Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Buddy Deal Must Deliver Swansong for Cap Bonus

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Buddy Deal Must Deliver Swansong for Cap Bonus

Article excerpt

SHIRTFRONT

TERRY MALLINDER

IT TAKES something pretty sensational for the AFL to dominate both the front and back pages of Sydney's daily newspapers during NRL grand final week.

The revelation the biggest name in Australian rules football had indeed decided to make the biggest city in Australia his home, but as a Swan and not a Giant, as had been the expectation for the best part of 12 months, did the job.

But, of course, there was more.

The deal pieced together to get Lance Franklin into the red and white was like a bonus set of steak knives driven through the heart of every other club in the AFL, not least of all GWS and Hawthorn.

Designed to blow out of the water anything the Giants or Hawks could offer, the $10 million-over-nine-years offer was also a slap in the face with a big wad of cash to equality and fairness.

But if the Swans' offer didn't seem extravagant enough, with Franklin turning 27 in January, he may only play the next six or seven seasons but still pocket the eight-figure sum - as long as he's not the one calling it quits.

It came 12 months after the then premiership-winning Swans threw everything but the kitchen sink at disgruntled Adelaide forward Kurt Tippett to win his services.

With that kitchen sink now set to be installed at Franklin's Bondi penthouse, and possibly plated in gold, the Swans will be paying two players roughly $2 million - and almost 20% of their $10 million salary cap - next season.

The pair, among the 10 highest paid players in the league, may become a part of Bloods folklore, but it is the AFL that has blood on its hands after creating what Carlton coach Mick Malthouse has bluntly described as a "monster".

The league has long provided the Swans with an additional 9.8% cost-of-living allowance to facilitate player retention, but that system is now seemingly being used and abused - and it must end.

On the same day as the Franklin revelation, recently retired Sydney player Mitch Morton explained on radio that many of the Swans' rookies "struggled" when it came to living expenses in Sydney, which begged the question, just how much of the club's bonus was going to those players who needed it most? …

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