Hardboiled’s Mark Stevens reveals why it’s not all bad news if your club loses one of its best players to Greater Western Sydney.

1. FROM BAD COMES GOOD

IF Tom Scully is a 99.5 per cent chance of heading to Greater Western Sydney, Rhys Palmer is tracking at 99.8.

All those in the know in AFL circles, expect Palmer to announce he is leaving the Dockers for the GWS enclave of Breakfast Point soon after next weekend’s final round clash with the Western Bulldogs.

But while there will be tears over Scully, and another likely victim Callan Ward, the Palmer scenario looms as a win/win.

Palmer is the Campbell Brown of 2012.

The expansion clubs are painted as evil vultures, but they can actually help with list management at existing clubs.

As a top 10 pick with potentially eight to 10 years left in the game, the Dockers should get ample compensation for losing a player who has found himself on the fringes of their best 22.

Given the AFL formula also takes into consideration the size of the contract on offer (and it won’t be peanuts), Fremantle seems likely to receive an “end of first round” pick in return.

The Dockers can warehouse the pick until after this year’s compromised draft so we’re potentially talking a pick of about 19 or 20 for Palmer.

If trade week was to open tomorrow, the Dockers would not get a pick that early for him. Despite his natural ball-winning ability, there are queries on his kicking … and knee injury has not helped.

The fact the GWS is set to take Palmer means it can’t get its hands on another uncontracted player from Freo next year.

So there’s a message in that for all those grumbling about inadequate compo – it doesn’t always have be painful.

Hawthorn received exactly the same for Brown last year – an end of first round pick – which it gleefully used to get David Hale to the club.

With Jarryd Roughead out for the season, Hale has been an invaluable replacement.

For all his bravery and gusto, Brown was replaceable. Hale slotted in perfectly.

The Hawks got the back-up big man they needed, the Suns got their warrior and spiritual leader.

The AFL has indicated the Demons will probably receiveĀ  “top echelon” compensation should Scully walk – two first round picks.

But where does that leave the Dogs if Ward, considered a 70 per cent chance of going, does as expected in the next 10 days?

The cash offer coming Ward’s way won’t be too far short of Scully’s.

He was a top 20 pick and has 10 years left. Do the Dogs get two as well?

Considering Phil Davis isn’t far behind them, has the AFL boxed itself into a corner by strongly hinting the Dees will get two.

Is it fair the Dogs and Crows miss out?

The Dockers certainly won’t be grumbling, though, if they get what’s mooted for Palmer.

So with compo in the air, it is time to take a restrospective look at how it worked last year?

If the Hawks did well, who was dudded?

UNCONTRACTED PLAYERS WALKING TO GOLD COAST LAST YEAR

DUDDED

Adelaide – Nathan Bock
Compensation: End of first round
The Crows extremely stiff given Bock has shaken off injury concerns to be Suns’ second best player behind Gary Ablett.
Key defenders have huge currency. Crows should have received a first round pick.

LAUGHING

Hawthorn – Campbell Brown
Compensation: End of first round
The used the pick to snare Hale. He’s a ripper Browny, but given his age, the Hawks may have had to make do with a second round pick.
Great result, with Hale now looming as a key.

Collingwood – Josh Fraser
Compensation: Third round pick
With so much depth at the Pies, Fraser would have only been insurance had he stayed.
Gold Coast coming along meant the Pies could snap up a third round freebie. Win/win.

CLOSE ENOUGH

Brisbane – Michael Rischitelli
Compensation: End of first round pick
About right. Won the b and f at Lions, but more of a foot soldier than a superstar.

Western Bulldogs – Jarrod Harbrow
Compensation: End of first round pick
Still has eight to 10 years in front of him, which hurts. But can be erratic.
Tough to stomach, but was he worth a first round? Probably not.

Port Adelaide – Nathan Krakouer
Compensation: Second round pick
Power did reasonably well out of this. Krakouer has been a disappointment and at least they received pick for him.
Didn’t want to be there. Port might even be in front here.

Geelong – Gary Ablett
Compensation: Two first round picks
You can never compensate for the loss of a once in a generation player, but the compo has left the Cats well placed to at least do their best to replace him.

*Jared Brennan also left Brisbane to join Gold Coast as an uncontracted player, but the compensation was not as simple and involved the swapping of draft picks to reach agreement with the Suns.

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

So what happens in the coming weeks with compensation?

Here is Hardboiled’s predictions:

Melbourne – Tom Scully
Compensation: Two first round picks
By hinting at it, AFL has to go through with it – as much as it might be slightly “overs”.
Dees should take them and run

Western Bulldogs – Callan Ward
Compensation: First round pick
You could argue this guy is worth the same as Scully, given age and money paid are the key criteria.
Have a hunch Dogs are going to have to cop less if he goes.

Adelaide – Phil Davis
Compensation: First round pick
Again, stiff. A third-year player and top 10 pick. What’s different Scully? Maybe only the size of the contract offered.
Crows may have to accept one pick.

Fremantle – Rhys Palmer
Compensation: End of first round pick
He is kind of in the Jarrod Harbrow sphere. Given age, a second round pick wouldn’t cut it for Freo.

2. HOMEBUSH HORROR

IF Sydney beats Brisbane (and it will given the Lions have no reason to win the priority pick on offer), and Carlton rolls St Kilda, ANZ Stadium will host a final next weekend.

The ground is on the nose with Swans fans, who would prefer the SCG.

And the surface is on the nose with the players, who were furious at the state of the ground just a week ago.

We can only hope there’s a decent grass doctor in Sydney’s west.

3. SICK KOSI

NICE effort by Justin Koschitzke last night, who made the Saints’ forward structure look so much more potent.

Extra points to Kosi considering what he went through last weekend.

He had a bout of gastro so bad he dropped 4kg and was a late withdrawal against the Swans.

4. SICK PUPPIES

CONSIDER the defensive experience missing for the Dogs against Hawthorn yesterday.

All-Australians: Brian Lake, Dale Morris, Lindsay Gilbee.

Top six draft pick: Tom Williams.

On the brink of 200 games: Ryan Hargrave.

Any wonder Lance Franklin looked up and about and ready for an easy kill.

5. AND FINALLY…

ANYONE else tired of people out in the burbs, particularly in the northern states, spruiking that they play AFL?

The game is called Australian football!

The elite competition is called AFL.

A kid playing under-10s at Southport is not playing AFL.

We all know the league has used the term “AFL” as a marketing tool, but spare us.

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