North Melbourne has reportedly been granted future draft picks as part of a special assistance package from the AFL – but there’s a catch.
The Kangaroos will need to trade those picks for listed players as part of the deal, which is aimed to make the club.
The deal is not dissimilar to the “rescue package” handed out to the Gold Coast Suns back in 2019 – but on that occasion, the Suns were given pick 1 (Matt Rowell) and the first pick of the second round (which ended up being traded to Carlton so they could move up the draft to secure Sam Flanders).
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They were also dealt a first-round pick for 2020 and the first pick of the 2021 draft’s second round – both of which they traded, and allowed an expanded rookie list.
The Age reports the AFL has handed North Melbourne second and third round picks for 2023, plus the ability to have two additional rookies on the list.
It is believed those 2023 picks need to be used in trades this year – or they “would cease to exist”.
The assistance package could be great news for a number of clubs looking to improve their draft hand like Fremantle, with defender Griffin Logue already keen to get to Arden Street on a five-year deal.
Logue informed the club last week of his intent to depart, calling it the “hardest decision” he’s had to make.
AFL premiership coach Mick Malthouse said Logue’s decision to leave made “no sense” given Fremantle played finals in 2022 and are on the rise.
But Fremantle are likely to be buoyed by North’s bolstered draft hand when making a trade deal next month.
Just last month North Melbourne pleaded with the AFL for help to be more competitive, given they’ve won just nine of their past 61 games in the last three seasons.
The Roos have claimed back-to-back wooden spoons and narrowly missed adding to the trifecta in 2020 when they landed above the Adelaide Crows by percentage only.
But now they’ve landed premiership winning coach Alastair Clarkson as part of a new era at the club.
It’s not the first time the AFL has had to step in to help a struggling club outside of the Roos and Suns, with Carlton (2018) and Brisbane (2016) also receiving assistance.
North Melbourne’s request to have the AFL allow the club special access to Tasmanian draft prospects was shut down last week.