The Hunter-Freeman Draft System

The idea for the Hunter-Freeman Draft System was developed in 2009 after several seasons of media focus during the final home and away rounds that teams have limited or no incentive to win.

How it differs from the current system

Note: The Hunter-Freeman Draft System focuses on regular draft protocols and does not factor in special considerations such as the admittance of a new team, or the allocation of priority draft selections. Additionally, for the purposes of the examples in this document, the ladder finishing position in 2014 is used to determine positions in the 2015 draft and excludes the modifications made regarding the Essendon incident or any future draft pick trades.

This modified system differs from the current system in the following ways:

  • Teams outside the eight are separated into those that were finalists in the preceding year and those that were not
  • First pick is allocated to the highest ranked non-finalist from the previous year, second pick to the second-highest ranked non-finalist and so on (i.e. from 9th position to 18th position as opposed to 18th to 9th as currently exists). In season 2015, that would mean the first seven draft positions allocated to GWS (1), Colllingwood (2), Melbourne (3), St Kilda (4), Gold Coast (5), Brisbane (6) and Carlton (7)
  • The remainder of the first ten picks are then allocated to teams who made the finals in the preceding year, allocated in reverse order of their finishing position from the previous year. In 2015, that would mean 8th pick to Essendon (7th in 2014), 9th pick to Geelong (5th in 2014) and 10th pick to Port Adelaide (3rd in 2014)

Advantages

  • Higher draft picks will be decided on the basis of teams aiming to win matches
  • Addresses the perception of the media and fans that teams ‘tank’ to improve their draft position
  • The integrity of the competition is protected by encouraging lower-ranked teams to give their best effort in every home and away game
  • Virtually all home & away games have a bearing on the draft order, and therefore a value
  • Removes the ‘guarantee’ of draft positions for a team as draft position is affected by results from all other matches, plus the finishing position from the previous year, will determine draft order
  • Supporters can go to the football and barrack for their team to win, rather than lose
  • Doesn’t advantage good teams who have a bad year at the expense of teams who have missed the finals in consecutive years
  • Teams who have made the finals in the previous year and drop out of the eight will have their draft position determined by their finishing position the previous year, and hence have no incentive to under-perform
  • The ability for broadcasters to televise games that have meaning right until the end of the season
  • First pick may not be determined until late in round 22, and may be secured by a team placed 10th or 11th on the ladder, adding an additional layer of interest for fans of clubs not competing in finals and creativity for the AFL in final round scheduling
  • Concerns from betting agencies regarding the possibility of ‘tanking’ are removed

Benefits

The Hunter-Freeman Draft System preserves the integrity of the competition by re-establishing the focus on winning and removing the capacity for teams to manufacture a specific position in the draft. The game as a whole benefits by removing the preoccupation of the media from ‘tanking’, benefitting broadcasters and betting partners by providing a genuine incentive to win for lower ranked teams, and, most importantly, enables club members and fans to support their club’s genuine endeavours to win.

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