Yesterday it was announced that promising Adelaide Crows defender Phil Davis would be defecting to the Greater Western Sydney Giants for 2012. Davis who was pick ten in the 2008 national draft has barely played twenty games of senior football, yet due to his youth and potential is reportedly receiving a payday of about $3 million to go to the Giants.
The Crows, understandably are not too happy with Davis’s decision to move clubs with their football operations manager not pulling any punches in the press conference openly saying that Adelaide did everything in their power to keep him at the club and, “Put an offer that was way over any offer to a twenty game player in the history of this football club”. What’s even more disappointing is that Davis has played all his football in South Australia from juniors to professional and is leaving for a higher pay packet.
This is where I think the introduction of GWS is a shamble, not just to Adelaide but for all the clubs. You might argue last year prior to the introduction of the Gold Coast that we had the similar farce of “will he go to the Gold Coast” with Gary Ablett and others. This is where I take issue though. Ablett, Josh Fraser, Campbell Brown and other senior players are just that. Senior players. Players who are arguably at the latter stages of their careers that are looking for a new challenge or a change of scenery and lets not forget the bigger bank balance as well. I have no issue with a new club trying to pinch senior experienced players because with the amount of youth in a new club, they need someone there to learn from and to help develop.
However when you have a brand new club with a (hypothetical) blank cheque book, with a flurry of draft picks at their disposal pinching upcoming young stars like Tom Scully and Rhys Palmer from other clubs is where I take issue. These clubs have taken their time and their resources to build them into players that could be future All-Australians, future Coleman medalists and dare I say it, future Premiership players. The blame doesn’t all rest on GWS though, I do take issue with some of the players that choose to sign with the Giants after their current clubs invested time into developing them into competent footballers and the AFL should at least pose a restriction on who GWS can make offers for.
The West Coast Eagles, Fremantle and Port Adelaide are expansion clubs that were created out of rich football history and tradition and the players who left existing clubs, left due to passion. Gavin Wanganeen left the Bombers because he was from Port Adelaide’s SANFL side and he wanted to be a part of their AFL journey. Ross Glendinning, a former Brownlow winner left North Melbourne because he wanted to be a part of the Western expansion in 1987. The only thing these young players seem to want from GWS is a bigger payday and sadly the AFL is only encouraging that. Meanwhile a region like Tasmania chock full of footy fans that are crying out for an AFL expansion, are left out in the cold.
But that’s another tale for another day.
The views expressed in this article are my personal opinion, not that of my employers.