A TOP-UP system allowing a club to replace an injured or retired player with someone from outside its list should be high on the AFL's agenda, Geelong legend Jimmy Bartel says.
The proposal comes after Sydney forward Kurt Tippett announced his retirement earlier in the week owing to a degenerative ankle injury.
Tippett's decision to call it quits leaves the Swans a player short, particularly within their big man stocks, heading into 2018.
Hawthorn is in a similar boat after Ty Vickery's retirement in November, while Richmond will be forced to carry Ben Griffiths on its list after he decided to take up a US college scholarship at the University of California as a punter.
"Part of the art of list management is building a list that foresees a player going down. You don't want to reward sides for almost being deliberately short in one area with the potential to make up for it," Bartel told Fairfax Media.
"But, on the counter, because pre-season is so long and taxing and we see almost every year someone go down with an ACL or a serious injury in the pre-season because it is so quick and the grounds are so hard, it wouldn't be bad (if) at the end of January you have the opportunity to replace someone on your list.
"I don't know whether you should have to delist someone or clubs are allowed to add one more if they have that space open ... whether every club has 42 and they are allowed to go to 43 or you just keep it at 42."
Swans football manager Tom Harley said the fact rookie-listed players could appear from round one "softens the blow" following the departure of Tippett.
Category 'A' rookies will be eligible for selection from the opening round of the season without clubs having to place a player on the long-term injury list for them to play. Category 'B' rookies will have to wait to be upgraded.
"There was the uncertainty last year. Kurt's had a pretty significant ankle injury, he was going through his rehab and wanted to give himself and us the best chance to get back and play," Harley told SEN on Tuesday.
"The fact the rookies can play now softens the blow a bit but the reality is we're a player down for the season.
"That's just the reality of it. With regards to salary cap and contracts, I understand it's topical for everyone, and they are discussions I have with Kurt and his manager to ensure it's the best outcome for both parties."
AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said there was no plan to change the rules at this stage, while the concept of staging a mid-season draft has been floated by chief executive Gillon McLachlan.
However, it is understood that suggestion has gained little traction from clubs, although GWS football manager, Wayne Campbell, is on board.
Campbell said the League should look at introducing a mid-season draft to give the opportunity to those players performing strongly at state league level the chance to be added to an AFL list.
"My personal view has always been that it would be great to bring players from outside the AFL system onto lists," he said.
"I love the thought of … grabbing a player from West Perth who can come in and play.
"I like that thought of topping up the list, but also a bit of romance of someone coming from the second tier competition into a team."
Tippett decided to hang up his boots after 178 games – 104 with Adelaide and 78 with the Swans – following an ankle reconstruction in the off-season.