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Free agency review on hold as clubs push for change

Callum Twomey  January 31, 2013 4:23 PM

AFL 2013 Training - Essendon 090113

Brendon Goddard joined the Bombers as a free agent last year

THE AFL'S review into the first year of free agency is on hold until the season starts, as clubs push for a change in the timing and length of the period.

Football managers met before Christmas and discussed the process of last year's first free agency period, and there was strong support to delay the starting time of this year's period.

The open forum heard free agency could start a week later than last year and be cut from three weeks to a fortnight.

Some also believed the trade period should be cut back to two weeks, and overlap with the free agency period for one week. This would make for an overall period of three weeks instead of four in 2012.

The review seems unlikely to begin in full until the AFL completes its search for a new football operations boss.

Last year the free agency period started on the Monday after the Grand Final and ran for three weeks, the first week alongside the NAB AFL Draft Combine.

It has been noted a week's delay would provide a better opportunity for clubs to focus on the combine, as well as allow clubs competing in the Grand Final enough time to properly prepare for the free agency window.  

Brendon Goddard was the highest profile restricted free agent last year, and Essendon tabled an official offer to the St Kilda utility on the opening morning of the free agency period.

He joined the Bombers only hours later after the Saints declined to match Essendon's offer.

It kicked off a flurry of activity in the first week of free agency before a lull in proceedings.

A decision to shorten the period would need to be made in consultation with the AFL Players' Association, that wishes to maximise the opportunities players have to move clubs.

The AFL has yet to communicate with clubs on this season's free agency plans, with the League still formalising its revamped football operations unit.

Following the departure of Adrian Anderson in December, Gillon McLachan was appointed stand-in boss of football operations. The role of long-time administrator Rod Austin, who left the AFL last year, is also yet to be filled.

Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey.