THE AFL's marathon trade period is leaving players in the dark about their future, according to the Brisbane Lions' national talent manager, Rob Kerr.
With free agency stretching the player movements out to almost a month, Kerr said clubs were under less pressure to broker deals quickly, leaving fringe players in limbo.
''You have players on your list who don't know what is going to happen - they're not sure what their future is,'' he said yesterday.
''[The trade period] is too long. Clubs are sitting back a bit more … waiting for draft picks to arise for [free] agency.''
The allocation of free agency compensation picks, to be announced today, marks the end of the free agency period. But clubs will have one more week to make their moves in the final trading week.
The late finish date, Kerr said, means some players could be in limbo with less than a week until their contracts expire on October 31.
AFL Players Association general manager of player relations, Ian Prendergast, said the introduction of free agency meant that while players might have to wait to find out their fate, they had more options if they were delisted.
''The extended trade period following the introduction of free agency is designed to allow players and clubs every opportunity to facilitate deals,'' he said.
''While this may mean some players are delisted later than previously, those delisted players then become unrestricted free agents who can move to their club of choice, if there's interest in them at that time, rather than having to nominate for the drafts as they were forced to do before free agency.''
So far, eight trades have been done in almost a fortnight, while nine free-agency deals have been agreed.
Brisbane has completed only one deal, nabbing Melbourne midfielder Brent Moloney as a restricted free agent. The 2011 Demons best and fairest winner will be a valuable addition to the midfield, taking pressure off veteran Simon Black and the Lions' emerging players.
Brisbane has made no secret of its desire to lure a key forward, entering the race for Kurt Tippett, who has nominated Sydney as his preferred club, and Chris Dawes, who has joined Melbourne.
Patrick Karnezis is the only Lion to have requested a trade, but Kerr said he was a required player and would stay for another season.