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Leigh Matthews says first-round draft picks should be locked into four-year contracts

Leigh Matthews says first-round draft picks should be locked into an automatic four-year contract in a move he believes could stop young players walking away from interstate clubs.

Debate has raged over all things free agency and compensation recently, with several young players opting to switch clubs early in their career.

The Brisbane Lions are still waiting to hear whether former first round pick James Aish will change clubs this summer.

While Matthews said experienced players were entitled to free agency, there needed to be more incentive for young players to say. He said too much power was with the player at present.

‘It wouldn’t concern me if it went back further,’ Matthews explained said on Sports Today.

‘In other words, it might be after six years you can go as a free agent – but your first contract’s an automatic four years.’

Matthews and Gerard Healy both expressed concerns over the longevity of clubs like Brisbane and Greater Western Sydney if young players continued to walk out the door to come back to Victoria.

Matthews, who coached both Collingwood and the Lions, openly admitted he viewed the interstate clubs as recruiting ground when at the Pies.

LISTEN: Leigh Matthews explains more on 3AW