Imagine if Lance Franklin could be poached due to salary cap restrictions being lifted.
Photo: Getty Images
The AFL's trade period is only half way through but if you are starting to get bored and frustrated now, imagine if…
1. There was no salary cap at all
Imagine, Hawthorn fans, that you've just woken from the kind of slumber you only get when you're totally at ease with your footy club's immediate future. Then you check Twitter: "Buddy Franklin signs a 10-year, $254 million deal with Collingwood." That was the situation confronting St Louis Cardinals fans in August, as star slugger Albert Pujols defected to the Los Angeles Angels for an ungodly amount of money. Major League Baseball doesn't have a salary cap, instead preferring a luxury tax for clubs that go over a certain threshold. Of course, rich clubs like the Yankees tend to go over that threshold often, creating a massive disparity between the haves and have nots. Luckily for us, the AFL forbids such wanton disregard for fairness and fiscal responsibility.
2. We had filthy rich private owners
Gina Rinehart decides this AFL caper isn't so bad after all, and on a whim she buys the Eagles. Now, with her personal piggybank at hand, West Coast launches a raid of the most talented players in the land, signing them up for six-figure weekly wages and throwing millions in transfer fees at their former clubs. Scott Pendlebury? Here's $250,000-a-week to sunbathe at Scarborough, and the Magpies get $20 million for their troubles. But what will the Magpies do with that $20 million? Unfortunately their owner, some tech magnate from India, needs to pay down debt from a business concern he folded into the club. Sorry Joffa, but you just lost Pendles for peanuts. Them's the breaks when the crazy rich take over.
3. The AFL was locked out
Gee, those private owners aren't too happy with the way the AFL's revenue is being divvied up. What are they to do? Obvious! Lock the players out, threaten to cancel the season and wait for the AFLPA to bend to their will. That is the paradox NHL fans are currently trying to swallow: even though there's more money than ever before, there's not enough to go round. So the AFL goes on hiatus indefinitely. Most players enter the state leagues to keep sharp, but Nic Naitanui joins the Wildcats on a short stint instead. Whoops, he's blown out his knee on a crossover dribble. Gina's scowl grows darker. May comes and goes, and fans feel helpless as their anger is appropriated as propaganda by both parties. Thankfully, the closest most AFL fans will come to a lockout is in Dream Team.
4. There was a lottery to decide pick one
Andrew Demetriou glances at the folded paper in his hand, lets the suspense hang in the air a moment more, then says: "The team to pick first in the 2012 NAB AFL draft is... Essendon." Immediately, howls of outrage fill the air. "But they already get Joe Daniher!" the crowd cries. "They were top four until round 15! They probably just tanked! This is all The Weapon's fault!" Undaunted, Demetriou withdraws another piece of paper. "The team to pick second is...Carlton." Cue world exploding. This is how it works in the NBA, where every side that misses the post-season is entered into a lottery for the first three picks. GWS, the wooden-spooners, would land pick four at the absolute worst, but any team outside the top eight could get their grubby mitts on Lachie Whitfield with a little luck. A draft lottery is brought up every time the tanking debate kicks into gear, but is this really a preferable scenario? We don't think so.
5. The draft was 50 rounds deep
Draft speculation is a pain as it is. But how would you go reading a list of players likely to fall to the 40th round? Or what about working up that mock draft for the first 300 picks, or arguing what position your club should fill with pick 583? That's how it is in the MLB, where high school and college-aged players from all over are drafted in to baseball's convoluted system of feeder teams and minor leagues. Imagine watching the telecast into its second day, as weary list managers long devoid of enthusiasm scrape the bottom of the barrel for their final selections. Yeah, we'll pass.
6. It all happened again in June
All this rumour and guesswork and Chinese whispering – imagine if we had to do it all over again midway through the season. Uhh, no thank you! Even if trade week has to last for a month, at least it only happens once a year. There are few sports news agendas quite as irritating as the biannual football transfer window. Just as soon as the one closes, speculation for the next begins. Imagine, first week of November and the Herald Sun is already telling you that Travis Boak is having second thoughts. Will he jump ship in the June window? We don't know and we don't care.
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of BigPond Sport.
Draft and trade features from the vault:
• Trades from hell: Top 10 disasters
• Trades from hell: Docker shockers
• Trades from hell: Past their prime
• Trades from hell: Bad boys
• Draft busts: Wasted trades
• Draft busts: First-round picks
• Draft busts: No.1 picks
• Draft busts: Pick No.6
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