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Verdict looms on 2020 pre-season trade period

Draft Invitees lineup for the yoyo test during the 2019 AFL Draft Combine. - Geelong Cats,Tag-Draft
Draft Invitees lineup for the yoyo test during the 2019 AFL Draft Combine.

CLUBS expect to know by Friday whether there will be a pre-season trade period introduced next year. 

The AFL met with representatives from all clubs on Monday before the start of this week's Telstra AFL Trade Period, informing recruiters that the League needed more time before confirming plans for the historic addition to the player movement landscape.

The AFL is tipped to bring in the period – which would fall between the end of the JLT Community Series and round one – after support for a mid-season trade period was limited.

But a number of clubs were hopeful a decision would be made ahead of the opening of this month's exchange period, with some noting they could be making decisions on acquiring or cutting players without knowing if there will be another trading frenzy before the start of the 2020 campaign.

Whether there would be a pre-season trade period could also be a factor in how many list spots clubs kept open, according to some list managers. 

League representatives told clubs that they would have an answer by the end of this week.

Clarification has also been sought by a number of clubs on the detail behind the AFL's assistance package handed to Gold Coast.

The Suns were last week officially awarded the No.1 pick as part of a suite of draft picks and benefits, including "expanded" Academy access to Darwin as a new zone and the ability to pre-sign Suns Academy players without having to match bids under the points system. 

Some clubs were confused as to whether the ruling started this season or in 2020, but with it beginning this year, there have also been other questions about the technicalities of pre-signing players to different lists and their eligibility in still nominating for the draft.

For instance, the Suns now have first access to Northern Territory speedster Malcolm Rosas, who tested well at last week's NAB AFL Draft Combine.

But if Gold Coast only wants to list him as a rookie, then Rosas will still be up for grabs in the national draft for rival clubs, similar to how the father-son system works for clubs who don't want to take their nominated father-son candidates in the national draft but want to select them as rookies. 

NT prospect Malcolm Rosas in action at the NAB AFL Draft Combine. Picture: AFL Photos

The Suns stand to benefit immediately from their automatic Academy selections, with speedy defender/midfielder Connor Budarick this year. 

Next year they will also be able to pre-list tall midfielder Alex Davies, who had shaped as a likely early pick before the AFL's adjusted rules to help the Suns.

Alex Davies gets a handball away playing for the Australian U17 side in April. Picture: AFL Photos

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs