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.
Blake won’t leave St Kilda for another club, that’s for sure. The real question is whether he will stay at the club or retire at seasons end. He has played 12 games so far this season and I’m leaning towards him staying for another season. Another question to be answered is will the unrestricted free agent pick up one Brownlow vote, as he currently holds the record for the most games without a vote. You’d hope that he’d notch one up this season.
The unrestricted free agent who is commonly known by supporters for his inability to dispose the ball effectively has only played three matches this season and 85 games in total. He is now 26-years old and doesn’t look to be a part of Scott Watters’ plans for St Kilda and will probably leave the club, through free agency or being delisted.
This is the other major contract that is up for renewal, along with Collingwood’s Travis Cloke. Goddard has said numerous times that he wants to re-sign with the club since the start of the season, but this hasn’t stopped the rumours of a move to the Giants. I’m expecting that he will remain at the club, however I can see a club like Collingwood if they do lose Cloke try and lure him away with big money. He is a restricted free agent, which will make it easier for St Kilda.
The restricted free agent is 28-years old and is still in St Kilda’s best 22 so you would imagine the club would re-sign him. An up and coming side like Melbourne may be tempted to sway him away from the Linen House Centre with big dollars, as we all know what he is like at his best, but I think he’ll stay loyal with the Saints.
Hayes hasn’t even finished his playing career, yet he is already a Saints legend. The unrestricted free agent has played 258 games and may be looking to get to 300 within the next few years, however that may be too far out of sight. St Kilda will be hoping that their favourite son will play on for at least another year, however the 32-year old may want to retire. I think he’ll play on, especially due to the Saints exciting young list.
It seems like Koschitzke has been around for ages, but has never reached his full potential. He is now 29-years old and an unrestricted free agent. As a key forward, he is definitely not known for his goalkicking record, as he has only 240 goals from 192 games, but he is a key cog in the Saints side, despite the many injuries along the way. He will re-sign with St Kilda.
The 32-year old unrestricted free agent is still in top form, booting 41 goals from 17 games so far this season. As of this season he also holds the record for the most goals kicked at Etihad Stadium. Retirement shouldn’t tempt the the 32-year old as of yet and the Saints would love to keep him.
St Kilda’s only main worry is Brendon Goddard, however as mentioned he has repeatedly said that he wants to remain at the club. St Kilda have a very exciting future under Scott Watters and if any of these players were to leave now they would miss out on it, and I’m not sure any of them would want to do that after the disappointments of 2009 and 2010.
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