THE AFL National Draft will be held across two days for the first time in its history this year, while clubs will also be permitted to trade live picks.
Foxfooty.com.au understands the event will be staged on November 22 and 23 at Etihad Stadium, which will by then be known as Marvel Stadium.
The exact details of the draft will be released in the near future, but the first round of the draft will be televised on Fox Footy on Thursday November 22, while the rest of the picks will take place the next morning. The rookie draft will then be held on the Friday afternoon.
Tasmania was considered as a possible host following Gold Coast, Sydney and Adelaide drafts over the past four years, but Melbourne won out and will stage the marquee event for the first time since 2009.
That 2009 draft was also the first intake which was held at night. Previously it was a Saturday morning event that garnered far less publicity than it does now.
This will be the fifth time the National Draft is held at Etihad Stadium but the first since 2008.
Live trading of picks is a substantial change for the AFL, which has moved to Americanise the system and bring it closer to the NBA and NFL models.
In-draft trading allows clubs to compute the value of the picks they want on the run and will create a fluid and more entertaining environment.
“I think the Trade Period will probably work similarly to how it is now, so there will be picks and players going around October 20,” Hawthorn list manager Graham Wright told the club’s website recently.
“Then I think the way it will work is you’ll be able to trade picks basically after that period of time, where players stop, all the way through to the draft and in the draft. It will be an exciting and new phase in what the draft will look like.”
The trade period has also been revamped and will conclude in prime time on Wednesday October 17, instead of 2pm as has been the case in recent years.
The extra exposure of a night time finish will allow broadcasters to televise the frantic closing minutes. Last year Josh Schache was traded to the Western Bulldogs with barely two minutes to spare and every year there are deals that come down to the wire.
The AFL wrote to clubs on Wednesday, notifying them the trade period will begin at 10am on October 8 and finish at 8.30pm on October 17.
It will be preceded by the restricted and unrestricted free agency window, which commences at 9am on Friday October 5 and wrap up at 5pm the following Friday.
The trade week is marginally shorter than it has been in the past.
Clubs are believed to be in favour of live pick trading and a primetime trade period climax.