AFL Round Table: Should 'hub clubs' receive compensation?

There's no action on the field (yet) ... but there's still plenty to debate as we wait for the AFL to announce its return. Our AFL experts answer some of the burning questions.

Should clubs that have to relocate to 'hubs' be awarded compensation of any form?

NS: Certainly the AFL should help out with some of the financial elements - it's fair to say the league has a few more spare dollars than its clubs. Nothing else is required, however. Let's remember, Gold Coast had to wait until Round 11 in 2018 to play a true home game because of the Commonwealth games, so a few weeks in a hub is hardly the biggest inconvenience in modern times.

JM: The AFL should probably look to cover any relocation costs but if we're talking about any other financial compensation or, heaven forbid, draft picks, it's a big fat NO from me. It's unfortunately but it's the way the cookie crumbled and it's the price that has to be paid for the sport to return in 2020.

MW: It's stiff that West Coast and Fremantle look like having to move to Queensland in order to get the season underway, and if the Suns and Lions play in any such hub, there's an element of it not being a totally level playing field. Having said that, given there'll be no crowds it may just need to be something those WA clubs have to suck up to play footy!

Which teams should re-start the 2020 season?

Niall Seewang: Everyone would love to see a blockbuster to celebrate the season resuming, but determining which teams get the honour will be difficult - especially with crowds a non-factor. I think two teams from within the same state will be given the chance to kick things off, so for me it's Collingwood vs. Richmond - two premiership-calibre sides that will deliver huge broadcast numbers.

Jake Michaels: At this point, I'll take any teams! The AFL probably doesn't need to get the season back underway with a blockbuster, as we're all craving live sport and will tune in for Fremantle vs. Gold Coast. Save those must-watch clashes for a little later in the year when interest may start falling away.

Matt Walsh: Blockbuster obsession is real, isn't it! I think fans would be happy just to see some live footy again, so why not hide the year's most grim matchup by playing it first - Richmond vs. Gold Coast thank you very much ... quickly followed by a Showdown, or Collingwood-Essendon!

Who won the David Koch vs. Mick Malthouse spat?

NS: There was no real winner, but Koch made an absolute fool of himself when he said Malthouse "would want to bring back the White Australia policy" after his criticism of Port's deal to play games in China. What an idiotic and insulting thing to say. One of the perils of having such a high-profile media figure in a prominent role at a footy club is the chance they'll publicly put their foot in their mouths, so Power fans will have to accept these occasional verbal missteps while Koch is chairman.

JM: I'm not sure what Kochie was thinking when he made that remark, but I'm pretty sure he soon regretted saying it. He's been around the league, and media industry, long enough now to know this sort of behaviour is simply not on and all it was ever going to do is land him in hot water. As far as a winner goes, do we really need to pick one here?

MW: I think insinuating Malthouse is a racist isn't just poor taste but bordering on defamation, so I think Kochie is lucky this seems to have been swept under the rug without too much pushback from Mick. Defend China and the games in Shanghai all you want, Kochie, but keep it civil!

Did the Crows get off lightly for their training indiscretions?

NS: At first glance, yes. Initially it was widely expected the Crows would face a significant penalty in the form of financial sanctions and/or loss of draft picks, but it ended up being a slap on the wrist - assistant coach Ben Hart stood down for six weeks and the 16 players involved handed one-week suspended suspensions. It'll be interesting to see how the league deals with any further transgressions after a memo sent to clubs warned all players must adhere to government and medical authorities.

JM: I would have liked to see the AFL come down a little harder on the players involved. Let's face it, the suspended one-game sanction doesn't mean much at this stage. The AFL could have shown the rest of the league, as well as the general public just how serious the breach was by actually giving the players a one-match ban, and not suspending it. Why didn't they? I believe there were too many players involved. Had it just been one or two of them, I'm convinced they would not be suiting up when the AFL resumes.

MW: Strangely, I think the nail was hit firmly on the head by the AFL. Hart copped his fair whack for being the leader in the situation, while the players -- who should know better given the rulings laid out by the SA state government and the AFL -- were also fairly punished with a one-week ban for not speaking up.