AFL Trade Period rules explained: Everything you need to know

The AFL’s free agency period provided plenty of fireworks after two clubs opted to match rival bids on restricted free agents.

It’s left Jeremy Cameron’s move to Geelong and Brad Crouch’s hopes of joining St Kilda in limbo.

We now turn our attention to the Trade Period as clubs look to make more moves to reshape and revamp their rosters ahead of the 2021 season.

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Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Trade Period will take place with the help of the AFL’s ARC system which will serve as the hub for the entirety of the Trade Period.

Virtual meetings will take place between teams as they look to agree to terms on trades for several star players.

Here’s everything you need to know for the 2020 AFL Trade Period.


The 2020 AFL Trade Period officially gets underway on Wednesday, November 4 and runs through until Thursday, November 12.


In a statement from the AFL, these are the key rules to note throughout the Trade Period:

A club may exchange with another club or clubs any combination of Primary List player(s), Rookie List player(s), National Draft Selection(s) and Future National Draft Selection(s);

Any rookie list player involved in any trade must be put on the senior list of the club to which he is traded;

A club cannot on-trade a player received in any exchange until the following year.

A club may exchange a draft selection it has received from another club, provided that the selection is not traded directly back to that club.

Where the exchange of a player(s) and National Draft selection(s) involves more than two clubs, it is not a requirement that each club involved in the transaction make an exchange between each other.

Any National Draft selection received in an exchange does not need to be exercised


Jeremy Cameron

Geelong came hard for the GWS star with a five-year, $4.75m offer. The Giants opted to match and the two clubs will now head into the Trade Period looking to make a deal.

SEN’s Kane Cornes reported the Giants’ likely starting position in negotiations will be two first round draft picks along with a player.

Brad Crouch

The Crows had been hopeful of landing pick two as compensation for losing Crouch, but a second-round pick offer saw them match the Saints offer.

A return to the Crows in 2021 remains on the cards for Crouch, but the clubs will look to broker a deal to send the midfielder to Victoria.

Adam Treloar

Easily the most bizarre situation to play out in the AFL’s off-season. The star midfielder isn’t wanted by Collingwood who are reportedly happy to help facilitate a trade by paying a portion of his salary.

Shaun Higgins

The North Melbourne veteran has long been linked with a move to Geelong as the club rehauls its playing list.

Higgins, 32, is under contract but was given the green light to seek a longer deal elsewhere and the Cats have emerged as the frontrunner to secure the silky onballer’s talents.

Jared Polec

Polec landed at North Melbourne ahead of the 2019 season on a lucrative five-year, $3.5m deal but has fallen out of favour badly and looks set to finish his contract elsewhere.

Channel 7’s Tom Browne reported Melbourne as a potential landing spot in late September, but the Demons look to have shifted their focus to a Collingwood wingman.

Tom Phillips

This is the man the Demons have reportedly turned their attention too after Hawk Isaac Smith landed in Geelong.

The hard-running Pies wingman looks to fall out of favour due to a backlog of contracts that landed at the club this off-season.

Tom McDonald

Speaking of the Demons, the addition of former Coleman Medallist Ben Brown looks set to see utility McDonald put his hand up and request a move away.

McDonald fell down the Demons’ forward line pecking order and with two years left to run on his contract he could seek opportunities elsewhere.

“Moving forward Tom wants opportunity. The club’s been great and been upfront saying ‘There’s a spot for you here, you’re contracted, but there may not be as many opportunities’, so that will probably play out I’d imagine after the first few key deals fall into place what the opportunities may look like for Tom,” his manager Alex McDonald said to AFL Trade Radio.

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