Leuenberger with the lot on menu?

THEY weren't last season but you wonder whether the Brisbane Lions will be fans of priority draft picks being handed out as compensatory ones this season.

When it was proposed last year that Melbourne would receive the third selection (on top of the second pick for finishing second-last) in return for losing free agent James Frawley, Lions chief executive Greg Swann was strongly opposed.

It would, after all, send the Lions down the 'picking' order from No.4 to No.5 and possibly affect their ability to trade with Collingwood for the services of Queenslander Dayne Beams.

"We're talking pick three ... I would have thought that would be reserved for top, top-echelon players," Swann declared.

He did have a point. The previous year, Hawthorn only received pick 19 after Lance Franklin defected to Sydney, and St Kilda only got pick 25 when Nick Dal Santo crossed to North Melbourne.

But it was never in doubt, with the league having to reject Melbourne's request to be handed the first priority pick since 2011, due to it not meeting requirements, but still feeling compelled to give it a 'leg up' after years of being stuck in the cellar.

Ironically, Swann and his club now find themselves in the same predicament.

The bottom-placed Lions have already asked for their own priority pick, and while the league is likely to again say 'no', it may be able to engineer a second first-round selection for them.

Enter ruckman Matthew Leuenberger, who escaped a serious knee injury last weekend, much to the Lions' relief for a couple of reasons.

From a human perspective, he's a good bloke who has endured more than his fair share of injuries during his nine years in Brisbane.

From a business perspective, he's a rare commodity that can be used as a bargaining chip to enhance the Lions' stocks.

The West Australian is a free agent come season's end and though his wife is from Queensland and they have just welcomed their first child, he may be keen for a fresh start, especially with Stefan Martin taking the No.1 rucking mantle at the Gabba.

If Brisbane finishes last, it could very well have picks one and two in the draft if the league is feeling as generous as it was last year.

Compensation picks are assigned based on the player's age and the contract at his new club, and then tied to the finishing position of the club receiving the pick.

The league can justify giving Brisbane such a selection by the fact Leuenberger, 27, could be the main big man at Geelong or Essendon, where he could earn close to $500,000 a year.

Charlie Dixon - if he decides to leave the Gold Coast - would be available to the Lions in the pre-season draft as an uncontracted player.

But selecting a couple of outstanding teenage bookends in Victorian forward Josh Schache and South Australian defender Jacob Weitering with their first two picks in the national draft would certainly be a novel way to assist a club's rebuild.

 

UNCONTRACTED ... AND ON THE MOVE?

FREE AGENTS

Patrick Dangerfield (Adel)

Scott Selwood (WC)

Matt Suckling (Haw)

Brendan Whitecross (Haw)

Steve Johnson (Geelong)

Matty Stokes (Geelong)

Robbie Tarrant (NM)

Matthew Leuenberger (BL)

Matthew Kreuzer (Carlton)

Mark Jamar (Melbourne)

Tayte Pears (Ess)

Courtenay Dempsey (Ess)

OUT OF CONTRACT

Adam Treloar (GWS)

Charlie Dixon (GC)

Jake Carlisle (Ess)

Steve Motlop (Geel)

Lewis Jetta (Sydney)

Lachie Henderson (Carl)

Zac Smith (GC)

Jay Schulz (PA)

Jeremy Howe (Melb)

James Aish (BL)

Matt Scharenberg (Coll)


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