late-blooming South Fremantle onballer Marlion Pickett.
There is also a chance clubs will keep a spot up their sleeve for next year's mid-season rookie draft, but industry sources say it is unlikely any team would enter the season one player short.