AFL 2023: North Melbourne assistance package, draft picks, Gillon McLachlan comments, criticism from Chris Scott and Ross Lyon, latest

Outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has labelled Chris Scott and Ross Lyon’s criticism of the league’s concessions to North Melbourne “disingenuous”, standing by the suite of picks given to the embattled side.

The Kangaroos were given three end of first-round draft picks over the next two seasons and a continuation of two extra rookie spots on the side’s list.

Such concessions were lambasted by Scott and Lyon, with the former dubbing it “blatant manipulation” on AFL 360.

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Appearing on the show the following night, McLachlan said the pair’s criticisms didn’t paint a full picture of the AFL’s concessions.

“It is manipulation. There’s compromises everywhere. Chris has been the beneficiary of father-son for years. Ross – Mitch Owens and Marcus Windhager are Academy picks,” McLachlan said.

“There’s compromises throughout the system and it’s absolutely true. Be fair about it. There are compromises.

McLachlan pointed to the Roos’ sustained period of subpar performance in recent years as reason for the league’s compensation package, which comes after assistance was also handed out last off-season.

“Ross’ point was their own decisions got them there and there’s no doubt about that, but I think North Melbourne are in the worst position of any club in the last five years of any VFL/AFL club in history,” he said.

“They are a laggard. For the benefit of all of the competition, we want North Melbourne to be able to compete.

“Yes, there is compromise like we make compromise for father-sons for certain reasons and for Academy for certain reasons. That’s the system. It’s disingenuous to say get out of the way when everyone has been the beneficiary in a roundabout way.”

While the Roos have two end of first-round picks in next year’s draft, the AFL said it reserved the right to change its mind on the selections if the club shows material improvement in 2024.

Despite this, McLachlan confirmed on Tuesday night the Roos could trade those picks out before next year and not be penalised if they improve next year.

“The point is right now they’ve had a very poor season again. If they actually are able to then use them and get them out of there and help them improve then great. They’re there to be used,” he said.

“The point about it is if they don’t use them and they are in the eight next year as an example, then they don’t need them. Use them, get out of it, get better quickly.

“None of them compromise the first round, they’re outside the first round where everyone is comfortable playing, because 19 or 20 it’s really about points. If you’re going to do it, do it properly, that’s the point.

“It’s a fair debate about whether it’s too much but they have to get out of here. It’s just an overhang on the comp. Acknowledge it, there’s the picks, get out of dodge and come back and participate and not be where they are, which is not relevant to the comp.”

Originally published as ‘There are compromises’: AFL boss responds to critics of draft concessions to struggling Roos

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