AFTER the completion of the 2012 AFL season the league will be revolutionised by the introduction of free agency.
For eligible players this will give them the ability to leave their current club, bypassing the draft and trade periods, and essentially pick their next employer themselves. For the AFL, this will be an unprecedented change.
In the lead up to the introduction of free agency Football Nation is running a series of articles by guest writer Sam Mills that will focus on what free agency will do to your club at the end of the season.
At 25-years of age, Bate can still be a key part in this Melbourne side. Mark Neeld resisted attempts from the Western Bulldogs to trade him after only playing seven games for the whole 2011 season, thinking the same thing. However he has played only seven games so far this season, and with Melbourne looking to develop younger players, he may not get many more. Bate is an unrestricted free agent, and the possibility of him leaving is likely.
Dunn is in a similar situation to Bate. He is 25-years old as well and didn’t play much last year. Predicting that he would get more game time under a new coach, Dunn stuck with the club. I believe Dunn needs a new home and a fresh start. He is a talented player but many of his eight games this year have been as a sub. He is an unrestricted free agent and will most probably leave the club in some way or another.
The fomer Dees captain is now 31-years old, and it is hard to see him playing on next season, especially with Melbourne’s youth policy coming into place. The 2010 Best & Fairest’s 2012 season has been marred so far by injury, playing only six games so far. Is an unrestricted free agent.
The 2011 Best & Fairest has not been in good form so far this season, but wants to re-sign with Melbourne. Other clubs may make a play for the restricted free agent, but it is unlikely to amount to much.
Rivers looks likely to re-sign with the Dees. The 2004 Rising Star winner has played 139 games and has come out in the press stating he wants to add to that. He is an unrestricted free agent.
Melbourne don’t have too much to worry about. They have locked away All Australian ruckman Mark Jamar and the two other key free agents in Molney and Rivers say they want to stay. Bate and Dunn are major probabilities of leaving, however blooding younger players in those positions would probably help the club more.
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