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Evans suggests changes to free agency, Academy selections

Mark Evans on SEN 15/07 Gold Coast SUNS CEO spoke to Garry Lyon and Nick Riewoldt on SEN Breakfast.

Gold Coast SUNS CEO Mark Evans believes there are many options available to the AFL to help speed up the process of a club’s rebuild.

Evans was on SEN on Monday morning speaking to Garry Lyon and Nick Riewoldt, and discussed the potential mechanisms which would allow the Gold Coast to accelerate its climb up the AFL ladder.

“To me, the competition still has to ask itself the right questions,” Evans said.

“If we forget about the SUNS for a moment and talk about Carlton or Melbourne’s or Brisbane’s rebuild, do we want that to be seven years at the bottom?

“If the answer to that is we would like it to be a bit shorter, then what are the mechanisms that we can use to do that?

“The things that have been done in the past were certainly around assistance at the draft.” 

Last year the SUNS were granted access to three state-league players prior to the draft, but Evans said there was more the AFL could do to help. 

“I would have thought there might be a raft of measures here that the competition could look at that would aid any team towards the bottom of the ladder as to how they can just regenerate a little bit quicker,” Evans said. 

“One example for me is I think we need to question free agency. 

“It’s not going anywhere; it has to stay and I’m a supporter of it.

“But if a free agent was to go from the bottom couple of teams to the top couple of teams, is it right that the team that has just won a premiership should get that free agent for free? 

“Or should they pay something, and if they pay something could that be added to the league’s compensation pick to the team that’s losing the player? 

“That might play out differently if that player was moving from a club that was eighth to fifth, you might just go with the current rules as they are.”

Another option Evans presented was a re-jig of the current rules surrounding Academy selections at the draft.

“I think there’s other things you could do with the Academy program,” Evans said. 

“Maybe Isaac Heeney if he goes to Sydney while they’re at the top of the ladder they pay full-tote odds through him in the bidding system. 

“But maybe if they’re on the bottom of the ladder they get him for free.

“For me there would need to be a whole range of things you can assess that might shorten the cycle at the bottom.” 

The club is yet to formerly present anything to the AFL, but Evans said that presentation would likely be next month.

The SUNS CEO said the club would also look to bring in more experienced players of great character in the off-season after seeing the effect Luke Hodge has had on the resurgent Lions over the last two years.

“I think that would be a smart thing for us to do,” Evans said on the prospect of adding someone of that ilk. 

“We have brought in some experience, particularly we were interested in making sure this group of young players get nurtured in the right culture. 

“When you get someone like Luke Hodge, not only do you get that but you also get a fierce determination and almost playing a director general on-field as well.

“If we could find a Luke Hodge we certainly would like to add him.”