Ex-Eagle Karl Langdon lashes out at ‘absolute rort’ of AFL Rookie Draft

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Catherine HealeyThe West Australian
West Coast were able to put Drew Petrie on their rookie list at age 34.
Camera IconWest Coast were able to put Drew Petrie on their rookie list at age 34. Credit: AFL Photos

Premiership Eagle Karl Langdon has teed off on clubs who place experienced players on their rookie lists, calling the action an “absolute rort” of the AFL’s rules.

Days after Fremantle delisted duo Mitch Crowden and Connor Blakely but pledged to give the pair rookie deals, Langdon didn’t hold back.

“A rookie draft is for picking blokes like Dean Cox, Chad Fletcher, Quinton Lynch; blokes who have never played a game of AFL football,” he said on 6PR.

“They’ve turned this part of the game into an absolute rort.

“It stinks and it’s time that it ends.

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“Rookie – look up the definition. A member of a sports team in their first full season. I’ve got no problem if they want to change the name, but you cannot have blokes we’ve just talked about being put on a rookie list. It makes no sense.”

Langdon’s outrage came after North Melbourne confirmed they’d send their $3.5 million man Jared Polec to the rookie list for 2022.

Polec was signed on a lucrative five-year deal but has fallen out of favour under new coach David Noble.

North’s $3.5m man Jared Polec will play off the rookie list in 2022.
Camera IconNorth’s $3.5m man Jared Polec will play off the rookie list in 2022. Credit: Mark Brake/via AFL Photos

“You know what shouldn’t be allowed? How do you have a bloke that you’ve just described in that scenario, at 29 years of age and has played 141 games of AFL footy and they can put him on as a rookie?” Langdon questioned.

“It’s junk. It’s actually a way to manipulate the system. It’s the AFL’s fault. They’ve allowed it to happen.”

Langdon’s co-host Paul Hasleby agreed the rookie list was being used for the wrong purpose.

Connor Blakely is heading to Fremantle’s rookie list.
Camera IconConnor Blakely is heading to Fremantle’s rookie list. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

“I don’t even know why we have it,” he said.

“A lot of the time it’s on the back of poor list management decisions.

“You have to do it because they are contracted. They deserve to be paid and because you are paying them, they deserve to be on the list.

“You can essentially do it to any player.”

A host of big name players have headed to the rookie list in recent years, with none bigger than 331-gamer Eddie Betts when he landed back at Carlton for 2021.

Geelong used veteran defender Lachie Henderson off their rookie list for the past two years before he retired last month, while West Coast were able to land Drew Petrie on their rookie list at the age of 34 after 316 games for the Kangaroos.

“How can it continue to happen? It makes no sense,” Langdon said.

“It just does my head in.”

Under AFL rules, clubs can shift players on the senior list to the rookie list in the time between the national and rookie drafts if the player is contracted for 2022.

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