FORMULATING a workable mid-season player movement model will be the first priority of the AFL's competition committee.
The AFL announced on Wednesday it would establish a new broad-based committee that would replace the laws of the game committee, the player movement advisory panel and the League's other advisory boards and committees.
AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking said the competition committee would be comprised of 10-15 members of the football industry, who would be drawn from club presidents, CEOs, senior coaches, players, football managers and list managers, and the AFL Players' Association.
The committee's main areas of responsibility will be:
- The game (laws, officiating, rules and regulations).
- Player movement (the drafts, trading, free agency and list management).
- Competition structure (the fixture, scheduling, feeder and second-tier competitions, talent pathways, and events such as AFLX and International Rules).
Hocking said he hoped to announce the members of the committee within three weeks, with its first meeting likely to occur in mid-to-late April.
The League's footy boss confirmed on Wednesday a mid-season trade period or draft would not be introduced this season, saying it was "too difficult" for clubs to prepare for such a change now.
However, Hocking said investigating a suitable mid-season player movement model for 2019 would be the new committee's first priority once it had been established and set out its own operating rules.
Hocking acknowledged a mid-season trade period could arouse concerns about tanking or one-sided games if lower-ranked teams weakened their lists for the second half of the season by trading senior players.
But Hocking was confident such concerns could be adequately addressed.
"I think with all of this in isolation definitely you could look at that and say that (tanking or one-sided games) might be a by-product of that," Hocking said.
"It's then what you do at the back-end of the season, so that doesn't happen. It's how you keep that team engaged in the season – there's a range of different things you can do.
"I'm smiling because I've got some stuff in my head, but I'm not going to share it now."
Asked whether the AFL could introduce a lottery similar to that used in America's NBA to determine the early selections in the NAB AFL Draft, Hocking said simply: "Who knows?"
"It's about landing on the thing that is right for the industry," he said.
Hocking also said the role of the runner would be "one of the things on notice" for the committee.
The League declined to implement the restrictions trialled in the JLT Community Series – runners were only allowed on the ground after goals and during quarter breaks – for this year's home and away season.
But the committee will review that ahead of the 2019 season.
Hocking said any changes for next season would be communicated to clubs by October.
Unlike many of the AFL's existing committees, the competition committee will not comprise past players who aren't directly working at a club or in another role aimed at "progressing the game".
In this regard, Hocking noted it was important for the committee to balance preserving the competition's heritage with ensuring the game progresses.
The members of the competition committee will be selected by AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, commissioner Jason Ball, Hocking and head of competitions and player movement Josh Vanderloo.
An AFL commissioner and Hocking will chair the committee, which will meet three times in 2018 and four times a year thereafter.
Its meetings will be held shortly before AFL Commission meetings, with its brief to put recommendations on key projects to the AFL executive and, if they pass that scrutiny, to the Commission.
The Commission will retain final decision-making authority.