Father-Son Rule

Father-Son Rule

The Father-Son Rule is a rule that allows clubs to select the sons of players who have made a major past contribution to the team in Australian rules football, most notably the Australian Football League.


The original rule came into place as a result of successful lobbying by Melbourne Football Club. The club wanted the young Ron Barassi to follow in the footsteps of his father, Ron Barassi, Sr. who had been killed during World War II. However, this meant bypassing the then standard zone-based recruitment rulings, which would have seen Barassi join Carlton instead. The rule has since endured, albeit with over 10 amendments, most recently a tightening of eligibility criteria in 2003.

Current Rule

The current Father-Son Rule allows clubs nominate to select an eligible player instead of using the allocated third round pick in the National Draft. Subsequent selections are made in place of a second, first and fourth round choices respectively.

The eligibility of players differs depending upon the home-state of the team making the selection. The basic rule, as applied to Victorian clubs, is that each can select any player whose father played a minimum of 100 senior games for the side. Meanwhile, the two interstate clubs with historic links to Victorian Football League teams, the Brisbane Lions and the Sydney Swans, can choose the sons of players who have appeared 100 times for either themselves or their predecessors, the Fitzroy Lions and Brisbane Bears or the South Melbourne Football Club respectively. Finally, West Australian and South Australian teams have a modified rule in place, valid until the club has been in the AFL for 20 years, with eligibility to be determined by a certain number of games played for specific sides in state league, specifically:
*Until 2007, the West Coast Eagles can select any player whose father has made 150 WAFL appearances for Claremont, East Perth, West Perth or Subiaco.
*Until 2010, Adelaide can select any player whose father made 200 SANFL appearances prior to 1990 for South Adelaide, Norwood, Glenelg or Sturt.
*Until 2015, Fremantle can select any player whose father has made 150 WAFL appearances for East Fremantle, South Fremantle, Perth or Swan Districts.
*Until 2017, Port Adelaide can select any player whose father has made 200 SANFL appearances for the Port Adelaide Magpies, North Adelaide, West Adelaide, Central District, Woodville or West Torrens.

If a player is eligible to be selected by more than one team he must choose which one of these teams is able to pick him under this rule. For example Darcy Daniher's father Anthony Daniher played 118 games with Essendon and 115 with Sydney. Darcy selected Essendon. [ [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22553797-20322,00.html?from=public_rss Darcy Daniher worth early pick] Herald Sun]

Clubs do not have to exercise the father-son options, and players can select not to be picked in this way, or in the case of qualifying for more than one team, they can choose which they join. For example, despite his father, John, appearing 214 times for the Fitzroy Football Club, Marc Murphy declined to sign with the Brisbane Lions, and was instead taken by Carlton as the first pick in the 2005 National Draft.

2007 Amendment

In 2007 the AFL established a bidding system to determine which draft pick a club must give up to secure the potential recruit under the Father-son rule. Under the changes, every club in the competition nominates the pick they would use to select the player in question, and the club wishing to use the father/son rule must use its next available pick after the lowest nominal pick by other clubs to secure the player. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/sport/content/200704/s1906523.htm AFL amends Father/son rule] ABC Sport, April 25, 2007] For example, the Kangaroos bid to take the Darcy Daniher with its second round pick (32) in the national draft so Essendon had to use its third round draftpick (39). [ [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22553797-20322,00.html?from=public_rss Darcy Daniher worth early pick] Herald Sun]

Notable Father-Son Selections

ee also

*AFL Draft


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