Veteran AFL player James Kelly of Geelong believes a six-year qualification period will encourage more players to join struggling teams. The league’s players’ association is hoping to have the qualification period reduced from the current eight years to six and negotiations on the topic will take place later this year. Kelly feels a shorter period will be better for both clubs and players, especially those who are rebuilding and currently have a hard time signing free agents. Geelong fans may want to back Kelly with their BetEasy AFL Brownlow Medal wager this year.
Kelly recently spoke with the media and stated,
I understand powerful clubs seem to be getting all the good players, but … if you were a 26-, 27-, 28-year-old, you’re not going to want to go to a club that’s in a five-year rebuilding phase because you might not be there for success. A lot of guys are leaving because they want to win games and they want to have success. That’s really why everyone plays. But if you’re giving younger players more of an opportunity to be a part of growing a club, then it’ll become more attractive for them. Then it’s not just about the money, it’s about being a part of a club that’s on the way up rather than trying to chase the cash at a big club and win some games.
Mick Malthouse, the head coach of Carlton, doesn’t like the free-agency system since it’s basically separating the clubs into the haves and the have-nots. He said all of the top clubs get the best free agents and the talent gap between the elite squads and those who are struggling becomes wider because of it. Basically, he feels the powerful clubs are currently monopolizing the free agency market much the way the top European soccer clubs do when it comes to signing players. There are several free-agent signings who could be worth a wager this season with a BetEasy AFL Brownlow Medal bet.
Several AFL head coaches have publicly spoken out on the matter of free agency and it seems their opinions are divided. Kelly feels some of the younger players at top cubs might not be getting a chance to play, but they would do if they were with a weaker side. If the qualification period for free agency was cut to six years they’d then have the opportunity to move elsewhere for increased playing time. He believes players know where they stand with their clubs after three or four years and they may realize it would be a good career decision to move elsewhere. Don’t forget to back your favourite league players in 2015 with a BetEasy AFL Brownlow Medal wager.