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.
Dyson hasn’t played a lot of football in the past few years. Former coach Matthew Knights lost confidence in him at the start of 2010 and he played only nine games. Last season he was a stand out in the VFL before finally getting a call-up from James Hird in Round 16. He then went on to play six games.
So far this season he has already played five matches and is arguably in career-best form, averaging 20 disposals. The 100-gamer, unrestricted free agent looks to be in around James Hird’s best 22 and should stay on to continue his career at the Bombers.
The oldest player in the game will not be going anywhere. The 37-year old’s whole life has been at Essendon, starting with his father Ken. Fletcher has already started a light coaching role at Windy Hill and if he doesn’t retire at the end of this season, he certainly will the next.
Hille could definitely appeal to some clubs. He is almost 31-years old and is injury-prone, but the 2008 Essendon Best & Fairest certainly could contribute to a side such as Hawthorn, who could use some ruck experience until some young talent comes up. He could also help out Max Bailey.
As he has been at the club for over 10 years, he is an unrestricted free agent, and this one could slip through the Bombers’ hands. However, players like Tom Bellchambers are the future at Essendon. I’m tipping Hille to leave.
It’s not very well-known, but the 29-year old was originally rookie listed by Collingwood before being delisted and re-drafted by Essendon in 2003.
He is an unrestricted free agent and despite being in the tail-end of his career, he may attract some interest from former coach Kevin Sheedy at the GWS Giants. However I think the 125 gamer will stick with the Dons, especially will some good times in the non-distant future.
The number 9 draft pick from the 1998 draft will stay with Essendon. McVeigh has played 230 odd games and should sign a new one-year deal. There won’t be any interest in the 31-year old unrestricted free agent.
Monfries is set to begin contract negotiations with Essendon and is expected to sign a new three-year deal. The Dons’ leading goalkicker in 2010 is a key player and must be retained at all costs. He is a restricted free agent.
The 26-year old is yet to play a game this season and could attract some interest. Slattery has played 94 games for the Bombers and could be tempted with a return home to South Australia. He is unrestricted however I expect him to stay with the club.
Like Monfries, Stanton is set to begin contract negotiations for a new three-year deal. Despite copping it from certain Essendon fans early last year, Stanton has risen above it to become possibly their best player.
James Hird gave him the famous number five so he is obviously a favourite.If negotiations stall, I can see a cashed-up club coming in and stealing him. However I don’t think they will so he’ll stay with the Dons.
The Bombers have a few worries but if they want those players enough they’ll certainly get their way. Their biggest risk is David Hille, however as we have seen so far this season, they can cover him with young talent.
Photo of David Hille appears under the Creative Commons
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Source: Flickr.com, User: bok-choy