The Roar
The Roar


Can someone tell me what the Sydney Swans have done wrong?

Roar Pro
26th June, 2015

The AFL is going out of their way to make life very difficult for the Sydney Swans.

The latest development has seen AFL decide to not only phase out Sydney’s cost of living allowance, (COLA) but in any further negotiation with the recruitment of players, the club is only permitted to acquire players who are on the club’s average salary, which is around $300,000.

Gillon McLachlan, you’ve got to be kidding! Why are the Swans going to be compromised in building a good, competitive squad in the next few years?

Let’s be clear, the Swans did absolutely nothing illegal. They operated at all times within the parameters of the salary cap. COLA was an AFL-approved initiative, not something the Swans came up with.

Again, it’s another example of selective policymaking on the run by McLachlan, who seems to listen to the petulant wailings of blokes like Eddie McGuire and other Melbourne-centric commentators who can’t stand to see Sydney do well for such a sustained period.

It’s a decision that is completely disrespectful to the successful programs and strategies the Swans have implemented to try and be competitive in what is, and will always be, a non-AFL state.

Good experienced players don’t come cheap. Great experienced players are even more expensive. At some stage in the near future, the Swans will need another experienced key defender, and you won’t find many, if any, at $300,000 per season. That’s the reality.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Swans won the 2005 premiership, breaking a 62-year drought for the South Melbourne Football Club, which helped to significantly raise the awareness of AFL in a market place the AFL were desperate to get into. As a consequence, people in Sydney got on the Swans bandwagon, became members, went to games, and started watching games on television in record numbers, and Sydney contributed to the AFL’s coffers like never before.

A second AFL team in Sydney would not even have been contemplated if it wasn’t for the success of the Sydney Swans. They were the AFL Commission’s favourite child.


Yet the AFL’s latest spanner in the works to Sydney makes you question how far the AFL will go to try and equalise the competition, punishing a club that has continually had to find innovative solutions to be competitive.

It’s mid-season. Clubs would already have a good idea of the sort of players they’d like to be topping up their squad with next year. They’d have been doing their planning for months, sounding out player managers, which is all part of the due diligence in running a professional club.

It almost feels like the AFL wants Sydney to struggle, to become an average club like so many in Melbourne, and to take their turn at the bottom of the ladder.

Perhaps Gillon McLachlan can tells us his vision for the Swans for the next five to ten years – it would save the Sydney Swans an awful lot of time and energy.