Brandon Ellis will now link with the Gold Coast Suns.
Brandon Ellis will now link with the Gold Coast Suns.

Premiership hero’s ‘bloody bonkers’ deal

ONE of the worst kept secrets in the lead up to free agency has finally been officially announced with dual Richmond Tigers premiership hero Brandon Ellis set to link with the Gold Coast Suns.

But as the deal is done, questions have been raised about the move.

The 26-year-old Ellis is leaving Tigerland after reportedly signing a five-year deal worth a reported $3 million ($600,000 a season).

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The Suns were the first club to lodge official paperwork after free agency opened on Friday.

The Tigers have three days to match the contract offer but are not expected to do so.

It ends an eight-year career at Richmond, where he has played 176 games and won two premierships.

"Brandon has been an outstanding contributor to our team and our club for a long period of time and we respect his rights as a free agent," Richmond list manager Blair Hartley said on Wednesday.

"Brandon and the club have been in constant communication throughout the season and we would like to acknowledge the way he has conducted himself throughout the year.

"As always, Brandon has put the team first and he is now a dual premiership player for Richmond."

Brandon Ellis shares his affection for Dusty Martin.
Brandon Ellis shares his affection for Dusty Martin.

Ellis was dropped for last year's finals series but the Tigers lost in the preliminary final.

But in 2019, he missed just two games as he was part of his second premiership team.

Having won two premierships with the Tigers, three-time premiership winner Terry Wallace said it was a good deal for Ellis.

"It's not a bad set up for Brandon Ellis," he said. "He's got two premiership medals around his neck, and he can now go and set himself up for the rest of his life."

He wasn't the only one that felt Ellis was a big winner in the move.

But St Kilda great Leigh Montagna said earlier this week, the mooted $3 million offer was "probably overs".

"I don't necessarily think Brandon Ellis is the player the Gold Coast Suns need if they want to rebuild," Montagna said.

"It's great for him. He's going to add some leadership and obviously he's come from a club that's got great culture.

"But in regards to his playing football, is he going to play on wing? It's big money."

Dual North Melbourne premiership player David King agreed, saying "he's hardly winning games".

Brandon Ellis was loving all the celebrations.
Brandon Ellis was loving all the celebrations.

But arguably the biggest issue floated was by AFL Trade Radio's Damian Barrett who described the AFL's free agency compensation system as a "rort".

Richmond are tipped to get a second-round draft pick as compensation but it could also squeeze into the first round with pick 19.

"There is no way Richmond should be given a first-round pick for losing Brandon Ellis, and this my point, this is the problem with this system," Barrett said.

"There will be outrage in the AFL world if the Richmond Football Club - the two out of three years premiership-winning Richmond Football Club - is to get a first-round compensation draft pick for the loss of a player who they could not commit to a regular senior game for next season.

"That will become the biggest rort in the system if Brandon Ellis is to present Richmond Football Club with an end of first-round draft pick as part of this compensation."

He argued it was not a pure free agency system.

And Richmond were already given an advantage when Tom Lynch came to the club last year.

King, speaking on Fox Footy's Trading Day on Friday, said the top-four teams should not be able to receive free agents.

Ellis is celebrating a premiership and his move north.
Ellis is celebrating a premiership and his move north.

He argued the current format benefits the top end of time with the gap between the haves and have nots widening each year as the top players chase premierships.

"I think when we signed up for (free agency) the equalisation measures, the pillars, are gone," King said. "The draft doesn't do what it's supposed to do, the salary cap doesn't do what it's supposed to do.

"We see Tom Lynch come to Richmond, players take pay cuts to get a superstar in like that, so the salary cap - while it impacts once every three or four years at each club - it doesn't rule the roost like it should.

"I think if you finish top-four in the competition, maybe in two consecutive years, you're not able to get involved in free agency until you fall out of the top-four and become part of the pack."

Another suggestion came from Herald Sun journalist Jon Ralph, who floated the option of compensation being removed for top eight clubs.

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