North Melbourne will receive three extra first-round draft picks across two years in a bid by the AFL to help lift the club.

“An assistance package, they’re calling it,” Anna Hay told Clairsy & Lisa this morning.

North have finished bottom two for the last four seasons, and claimed the wooden spoon in 2021 and 2022.

They would’ve made three-straight years at the bottom of the ladder if they didn’t beat Gold Coast in their final game of the season.

“Why?” Lisa queried.

“They just haven’t done well over the past three years,” Hay replied.


“Well, exactly,” Hay said before wryly asking where the Eagles’ assistance package was.

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Meanwhile, Geelong coach Chris Scott blasted the move as “blatant manipulation”.

“There is a mechanism of equalisation within the competition already. If you finish second last, you get second pick in the draft,” Scott told Fox Footy.

“They’ve (North) had that for a number of years now because they chose to go down a certain path.

“The AFL pretty quickly has to get to the point, in my view, where they just get out of the way and let the system operate without this blatant manipulation.

“You can’t look at this season and say ‘OK, well you finished second last so we need to support you again’. The support’s already been there over previous years.”

The sentiment was shared by St Kilda coach Ross Lyon who was also critical of the AFL’s decision.

“I think the real question is if you put yourself in the hole, because there’s been a lot of decisions over a long period of time – not unlike the Saints and other clubs, to keep going back to head office and asking for assistance, I think there’s a bit to be said to dig yourself out,” Lyon said.

“You’ve got gifts being given to clubs that have been down the bottom for a long time.”

Scott labelled North coach Alastair Clarkson a “genius” for trying to replicate his premiership success at the Hawks’ through the draft.

“There are clubs who have performed at a lower level than North Melbourne over the last decade that haven’t got one single thing,” the two-time premiership coach said.

“I don’t understand how you can play in (two) prelim finals (over the last decade) and get compensation, priority …

“The worst place to be clearly in today’s competition is middle of the road because you get nothing.

“The AFL just shouldn’t be in a position where they are manipulating the competition the way they are.”

with AAP