Ditch it: Chris Scott says the free agency process is ''distasteful'', and should be scrapped. Photo: Pat Scala
Chris Scott has responded to speculation that Geelong is in the running to land Demon James Frawley by describing free agency as a ''distasteful'' process that is detrimental to loyalty and one he would like to see scrapped.
''I don't think there are many people – maybe other than some of the players – that like free agency,'' the Cats coach said on Tuesday. ''I think all this is a little bit distasteful, and I think it's a bit disrespectful to the individuals involved. I understand you're entitled to ask the question, but out of respect for the individual players we're not going to engage in any more comment about it.''
Asked how he would combat the sort of frenzy that has seen Frawley touted as an $800,000 a season prospect in search of a seven-year deal on football's open market, and linked to more than half the clubs in the competition, Scott said: ''The easiest solution is to abolish free agency.''
While Geelong has had preliminary talks with Frawley's management, Scott was damning of a system – now in its third year – which he said clearly is welcomed by the media and perhaps by the AFL, but not by the Cats.
''I think right at the moment the AFL is working really hard with the clubs and with all the stakeholders to equalise the competition and give everyone a fair chance, and I think free agency flies squarely in the face of that,'' Scott said. ''Unfortunately we've been dragged into a specific situation here, but we don't want to inflame it any more than it has been, and purely that's out of respect for the individuals involved.''
Asked what he made of former Demon great Garry Lyon's contention that his old club should make a move on Steven Motlop, Scott said the Cats were as well versed as any on the realities of the modern climate – not just in relation to player movement.
''This is something we got our head around a long time ago. Garry might have been in hibernation for the last four or five years, but Geelong's been attacked pretty hard – not just at a player level, but with its coaches, with its administrators, with a chef at one point. This is the era that we live in.
''There's been a move to promote more player movement and probably more staff movement across clubs. We don't need to speculate on a hypothetical with Motlop because we've lived through it with [Gary] Ablett, we've lived through it with [Harry] Taylor, we've lived through it with [chief executive] Brian Cook and [football manager] Neil Balme and [assistant coach] Steve Hocking and [recruiter] Stephen Wells.
''We aren't in favour of it, but we understand that's the reality. We're trying to take a mature approach to it and move on.''
Scott conceded that the free agency mechanism was ''a lot more complex than I'm making out, but just from my simplistic view of it, I think that without free agency we would have more loyalty, and it would make it more difficult for players to cherry pick the clubs they would like to play with.
''We're probably underrating a few really good players across the competition – I think history shows that most really good players, given a choice, would play at one club for their whole career.''