The Trade Period is twelve action packed days in October which sees some of the biggest player trades and club deals. It can be just as nail-biting as any final quarter! So learn the lingo and understand what each move means for your team.

Free Agent

This is any AFL player who might just consider an offer from a rival club during the off-season Trade Period. They’re what you might call foot loose and fancy free.

Restricted Free Agent

These players are in the top 25% of salaries at their club and have served a minimum of eight years at the club. It means they’re eligible for restricted free agency the first time they are out of contract.

Unrestricted Free Agent

These players are not in the top 25% of salaries at their club but have served at least eight years. That’s what makes them eligible for unrestricted free agency. And players on the primary list of their club who are delisted are classed as unrestricted free agents too, but a player who retires or delists themself isn’t. Got it?


If a club has a net loss of players due to them transferring as free agents, the AFL will sometimes allocate draft picks to those clubs. But compensation can only ever occur in the one transfer period.

Matching Offer

A matching offer is just that - a club may submit a contract offer that matches the contract offer proposed by a club seeking to secure a player. But this relates to restricted free agents only.

Out of Contract

Basically, this player's contract is up. The club's options are to either renew them, delist them, or they could try to trade them during the Trade Period.


A rookie is a player who is outside of the 38-man primary or senior list at their club. These young fellas aren’t allowed to play unless they are elevated to the senior list or nominated by their club – but only if there are fewer than 38 guys on their primary list.

Salary Cap

Along with the NAB AFL Draft, the salary cap is part of the AFL’s Equalization Policy. It places a limit on the amount of money that a club can spend on players’ salaries. It’s designed to keeps things more competitive.

Top 25%

This is the guaranteed contract value of the top 25% of players (that’s the top 9 – 10 paid players) in the relevant contract years.


Veterans are players with 10 completed years or more playing at one club. Nice work veterans! And clubs with veterans are granted a salary cap allowance for those players. That means a set portion of the player’s contract sits outside the club’s salary cap.

Important information

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

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