THIS year's AFL draft has been dubbed the "most compromised in history".
What that means is that for the most part several top prospects already have their destinations locked in.
Ten hopefuls - including East Warrnambool export Jamarra Ugle-Hagan - are tied to clubs.
Ugle-Hagan is linked to the eighth-placed Western Bulldogs through the club's next generation academy.
It means the club will likely get to select a player likened to Sydney Swans superstar Lance Franklin despite the prospect of playing finals footy.
That said, draft rules allow other clubs to bid on father-son and academy products. The parent club then can choose to either match a bid or pass depending on the circumstances. More often than not, particularly with high picks, clubs choose to match.
This is a tough argument but there's a case to make that next generation academies are compromising the integrity of footy.
Clubs, which are basically zoned areas across the nation in which they can develop talent and then draft in later years, do the work and should get reward for that.
Clubs are not at fault. But maybe the system is.
There's an old footy adage which says: "You can only beat who is in front of you".
In principle, it applies to next generation academies too.
Clubs can only work within a set system of rules to get the best outcome. All of them will - as using the system to an advantage will hopefully translate to on-field success.
We talk about integrity in the competition - based on (this year's draft) it's lost its integrity.Ross Lyon
Sometimes decisions need to be considered at a higher level though, and perhaps that's something the AFL needs to weigh up.
Former St Kilda and Fremantle coach Ross Lyon last month said the integrity of the competition was at stake with several picks already in the hands of clubs.
"We talk about integrity in the competition - based on (this year's draft) it's lost its integrity," he said.
"There's something wrong and my view is to get rid of the father-son rule.
"Let's get equality in the competition. We've got too many clubs struggling."
Of the 10 young guns already tied to clubs in the upcoming draft, five could be heading to clubs who play finals. The AFL's draft model is designed to ensure clubs which struggle can access high draft picks and that's supposed to help them avoid extended stints at the bottom of the ladder and outside finals contention.
It doesn't always work - see Carlton's awful run through the 2000s and mid-to-late 2010s as an example.
But without the first pick of talent, Melbourne would never have climbed out of the doldrums it found itself in at the turn of the last decade.
The same could be said for Brisbane Lions, who aggressively hit the rebuild button when they sacked Justin Leppitsch and appointed Chris Fagan in 2017.
South Warrnambool and Allansford export Hugh McCluggage, who was selected with pick three in the 2016 draft, has been a vital part of the Lions' rise up the ladder. He wasn't tied to a club through father-son or academy.
It's enough to suggest a soccer or rugby league style academy system doesn't fit a sport which utilises a draft.
Adelaide, North Melbourne and potentially Sydney will be looking to the draft with hope this year as they're about to enter or continue a rebuilding phase.
Is the academy system and father-son just something clubs have to deal with? Or should the AFL revert to a true level playing field?
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