‘Absolute farce’ – AFL legend Kane Cornes criticises Rookie Draft


Former Port Adelaide player Kane Cornes believes that AFL clubs are manipulating the Rookie Draft and its rules.

On Wednesday, delisted AFL players and those who missed out on the National Draft were given another chance of making it onto a list.

The Rookie Draft allows clubs to offer players and prospects one-year deals as opposed to the minimum contract of two.

Of the maximum 41 players that could’ve been drafted through the Rookie Draft, 12 new players were selected.

The remaining 29 selections were made up of pre-listed academy players as well as AFL players being re-drafted by their clubs.

Cornes thinks that sides are steering the rules in their favour and not enough prospects are getting an opportunity to live out their dream.

“The rookie draft and the rookie rules is an absolute farce and something the AFL needs to do something about,” Cornes said on SEN.

“It’s been exploited by clubs and the AFL have allowed it to happen.

“To see only (12) new players get selected. Phil Davis was selected as a rookie. He’s played 192 games. Ed Curnow would you be believe is an AFL rookie, he’s 33. It’s his 16th season, he’s played 204 games.

“Connor Blakely, 25, 78 games as a rookie. Paul Seedsman is 30 years of age, is a rookie.”

Cornes mentioned some of the names that were given opportunities as a rookie as youngster that turned the chance into an impressive career.

“Bring it back to what it originally was and that was players between the ages of 18 and 23, they sit on your list, they develop, clubs can take a risk with you. And you don’t get an opportunity until there’s a long-term injury. That was a great rule.

“I loved the rookie list. Brogan, Priddis, Gibson, Kirk… That’s how those players got their opportunity.”

Not to mention Western Bulldog champion Matthew Boyd and West Coast duo Dean Cox (pick 28, 1999) and Jeremy McGovern (pick 44, 2010).

The 300-game legend (Cornes) also expressed his frustration that there were too few selections across the entirety of the 2022 AFL Draft, which saw 59 prospects taken at the National Draft.

“Little bit disappointing to see only 59 players were selected in total in the National Draft… the numbers are dwindling year-on-year,” Cornes said.

“In total, we got 72 new players having an AFL opportunity. That’s four per club, it’s not enough. They need to change the rules.

“I don’t think it’s a hard problem to solve.”

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