Ablett deal puts compensation in spotlight

Gary Ablett will link up with Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood in a star-studded Cats midfield. (AAP)

Richmond football boss Neil Balme has questioned the AFL's free agency compensation method which paved the way for Gary Ablett's trade to Geelong.

The free agency compensation system that paved the way for Gary Ablett's trade to Geelong remains a source of confusion for leading AFL figures.

Ablett will link up with Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood in a star-studded Cats midfield after Gold Coast agreed to trade the dual Brownlow Medallist, with minutes to spare before Thursday's deadline.

The 33-year-old was always likely to end up at Kardinia Park but the transaction was smoothed by the departure of Geelong free agent Steven Motlop to Port Adelaide.

It was initially expected the Cats would receive a late second-round draft pick as compensation after declining to match the Power's bid.

But they were instead handed a selection at the end of the first round which ended up being pick No.19.

Geelong sent that pick to Gold Coast as part of the Ablett deal, receiving pick No.24 in exchange and also swapping future selections.

The AFL have refused to disclose the exact formula used to determine free agency compensation beyond the fact that it involves the age of the player and the length and value of their new contract.

That has led to frustration for a number of clubs since free agency was introduced at the end of the 2012 season.

Critics have noted that the AFL-owned Suns receiving a first-round draft pick and the marquee return of Ablett to Geelong are both favourable outcomes for the league.

On Friday, Richmond football boss Neil Balme said there was no doubt Geelong's compensation for Motlop had helped them secure the Ablett deal.

"I don't want to seem critical of the system but ... why the hell don't we know what the formula is?" he told SEN radio.

"(The AFL) will say 'you don't know the full (formula) so you can't manipulate the dollars or the term' or whatever.

"But I get the awful feeling it's more the other way."

The week, Brisbane counterpart David Noble confirmed he would demand an explanation from the AFL about the compensation the Lions received for losing free agent Tom Rockliff to the Power.

The Lions received pick No.18 despite Rockliff reportedly being set to earn substantially more than Motlop under their new deals.

"The compensation pick which has evolved with (Jackson) Trengove, Motlop and Rockliff just does not add up at all," Noble told AFL Trade Radio.

"It is secret herbs and spices.

"We don't believe there are enough mechanisms or enough levels in there to give you the understanding."

Source AAP

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