Player manager Colin Young is still holding out hope of sending Rory Lobb back to GWS despite tensions running hot following the ‘church-like confession’ from Fremantle’s footy boss Peter Bell.
I could barely believe it when I heard it on the radio. Lance Franklin going to Sydney. How?
Sure, Jude Bolton is gone, but how does a team that has won a grand final and finished in a preliminary still have room in their salary cap for the biggest name in the game?
Rumours have been swirling at hurricane-like speeds all season that Hawthorn superstar Lance Franklin was heading north, probably to GWS. The biggest name in the AFL was to use his name to spread the AFL gospel from Rooty Hill.
A bit like how Gary Ablett senior sent his son to the Gold Coast to show the way to the sunburnt masses and turn thrashings into Brownlow medals. It was something we had to begrudgingly accept.
If this deal with Franklin and the Swans goes through, however, it will make an absolute mockery of the salary cap, the cost of living allowance attached to it, the draft and everything else that the AFL head honchos use to keep the competition ‘equal’.
Sydney have come out and said they have done nothing wrong, and it is entirely true.
Jude Bolton and Jessie White are gone, Shane Mumford is going, and a couple other players have been cut. How much longer will champion Adam Goodes last?
The problem is not that the Swans are breaking the rules, but that the rules are allowing this to happen – especially when, given key forwards are not exactly dime-a-dozen, they have recruited an established one in Kurt Tippett last year.
As pointed out in The Age on Wednesday, the average difference in cost of living between Melbourne and Sydney is just under $3,000 a year, yet cost of living makes up over $80,000 dollars of Tippett’s contract.
The cost of living allowance is now irrelevant. Based on this logic, Western Bulldogs players should be paid much less than their Toorac Tractor driving Demon opponents.
Meanwhile, Perth doesn’t even register a cost of living allowance.
The idea of assistance being given to clubs makes sense in the correct circumstances.
The AFL wants an even competition, and supporters want closer games. A fan is more likely to pay money to see their team play if they believe their team has a chance of winning.
So a high profile player like Franklin going to GWS or the Gold Coast makes sense in that respect, but how can the AFL justify as successful a team as the Swans being able to get him?
A cynical little part of me thinks that the AFL wants this to happen.
Maybe the code is not going as well in Sydney as they hope, and this cost of living allowance is a way to give an established team like the Swans help without having to go through the humiliation of having to admit that they need it.
Maybe the mighty Swans need more help in publicity stakes then we realise.
It will be interesting to see how Franklin fits into the Swans culture.
There is always talk, especially among AFL presidents, about clubs that have and clubs that have not.
The AFL talks of bringing them together.
Yet deals like this show us that the rich are getting richer and the poor and are, well, just getting poorer.