A lot of uncertainty came with the introduction of the new Australian Football League (AFL) franchise Greater Western Sydney (GWS). As seen in the previous season with the Gold Coast Suns, players were able to be ‘poached’ from other clubs with the clubs who lost players receiving one or two compensation picks.
The news of Tom Scully defecting from Melbourne, the club who drafted him No.1 overall two years ago, should not be a surprise. There was no way Melbourne was willing to match the $6 million over 6 year deal put forth by GWS, with $2 million being paid in the first year. Many Melbourne faithful were outraged by a player only drafted two years before leaving so easily. But Melbourne fans shouldn’t be hasty at thinking they were the ones left punished.
Melbourne has received two picks in lieu of Scully leaving; a first round pick selection and a mid first round selection. The first round selection will fall after their initial first pick. So if Melbourne receives pick 9 in the draft, it could use this compensatory pick at pick 10. The mid first round pick will be slotted in after the pick of the team who just missed the finals, which is likely to be around 11-15, depending on how teams use their picks. The bonus of these picks is they can be used anywhere between the 2012-2015 drafts.
With this in mind, the 2012 draft is shaping to be a ‘Super Draft’ – a draft stacked with immense talent that will help a club like Melbourne, who is rebuilding for the future. Having a total of three picks in the first round will certainly give the team an advantage over other teams in the same position. Alternatively, having three bargaining chips in trade week will certainly help bringing high quality players from other teams to the club.
Now let’s take a quick look at what Melbourne lost – Tom Scully. Having played 31 games for the club, the midfielder missed several games because of a knee injury; one that Dr Peter Larkins believes may hinder him from playing a full season. Scully had surgery on his left knee before he was drafted, and that injury plagued him this season, allowing him to only play 10 games.
So while many Melbourne fans may be up in arms about the prospect of losing their prized player, it appears things are not as bad as they seem.