The AFL has refused a priority pick to cellar dweller clubs Carlton and Brisbane in this year’s draft.
Despite both clubs ending the season with just four wins and applying to the league for the leg up, the AFL Commission has ruled against awarding extra picks to either club.
AFL football boss Mark Evans and general counsel Andrew Dillon recommended against awarding a pick to either last-placed Carlton or second-bottom Brisbane under the AFL’s special assistance rule.
The rule says priority picks are only awarded “in exceptional circumstances taking into account a recommendation from the AFL executive, the recent on-field performance of a club and any other matter the commission in its absolute discretion regards relevant”.
It was the commission’s view that neither club met the “exceptional circumstances” threshold for the extra assistance.
Carlton won the wooden spoon on percentage from Brisbane, which is arguably the biggest problem club for the AFL, given the club’s precarious financial state and drain of playing talent in recent years.
The Blues, who won an elimination final just two seasons ago, were much derided for their application for a priority pick.
Earlier this month, Blues chief executive Steven Trigg argued for the extra selection as he believed it would help both the club and league.
“We certainly believe that Carlton should be given strong consideration on this by the AFL Commission,” he said.
“Moreover, a priority selection will obviously assist our rebuild by helping Carlton improve quicker and a competitive Carlton is vital for a healthy AFL competition.”
On Wednesday, Trigg defended the decision on the basis that if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
“Our members want our football club to be competitive and that’s what we are building towards,” he said.
“In the absence of defined criteria, it was obviously worth asking the question, and I believe that’s what our members would expect,” Trigg said.
“We are prepared to put in the hard work required to build Carlton back up but, if some assistance was there to help accelerate that process, then we needed to explore the opportunity.”
The Blues and Lions have picks No.1 and No.2 respectively in November’s national draft and are expected to select key defender Jacob Weitering and key forward Josh Schache.