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Hocking admits mid-season trade period could be "exciting" part of game's future


AFL football boss Steve Hocking says he’s a fan of exploring the possibility of introducing player movement during the season, including the introduction of a mid-season trade period.

The second mid-season draft took place a fortnight ago, with Hawthorn’s pick two Jai Newcombe impressing in his AFL debut on Friday night.

The likes of Richmond premiership player Marlion Pickett and Collingwood’s John Noble have made an impact since joining their respective clubs in the inaugural mid-season draft two years ago.

Hocking said allowing clubs to add players at the midway point of the season provided an added layer of flexibility for the competition.

“I really liked (the mid-season draft),” he said on SEN’s Crunch Time.

“It was first introduced in 2019 and there’s a range of players that have contributed to the game. John Noble, Will Snelling and Marlion Pickett (have all played plenty of footy) and this really excited me and my team.

“You look at someone like Jai Newcombe last night and playing his first game a week after being taken (in the draft), it shows that second tier competitions can support the elite competition and those opportunities are available.

“Clubs are in that head space that they can elevate their list during a season, Hawthorn fans will watch Jai (Newcombe) for the rest of the season and be really excited about it.

“I think where we can, having the ability to access players and provide them opportunities to play the AFL – we should be doing that.”

A mid-season trade period has long been a talking point in footy circles and Hocking admitted it would be something that the AFL would look in it to try given clubs more incentives to compete.

He conceded the practicalities around introducing in-season player movement had to be work through, but said more player movement would “add to our game”.

“It’s something that we definitely need to continue to explore,” he said when asked about the possibility of a mid-season trade period being introduced.

“I’m on the record being supportive of (a mid-season trade period), it provides clubs with the ability to potentially compete throughout the year.

“There’s a range of players across clubs that just aren’t playing AFL football, could we potentially provide opportunities to them?

“Those are all things that need to be explored and we’ll work with the AFLPA and the clubs on that about whether it’ll be able to be achieved, I’m more than willing to acknowledge it’s an exciting part of our future.

“There’s a range of things to consider – whether you could be trading draft picks at that time as well – there’s a number of things to be considered when it comes with that but I think it adds to our game.”

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