All clubs that are looking to splash big cash on Dusty Martin and Nat Fyfe need to first consider whether they are ready to create an imbalance in their squads.
Three of the biggest signings in recent times are the Dangerfield, Tippet and Franklin trades. Sydney has been severely effected by those two signings. Geelong will most likely feel the same ramifications that the Swans have felt.
Grand finals and minor premierships aside, success in AFL is measured in flags.
Kurt Tippet came into a premiership-winning side that had a culture of performance above expectation. They had won the premiership with a 22-year-old relatively unknown Sam Reid as their key forward. Their side was young and full of promise, they have not won a premiership since.
When Franklin came in it was surely going to be the cherry on top of an already impressive team. They haven’t won since. And find themselves 2-6.
Geelong were in the middle of a pretty impressive rebuild. When Patrick Dangerfield signed with Geelong it was hailed as a game-changing signing. The press has never got over Dangerwood and probably never will.
The huge amount of money that has gone towards signing the ‘superstars’ of the game could be used elsewhere. Geelong used to have a culture of players making personal monetary sacrifices to maintain a strong squad.
Now it honours two men. This is obviously having a detrimental effect on the rest of the playing group. They do not seem motivated enough to tackle or challenge for the ball. We have seem similar things at the swans in the first six weeks.
The Swans are most likely in a better position for the rest of this season. Their 0-6 start was a wake-up call, whereas a 5-3 start is just a mask that will offset problems.
AFL is a team sport with anywhere between 38-44 players in a squad. Having one, let alone two of them getting paid over a million dollars a year is going to be detrimental to the moral and strategy of the team.
Even a bad $500,000 signing like Tyrone Vickery can have negative effects. The salary cap is a socialist mechanism, based on equality. Big profile signings with seven figures will create a sense of inequality.
The Swans and Geelong have had very obvious problems finding form this year. If a player is getting paid too much, how can a team strategy not revolve around or involve those players.
Geelong’s dependence on Dangerfield is obvious and was most notably exposed in last year’s Preliminary final against the Swans.
From 2005-2012 Sydney won two flags and Geelong won three. These two teams have had some success but no flags since. Time will tell whether they can get flags with these signings on their lists.
The imbalance in player pay would suggest that it will be harder than before they chose to go down the superstar signing road.