Tomorrow’s Mid-Season Rookie Draft provides the West Coast Eagles with an opportunity to bring in a player with the capacity to build an AFL career and have a strong influence on the club’s rebound.

Just as the Eagles have secured Connor West and Jai Culley in recent years, Wednesday evening's ballot offers the opportunity for a player overlooked in recent drafts to fulfil a lifelong dream.

While there have been calls from many quarters for the club to send three or four players to the inactive list to secure several selections there are rules in place preventing that scenario.

There must be a genuine season-ending injury before a player can be placed on the inactive list and Culley, who sadly suffered a serious knee injury earlier this month, is the only player who meets the criteria.

To provide some clarity around the ability of clubs to participate in the Mid-Season Rookie Draft, please see the quick guide below:

Club Eligibility

A club can be eligible to have a mid-season draft selection by having any of the following:

  • Leaving a rookie list spot open at the end of the previous year’s draft and SSP period.
  • Having a currently listed player announce their retirement prior to the mid-season draft. This would need to be approved by the AFL by demonstrating that all aspects pertaining to the player’s retirement have been finalised.
  • Have a current player suffer a season ending injury (ie Culley) that allows him to be placed on the inactive list and replaced by a player from the mid-season rookie draft. Before this is approved the AFL requires medical evidence that the player’s injury will prevent him returning at any stage during the season. Should that be approved and the player then recovers from their injury in a time sooner than the predicted time frame, the player will not be allowed to return unless another player has a season ending injury. In that case the second player will take the place of the initial player in being ruled inactive and be ineligible to play for the remainder of the season.

Player Eligibility

To be eligible to be selected in the mid-season rookie draft, the player must:

  • Have nominated for the most recent National Draft and not been selected.
  • Have been on the list of an AFL club previously which means that they did not need to nominate for the most recent draft. (Note that a player cannot be reselected in the mid-season rookie draft by their previous AFL club unless they did nominate in the most recent draft and were not selected.
  • Be a retired player who has not been on an AFL list for one year or more. (Note that previously delisted or retired players will still need to nominate for the mid-season rookie draft to be eligible for selection.)
  • Be turning 19 or older in 2023 and have played three league matches in the WAFL, SANFL, VFL or TSL by the round completed on May 29, 2023. If the player meets this criterion they need not to have nominated at the most recent National Draft.

Other points of interest.

  • Each player who nominates for the mid-season rookie draft must specify their terms by nominating as:
    • A Category 1 player can nominate specific contract terms regarding duration and remuneration. This applies only to previously listed players and the contract term cannot be less than 18 months. Any player who nominates these terms must be remunerated to those terms and this cannot be varied for the length of the nominated contract.
    • A short-term contract which finishes at the end of the current AFL season.
    • A longer-term contract which finishes at the end of the next AFL season.
    • A player cannot be offered a contract that reflects a shorter term than the period that they have nominated.
  • If a player selected in the mid-season rookie draft stays in his home State he is ineligible to play against his previous club unless agreed by all parties.
  • Subject to State league approval, a player selected in the mid-season rookie draft has the right to return to his previous club to play finals, if his service is no longer required at his AFL club.

The Mid-Season Rookie Draft will be held from 5pm AWST (7pm AEST) on Wednesday, May 31 and will be streamed on and the AFL Live official app.