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november 2011

EDITION 62 / The official magazine of The AFL Players’ Association





s the siren sounded on season 2011, it concluded one of the most exciting finals series in recent years. We began with the blockbuster between old rivals Carlton and Essendon and concluded with the two best teams of 2011 facing off in the first week of October. Congratulations must go to the players from the Geelong Football Club who proved superior in what was a gripping contest. In addition to the thrill of the finals matches, the business end of the season is also a time to look back and acknowledge the players and coaches who have enjoyed a stand-out year. We began with our very own AFL Players’ MVP in September where Carlton’s champion Chris Judd stole the show. He has again proven to be one of the competition’s most respected players, being voted by his peers as both the Most Valuable Player and the competition’s Best Captain. Dane Swan also deserves recognition as one of the modern game’s best midfielders, having taken his 2010 MVP form to a new level this year and earning his first Brownlow Medal. It was a mighty effort from Swan, who beat home a hot field that saw a record number of players poll more than 20 votes.

Credit must also go to Sam Mitchell, winner of the Herald Sun Player of the Year, and Marc Murphy, the AFL Coaches Player of the Year, on their awards and their remarkable seasons. Season 2011 also saw the resurrection of the ‘speccy’, with a number of huge grabs vying for the Mark of the Year award, which was deservedly won by Andrew Krakouer for his Round 9 stunner against the Crows. There is another important award I’d like to make special mention of here, one that doesn’t enjoy the same high-profile status as some of the aforementioned accolades, however it’s certainly an award worth celebrating. I was rapt to learn that Luke Power had humbly accepted The Variety Club’s ‘Heart of Football’ award, which recognises players who inspire a dedication to children through selfless action. Public recognition for players’ on-field deeds of inspiration is at an all-time high, however their off-field contribution to communities all across Australia is huge and our challenge is to better share the lesser-known acts of goodwill which AFL players regularly perform.

Regards, Matt Finnis



Luke Power (President).....................Brisbane

Adelaide.....................................Ben Rutten

Luke Ball (Vice President)..........Collingwood Adam Goodes........................................ Sydney Robert Murphy......................Western Bulldogs Matthew Pavlich................................ Fremantle Drew Petrie.............................North Melbourne Brad Sewell........................................ Hawthorn Adam Selwood................................West Coast Jason Blake...........................................St Kilda Matt Finnis........ AFL Players’ Association CEO Simon Madden.......Past Player Representative

Brisbane...................................Brent Staker Carlton................................. Brock McLean Collingwood..........................Harry O’Brien Essendon.............................. Henry Slattery Fremantle................................ Paul Duffield Geelong..................................Jimmy Bartel Hawthorn................................... Xavier Ellis North Melbourne............. Andrew Swallow Melbourne......................Matthew Warnock Port Adelaide........................... Jay Schultz Richmond........................... Daniel Jackson St Kilda.............................. Leigh Montagna Sydney..................................... Jude Bolton Western Bulldogs.................... Will Minson West Coast............................... Brett Jones

AFL PLAYERS’ ASSOCIATION Contacts Sports House Level 2, 375 Albert Road Albert Park Vic 3206 P. (03) 9926 1344 F. (03) 9926 1350 E. Chief Executive Officer Matt Finnis Office Manager/Executive Assistant Jo Rafferty Assistant Administrator & Receptionist Amanda Crowe General Manager – Player Relations Ian Prendergast Legal Services Consultant Bernie Shinners Player Relations Coordinator Braden Stokes General Manager – Finance & Administration John Hogan Indigenous & Financial Services Coordinator Cory McGrath Acting General Manager – Marketing & Commercial Leanne French Commercial Relations Executive Francee Holdsworth Commercial Relations Coordinator Natalie Holmes Communications Officer Heath Evans General Manager – Player Development Steve Alessio Player Development Regional Manager Brett Johnson Player Development Regional Manager John Hinge Player Development Regional Manager Claire Mitchell-Taverner Wellbeing Services Manager Matti Clements Indigenous & Multicultural Manager Nadia Taib Player Development Administrator Jennifer Ashton


Retired and

delisted players



he end of the season is a much anticipated time for an AFL footballer, but while most are enjoying their break, others (usually about 120 each year) will going through the tough experience of dealing with the end of their AFL experience. Sometimes it’s out of the blue, for others it’s the news they’ve been expecting or a decision they’ve been planning for some time. Whatever the case, it’s a tumultuous time which is why the PA takes such an active role in the retirement and delistment process. Once a player retires or is delisted, the club’s Player Development Manager (PDM) contacts the PA’s Player Development Regional Managers (PDRM’s) and within 48 hours PA contact is made to set up a face-to-face meeting with the player. The purpose of the meeting is to reassure them that the PA support continues as they have known it on an AFL list. For rookies it’s another year of full services, for players the full service offering continues for three years after they finish. As a member of the Alumni, there will be support on offer for life. So for another three years, past players can continue to access Education and

Training Grants, Wellbeing Services, Career Counselling and other transition support including Next Goal (work experience) or Next Coach placements and tailored financial advice. In addition, all Alumni benefits including reimbursement of hospital excess fees, bulkbilling for medical consultations, professional development courses will remain available. The key message to all players and rookies leaving the system is that they are

still a valued member of the PA family after they hang up the boots and there are many resources they can tap into to assist the transition to life ‘off the track’. As an Alumni member they will be part of the PA for life and will continue to receive many significant resources that can be viewed on the Alumni section of the AFL Players’ website. Daniel Harris is one player who’s benefitted from having his R & D meeting this year up at the Gold Coast after deciding to retire from football. “It’s great just to touch base and go through all the things that are still on offer to support me in life after football,” he said. “Already I’ve taken some steps to get going on my business and I’ve met with Mark Porter for my Financial Health Check too. It’s good to know the PA’s still there to help us once we stop playing.”

EDITION 62 / november 2011



Proudly brought to you by endota spa

endota spa


e have welcomed endota spa as an Official Wellbeing Provider of the AFL Players’. Through this partnership, endota spa will provide up-to-the-minute offers to players through the password protected section of the AFL Players’ website as well as through the AFL Players’ E-newsletters. In December, endota will be involved in our AFL Players’ Directors and Delegates conference, as the inhouse provide of health and wellbeing services. Through this partnership, players will receive monthly specials for themselves, partners, family and friends, while wives and partners will recieve endota gifts at premier AFL Players’ events. For Players, endota will also offer greater access to business opportunities through franchising the endota brand.

AFL Players’ Acting General Manager Commercial and Marketing Leanne French said this new partnership was exciting as it was far different to anything the organisation has had before. “The wellbeing of our players has become one of the most pivotal aspects of our organisation,” said French. “Players, clubs and the AFL industry are placing more focus on this area than ever before because there is a clear link between wellbeing and athletic performance. “For endota this represents an exciting opportunity to establish themselves as leaders in this field and capture the AFL market and for the Players Association we are thrilled to have such a successful organisation join us in an official capacity.”



C •

ongratulations to the following current players: Mark McVeigh and wife Leanne, have welcomed a baby girl Ariana in March; Darren and Alicia Glass had a second daughter Zara Mila in April; Andrew and Rayne Embley had their second child in June, a son, Lux; Chris Judd and wife Rebecca had a baby boy Oscar in July.

All mums announced via this column will receive a pamper package thanks to our friends at endota spa. If you’d like to find out more about endota’s products and services, or investing in a franchise, please visit www

Charity Fund

– Player donations

Indigenous Team of the Century – Book Launch


ome of the greatest players to ever grace the field and their inspiring stories were highlighted at the Indigenous Team of the Century book launch in August at the MCG. The book written by Sean Gorman features the stories of current players such as Adam Goodes as well as stories from

champions of previous eras including Polly Farmer, Syd Jackson and Barry Cable. The book launch was attended by current Indigenous stars including Chance Bateman, Shaun Burgoyne, Cyril Rioli, Aaron Davey, Austin Wonaeamirri, Jamie Bennell, Neville Jetta and Kelvin Lawrence.


s you are aware, you’re donating $25 to the Players’ Association Charity Fund every time you take the field. This money is primarily used to support Ladder, the homelessness charity set up by players. It is also occasionally used for oneoff donations like the one the players made to the Queensland Flood Appeal earlier this year. A receipt will be sent out May/June 2012 for the fund donation. Players should check their payslips for this deduction.

Footy Recruits


new service has been created to help local footy clubs recruit players, and ex-AFL players are at the top of the pecking order. The site, Footy, allows players to post their credentials including photos and videos and even an employment history for clubs to view. Registration is free for players and for former players it could help them find offers once their career is over. General Manager Player Development Steve Alessio said the site was a great opportunity for players to receive offers from clubs when their career is over and help determine what is right for them. “Many players who have competed at the top level still wish to play when their AFL career comes to a close,” Alessio said. “Lots will play at a local level and this website provides them with an opportunity to place themselves on the market and gauge interest from clubs looking for players of their calibre.

Tax Time


s part of the ATO’s Compliance program for 2011/2012 we have been advised that football codes will be looked at as part of a review of highly paid professions. Please take the time to visit our website and read the information contained on link below. services/finance/. Once you have read the information, pass on the letter to your tax advisor for action. This information has also being forwarded to all agents.

“We encourage any service which helps provide opportunities for our members and have thrown our support behind this site. Site creator Kevin Hughes came up with the idea after spending many years as the coach of Heywood, a remote town in Victoria, and continually facing the battle to attract high quality players to the distant town. “I had some connections down in Melbourne, but it was just so hard to find players willing to travel to Heywood,” he said. “That was in the ‘90s and nothing has changed. Everyone in this (Western Border) league is finding it hard to attract players. “And it’s not just this league. It’s everywhere.” The site currently has more clubs than players registered however with steady growth this should change.

Public Affairs changes


he Association is in the process of recruiting a new Public Affairs Manager following the departure of Ben Hart. Ben has moved on to take up the position of Public Affairs Manager at the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, Headspace. During the process to appoint a replacement, the organisation will continue to focus on pushing the rights of players in the public spotlight and highlighting the great work our players are involved with in the community.

Record Education and Training Grant Applications


FL Players have applied for a record number of Education and Training Grants in 2011. With 433 player applications towards accredited education and training courses AFL Players’ are engaging in their own career development in record numbers. General Manager of Player Development Steve Alessio said this showed that players were realising the importance of being involved in some form of Education and Training, resulting in a more balanced lifestyle.

“It’s great to see players taking advantage of these opportunities,” said Alessio. “We encourage all our members to think of their future. The reality is that one day their careers will come to an end, however taking steps during their career to prepare for this day will ensure they make a smooth transition into the next phase of their life. Today, AFL Players’ in general are more aware of the importance of their overall development needs both on and off the field.”

EDITION 62 / november 2011


Most Valuable player awards dinner

As the only player-voted awards in the industry, the MVP is truly the Players’ Awards. We take a look at some of the winners.

Heppell wins Best First Year Player E

ssendon young gun, Dyson Heppell has been recognised for a stellar season in which he played every game. Heppell was last month voted the Best First Year Player nearly 300 votes clear of his next opponent, at the Players’ MVP. Heppell won the award with 362 votes ahead of number one draft pick, David Swallow (78 votes), Jack Darling (49), Nick Duigan (30) and Tendai Mzungu (27). Heppell becomes the first Bomber to ever win the award and joins the likes of Adam Goodes, Daniel Kerr and Chris Judd, who won the award in the early years and more recently Joel Selwood, Marc Murphy and Brett Deledio in sharing this honour. His debut season has arguably been as impressive as any of these names as he managed to hold down the back flank position and dominate games, earning him the NAB Rising Star Award as well as nominations in the MVP and a top 10 finish in the Bombers Best and Fairest. His coach James Hird rated Heppell’s year as outstanding. “There’s no doubt that Dyson’s performance this year has been as good

a first year as I’ve seen in the AFL,” Hird said. The player himself certainly didn’t lose any fans with the way he handled himself throughout the year and upon receipt of his award, presenting as a humble country lad who is still pinching himself about a remarkable first year of achievements that included playing finals. “It has been a huge year, but I’ve enjoyed every second of it,” Heppell said. “Leading in to the season my goal was to play in Round 1 and I guess I managed to put in a reasonable pre-season and was lucky enough to be able to play. “I had no other major expectations or goals throughout the year, but it’s just the way that the season has gone – it’s turned out very well.” After being named in the All-Australian team for his performances at last year’s under 18 national titles, the 2010 Gippsland

Power captain and Morrish medallist (TAC Cup Best and Fairest) was the Bombers’ first pick in last year’s National Draft. Heppell said there were still times when he felt like a fan of the club he supported growing up. “I grew up idolising players like Jobe Watson, and now I walk in to the locker room and I’m chatting with them every day, training with them every day and playing with them,” he said. “The other day I had to get a couple of photos from when I was a younger bloke and I had a few photos there with Sean Wellman from an Auskick clinic back in Korumburra. “I had one with Fletch (Dustin Fletcher) as well. I actually showed the boys, it was pretty funny.” Heppell played every game for the Bombers this year, including an elimination final against the Blues which ended his fairytale season.

“There’s no doubt that Dyson’s performance this year has been as good a first year as I’ve seen in the AFL.” – JAMES Hird

Chris Judd wins MVP

He was the red-hot favourite and the players proved the pundits right in overwhelmingly choosing Chris Judd to be the 2011 AFL Players’ MVP.


t could be argued that never before has a man had greater respect from his peers, after the Carlton captain polled more than three-times the number of votes of his nearest opponent to be crowned the 2011 AFL Players Most Valuable Player. The Blues champion was also voted the 2011 Best Captain making him the first player since Michael Voss (2003) to take home both awards. Judd personally accepted the Leigh Matthews Trophy at the awards dinner held at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium and his dominance this year was reflected in the voting tally. Judd took home the Leigh Matthews trophy with 1347 votes, with his nearest rivals being Scott Pendlebury (456 votes), Gary Ablett (389 votes), Adam Goodes (300 votes) and former teammate Dean Cox (276 votes). It’s the second time Judd has won the player-voted award, presented by Open Universities Australia, but his first at Carlton having taken home the trophy during his time at the West Coast Eagles in 2006. With the MVP Awards celebrating its 29th anniversary, Judd is the third Carlton player to receive the prestigious Leigh Matthews Trophy following Anthony Koutoufides in 2000 and Greg Williams in 1994. He is also the fifth player to win the Award for a second time joining Gary Ablett Jnr, Greg Williams, Wayne Carey and Michael Voss. The MVP Awards are the only peervoted accolades in the industry, recognising versatility, the ability to play under pressure, skill, leadership, courage, respect for all players and – most importantly – overall value to a team.  AFL Players’ Association President Luke Power, paid tribute to Chris Judd and said the Awards recognise the value players place on peer recognition. “Players strive for the recognition of their colleagues – whether it’s from their teammates or opponents,” Power said.

“Chris Judd’s recognition tonight as a player and captain is richly deserved and I congratulate him for a stellar season.” Judd’s second MVP adds more silverware to an already impressive array of awards, including a Premiership medallion (2006), two Brownlow medals (2004, 2010), as well as three Best & Fairest awards for Carlton (2008, 2009, 2010) and two for West Coast (2004, 2006). Judd said the fact his midfield teammates, such as Marc Murphy and Heath Scotland, had taken a step up this year was a big factor in his win. “I think what really happened is Marc Murphy stepped up and just had such an amazing year which really lightened the load on the rest of us,” he said. “Not just Murph, but the other midfielders as well have had really strong years and that’s made for a much lighter load on me.” Judd was very humble about the fact he had won by more than three times the votes of his nearest competitor. “I don’t think any player in the competition is ever completely secure about where they fit in the picture and I’m always surprised to be rated so highly by my peers.” Judd did however admit this has been one of his best years however his focus was on the finals and the ultimate glory. “It would probably be right up there,” said Judd. “I think it’s been a really consistent year and I guess how you reflect on the year has a lot to do with what happens in the next period of time (in finals).”

Judd wins Best Captain


hen he arrived at Carlton four years ago, the Club was looking for Chris Judd to be not only an amazing player but also a leader to nurture their young troops and rebuild the club into a force to be reckoned with. Four years on and Judd has not only won three Best and Fairests and a Brownlow, but has been acknowledged by his peers as the league’s Best Captain for 2011. The “Juddanaut” rolled on as it was announced that he had won with 240 votes, nearly double that of his nearest competitor, first year Captain Luke Hodge (127 votes) and Sydney champion Adam Goodes (78 votes). The 2011 Best Captain clearly has the admiration and support of his co-Carlton brigade of stars as they looked on in awe of their leader as he took to the stage to collect his first of two premier awards for the evening. Judd accepted the award thanking teammates for their support. “It’s a tremendous honour to stand up here tonight and accept this on behalf of the entire group really,” said Judd. He said the award has particular significance due to the fact it had been voted on by his peers. “It’s very humbling. When you start out your career you aim to get the respect of your immediate teammates and then to grow that and get the respect of the wider footballing community, so this is a true honour.” The award was presented by former North Melbourne Champion Wayne Carey who said it was “no surprise” that the Carlton champion had been voted the Best Captain as he announced the award. The award was sponsored by Open Universities Australia.

EDITION 62 / november 2011


Two selfless acts that ended with horrific injuries typified why there was no doubt in the Players’ minds that Brown was 2011’s most courageous player.

Jonathon Brown wins Most Courageous B

risbane Lions champion Jonathon Brown took out his third Most Courageous Player award with 242 votes, recording double the number of votes of his nearest rivals Joel Selwood (108), Luke Hodge (88), Beau Waters (80) and Jude Bolton (73). But finishing second to Brown is certainly nothing to sneeze at. After-all, he was recognised as the second Most Courageous player of all time, overshadowed only by the legendarily fearless Glenn Archer, at this

The Carlton boys arrive at the MVP.

year’s annual Divine football luncheon where ‘courage’ was the theme of the event. Brown’s 2011 season saw him definitely earn this award after he suffered two of the most horrific injuries of his career. The first saw him collecting a stray knee to the face from Fremantle’s Luke McPharlin as he dived for a mark which left him with facial injuries which were said to be consistent with that of a car crash victim. The second occurred later in the season as he charged back for a mark in trademark Brown fashion and collided with the elbow of teammate Mitch Clark along with a pack of players who were steaming towards him. These incidents had many questioning whether Brown’s bravery was jeopardising his career, but Coach Michael Voss summed it up well scoffing at suggestions that Brown should change his game. “It’s hard for a coach to tell someone that instead of going 120 per cent they should go 110. That’s just the competitor.

As soon as you doubt that, that’s when you’re gone,” Voss said. “He’ll never be like that. He’s always maintained that character and that’s why he leads from the front. “When you’re led by that bloke, it’s no wonder the guys want to come to the well. It gets them up, now we have to get him up. He’s unbelievably courageous.” Brown was unable to attend the event but charmed the crowd with one of his characteristic speeches from the turf of the Gabba. “The Robert Rose award is a fantastic award and one I am very honoured to win,” Brown said. “Maybe I’ve won it for sticking my head in the wrong place a couple of times throughout the year, but at the same time it takes everyone an enormous amount of courage to be able to walk onto an AFL field, week in week out as it has become a very hostile and fast environment.” Finally, Brown thanked his club, coaches, teammates and the AFL Players’ Association for their support as well as acknowledging Open Universities Australia for presenting the Award.

Sam Edmund wins Grant Hattam award H

erald Sun journalist, Sam Edmund took home the coveted Grant Hattam award for his two part insight into young AFL hopefuls in the Northern Territory and their dreams of making it in the big time. This two part feature, entitled “The Tyranny of Distance” and “The red centre’s angry boys”, explored the challenges many of these young Indigenous footballers face including relocation, lack of support from their community as well as the lure of drugs and alcohol. It examined the experiences of former Tiger Troy Taylor and teammate Relton Roberts, who returned to their communities

due to a variety of factors including homesickness after stints in the AFL. He also tells the story of young Troy Lawton, who at the time had just played his first game for the NT Thunder and discusses the challenges he is facing after turning his life around after being involved with gangs and drugs. Edmund finally highlights that although there has been great developments in improving the AFL environment for Indigenous players, there were actually more Indigenous players delisted than drafted last year and his article highlights some of the reasons why this is the case. The story was clearly one close to Edmund’s heart and he said the experience had been one of the most powerful of his life and thanked the Herald Sun for allowing him to tell these young stars story. “It’s a great honour to get up here when you consider the names who

have won this before me,” said Edmund. “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of telling this story and what started as an idea became one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Those kids are amazing and it was a real eye opener for me. “To win this award makes me very proud and it comes as a great surprise.” Edmund joins the names of Emma Quayle, Mike Sheahan, Sam Lane, Jake Niall, Michael Gleeson and Mark Robinson who have all won this award. Highly recommended in this year’s award was Sam Lane, who impressed the judges with her piece on former Demon Daniel Bell and his experience dealing with concussion related injury.

“It’s a great honour to get up

here when you consider the names who have won this

before me.” – SAM Edmund

Nick Maxwell and Scott Pendlebury pose for the media.

EDITION 62 / november 2011



Breaking new ground Sam Lane reports on the first historic meeting of the Indigenous Players Advisory Board.


ombating racism in football and beyond the boundary, keeping the AFL’s Aboriginal players in the game for longer, and improving their education are three priorities a new Indigenous advisory board has pledged to address and improve in the next 12 months. At the first meeting of the eight-member body, chaired by Sydney co-captain Adam Goodes, the player representatives

committed to investigating why indigenous players remain more likely to leave AFL clubs than Non-Indigenous players and to finding solutions. Disturbing cases of racism experienced by such players as Lance Franklin this season strengthened the Board’s view that football was not free of prejudice - even at AFL clubs, which, in the eyes of the new advisory group, could still support Aboriginal players better. The players also expressed a willingness to lead a national awareness-raising campaign. The historically poor number of indigenous AFL players undertaking education and training through football was the third key concern of a board that believes such opportunities should be embraced. Through Goodes, the Indigenous Board – which has been assembled with the support of the AFL Players’ Association – has a direct line to the PA executive. Xavier Clarke (Brisbane Lions), Graham Johncock – who was permitted by Adelaide to fly to Melbourne for the meeting – Roger Hayden (Fremantle), Aaron Davey (Melbourne), Chance Bateman (Hawthorn), Nathan Lovett-Murray (Essendon) and Shaun Burgoyne (Hawthorn) are the other members of the Board, elected by the AFL’s 85 indigenous footballers. It is hoped the board’s quarterly meetings will provide a forum for the game’s Indigenous leaders to discuss and record issues and concerns, and take the

lead on initiatives. Fourteen applications were received for a seat on the advisory group, a figure that encouraged the PA, who suggested the idea at the Indigenous AFL camp held in February. “A key term that comes up particularly early in the year is homesickness. So it’s about really breaking that down. Has it got to do with integration into a club, support provided around the players or their living arrangements? That’s what we will explore,” said Nadia Taib, the AFL Players’ Association’s Indigenous and Multicultural Manager. “The conversation started partly because it was recognised a number of players have left the system prematurely, and the Board believes they can help turn that around. “Regarding racism, the Board believes more can always be done and that they have an opportunity to take a leadership position on the issue. It may not be just speaking to other footballers, but speaking out to the community about what’s not acceptable. “The players on the board know their role is pivotal to starting those conversations and ensuring it’s as issue which is taken on more broadly by other players and the general community.” Another area of concern is the virtual absence of Aboriginal representatives in AFL coaching ranks, while Indigenous players also agree some clubs support Indigenous players better.


Free Agency

We have reached final agreement on the details of how Free Agency will operate following its introduction at the end of the 2012 season.


n a nutshell, Free Agency will allow a player who has played eight years or more at the one club to negotiate directly with the club of his choice. By striking a balance between respecting the culture and traditions of our game, whilst acknowledging the rights of players for increased self determination, Free Agency will be good for Players, Clubs and the game. The main areas that we have now finalised with the AFL are: • The top 25% of players takes in to consideration “guaranteed” contracted entitlements only • The timetable for the transfer period and draft

• The transition arrangements for Veterans, allowing clubs to operate under the current rules for the life of the contracts negotiated before 1 November 2011 • Offers must be “matched” for restricted free agents in exact terms, but can be spread evenly by clubs for salary cap purposes • The indirect compensation for clubs that have a net loss being determined by the formula applied to the GWS list creation model. If you have any questions, please contact Ian Prendergast on 0412 878 455.

Tribunal Review W

e recently made submissions to the AFL on behalf of players as part of the annual Tribunal system review. Following is a basic summary of the views expressed by the PA following consultation with players and feedback from the AFL regarding the areas it is looking at. “Staging” • No noticeable increase in “staging” acts • MRP already has the power to deal with these acts appropriately, therefore there is no need for the system to be changed Tribunal Coverage • Players’ are concerned regarding the “live” online coverage of Tribunal hearings Umpire Contact • Players’ continue to support reasonable measures to protect umpires from incidental contact on field following significant increase in 2011

• Improved education should be a focus of the AFL given that financially sanctioning players is clearly not working Rough Conduct – Dangerous Tackles • Players’ are confused as to what the MRP considers a dangerous tackle (57% of players) • Categorisation of dangerous tackles should remain, with precedent evidence being introduced to assist in achieving fairness and consistency before the Tribunal • Grading of rough conduct charges should be downgraded to ensure proportionality with the incident that occurs

Facts about free agency • Players delisted by a club will be unrestricted free agents. • Players who are NOT in the top 25% of salaries at their club (i.e. not in club top 9-10 paid players) will be eligible for unrestricted free agency if they have served at least 8 years with the club. • Players who ARE in the top 25% of salaries at their club (i.e. in club top 9-10 paid players) will be eligible for restricted free agency on the first occasion they are out of contract having served at least 8 years with the club. • A top 25% player will then be eligible for unrestricted free agency when next out of contract provided that a player can never be an unrestricted free agent until completing at least 10 years service at one club. • Restricted free agents have the right to move to a club of their choice subject to the current club’s right of first refusal over their services. That is, if the current club can “match” the offer from a suitor club in exact terms, the player can only change clubs via a trade or a draft. The tabled offer only includes football payments and ASA amounts.

Striking behind the play • In return for agreement on dangerous tackles, support increased grading of these offences Precedent evidence • Reiterated long standing position (supported by 91% of players) that player confidence in Tribunal system would be significantly enhanced if players could rely on precedence evidence in some capacity • Proposed that players be able to rely on similar fact evidence from the relevant season of the incident, albeit on a controlled and limited basis.

EDITION 62 / november 2011


madden medal

Farewells 2011

By Emma Quayle

With the Madden Medal awards set for the first week of December, Emma Quayle took a look at some of the stars who have made the most of a second chance (as of September 12, 2011).


rady Rawlings started out as a 17-yearold draftee, moving to North Melbourne from Tasmania with one year of high school still to go. He finished as a 30-year-old father, after 245 games and three best-andfairest awards, with a job in the club’s recruiting team waiting for him. Mitch Hahn retired one year after the Western Bulldogs moved him to their rookie list, still wanting badly to be back in the senior team but embracing the opportunity to help his young teammates prepare to take his place. Darcy Daniher wanted to play more than six matches for Essendon, the club his father Anthony’s 118-game career took him to four years ago, but when his 21-year-old body kept breaking down he realised it was time to find something new to do with his very young life. Tadhg Kennelly was an Irish teenager with a bright future in Gaelic football when he moved to the other side

of the world and became one of the most beloved Sydney Swans. The stories of these four players followed completely different scripts, yet they all played their final AFL games sharing a feeling that most of 2011’s retirees can never know. By the start of the 2011 finals series, 17 players had told the world they wouldn’t play on past this year, but just seven – Rawlings, Roger Hayden, Daniher, Hahn, Byron Schammer, Ryan Houlihan and Kennelly – had finished playing for the same club that first drafted them. Dean Brogan, Chad Cornes and Luke Power would be on that list too, if they were not looking to play for Greater Western Sydney next year, but if there is something to take from this year’s group of retirees, it is that first chances are not always final ones. Scott Stevens started in Sydney, but found his place – or places, such was his versatility – in Adelaide. “We are certainly a better club for having Scott here, not only for what he provided on the field but for the enormous

if there is something to take from this year’s group of retirees,

it is that first chances are

not always final ones.

impact on our leadership program,” said then-Crows coach Neil Craig of the 144 gamer, who retired due to ongoing problems with concussion. Brad Moran was a novelty when drafted by North Melbourne five years ago, given his family had migrated from England only a few years earlier, and while his promising start there stalled, the Crows saw enough to give him another opportunity. Daniel Bradshaw wasn’t happy about leaving Brisbane, because he had kicked more than 500 goals in 12 years there and played in the club’s greatest teams, but he retired as a Sydney player glad he had sought the “fairytale” ending for as long as he possibly could. Marcus Drum was a top 10 draftee when Fremantle moved him out of country Victoria, and when his chances began to dry up there he found his way to Geelong. Injuries got in the way – a detached retina, then calf, ankle and hamstring issues – but like Bradshaw, the 24-year-old was glad he hung in for as long as he did, hoping his experiences would help him take his next step into a coaching career. “I think with what I’ve been through, and having lived in Perth and then come back here,” he said. “I’ve had

some really good life experiences, and I’d love to pass on some knowledge in the future.” Mark Williams felt the same way. He played 111 games in his 11 years at Hawthorn, and that club will never forget his sweet set-shot kicking, the way he kept the forward line bubbling until Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead were ready to take over, and the three goals he scored on grand final day, 2008. He took a knee injury to Essendon when traded there at the end of 2009 and never got over it, but felt glad, like Drum, that he had tried. “It’s sad that it had to end like this, but I’m pretty lucky with what my career has brought me,” Williams said. “I had some great times at Hawthorn, they gave me a lot, and I’m grateful that Essendon gave me a chance. I can look back and know that I did my best. When you move to a new club, it gives you hope that things will change around. It just doesn’t always work out.” For others, it did. Craig Bolton played just eight games in his three years at Brisbane, never quite able to break into the rampant Lions side, then became a co-captain of the successful Sydney Swans.

“Mooney will go down as one of the most passionate and competitive Geelong people ever.” – CHRIS SCOTT

Barry Hall changed what people thought of him when he moved from St Kilda to Sydney, then did the same again for two years as a Western Bulldog. Leigh Brown didn’t do much wrong at Fremantle and served North Melbourne well too, but after he found himself cut he found Collingwood, which helped him almost create a whole new position and win the premiership medallion he had waited 10 years for. The Crows transformed Ben Hudson from a VFL-playing physiotherapist into an AFL player when he was in his mid-20s, and it didn’t take long for him (and his beard, and energetic ways) to win the Bulldog fans over. Daniel Harris wasn’t ready, when he was delisted by North Melbourne two years ago, but he moved his young family to a new state, spent a year in the VFL and became someone the Gold Coast kids relied on to show them what to do. Michael Gardiner was a No. 1 draft pick that trouble, of various sorts, seemed to keep finding by the end of his 10 years at West Coast. He gave it away as a St Kilda player, Ross Lyon commenting on how dramatically he, as a 32-year-old husband and father, had grown up. Then there is Cam Mooney. He was a teenager who had played only 11 games for North Melbourne – one of them bringing a premiership – when the club sacrificed him as part of the Leigh Colbert trade deal. When he announced his retirement he was 31, a 221-game player whose love for Geelong was easy to see, and will not be soon forgotten. “He will go down,” said coach Chris Scott, who picked up on it quickly, “as one of the most passionate and competitive Geelong people ever.”

Retiring players Adelaide Scott Stevens – 144 games (Sydney: 25 games, Adelaide Crows: 119 games) Brisbane Lions Jamie Charman – 129 games Carlton Ryan Houlihan – 201 games Collingwood Leigh Brown – 246 games (Fremantle: 63 games, North Melbourne: 118 games, Collingwood 65 games) Essendon Mark Williams – 115 games (Hawthorn: 111 games, Essendon: 4 games) Darcy Daniher – 6 games Fremantle Roger Hayden – 128 games Byron Schammer – 129 games Geelong Cameron Ling – 246 games Marcus Drum – 22 games (Fremantle: 22 games, Geelong: 0 games) Darren Milburn – 292 games Cam Mooney – 221 games (North Melbourne: 11 games, Geelong: 210 games) Gold Coast Daniel Harris – 160 games Gold Coast (North Melbourne: 149 games, Gold Coast: 11 games) North Melbourne Brady Rawlings – 246 games St Kilda Michael Gardiner – 181 Games St Kilda (West Coast: 129 games, St Kilda: 52 games) Sydney Craig Bolton – 199 games (Brisbane: 29 games, Sydney: 170 games) Daniel Bradshaw – 231 games (Brisbane Bears: 3 games, Brisbane Lions: 219 games, Sydney: 9 games) Tadhg Kennelly – 197 games Western Bulldogs Barry Hall – 289 games (St Kilda: 88 games, Sydney: 162 games, Western Bulldogs: 39 games) Mitch Hahn – 181 games Ben Hudson – 143 games Western Bulldogs (Adelaide: 55 games, Western Bulldogs 88 games) West Coast Eagles Brett Jones – 102 games

EDITION 62 / november 2011



Sharing views on

player welfare

When club Player Development Managers come together to share knowledge, it’s players that ultimately benefit.


irls. X-Box. Hitting the clubs. The stereotype of what interests a modern young footballer can be as strong as they are one-dimensional. But when Port Adelaide Player Development Manager (PDM) Stuart Cochrane joined the club in 2008 and started looking into what drove his players, a very different picture emerged. “We did some research into the major motivations and influences for our players and identified that their family was clearly their number one priority,” said Cochrane. “There are a large percentage of guys from interstate and also a large percentage in long term relationships with young families. “So now we have placed a major focus on inclusion of our player’s families and believe we have now turned this into a major point of difference for our club.” AFL Players’ Association General Manager Player Development Steve Alessio said it was stories like this that highlighted the value of the Association’s PDM Forums, the latest of which was held in August at the Beach Hotel in Port Melbourne.

With around 20 PDMs gathered from around the nation, the event was a chance to provide an update on the various pilot programs the Association has been trialling as well as gauge feedback on the proposed changes to the Player Development program in 2012. Alessio said these forums were a great chance for PDM’s to strengthen existing relationships as well as learn how other clubs are handling the challenges PDMs face on a daily basis. “We know every player is different and every club is different, so the landscape these guys face is constantly changing,” said Alessio. “These forums give them the chance to learn from each other which will ultimately lead to them providing the best service to our players. “We want to keep developing our services in conjunction with PDMs by ensuring the lines of communication between the player, PDM and the Association are always open and we are working towards the same goals.”

Alessio said Cochrane’s reflections were a highlight. “It was a great insight from Stuart and it is exactly what this forum is about,” said Alessio. “There are plenty of PDMs in that room who had a light bulb moment at some point during the forum as many of them are facing the same challenges but may be dealing with it in different ways.” The PDMs were also privy to presentations on the various pilot programs players have participated in over the past year, including the Business Mentors, Media Mentors and Re-Boot programs. Business Mentors pilot program is designed to facilitate relationships between athletes and mentors to connect the two and help with the transition into owning a small business. Carlton’s Setanta O’Hailphin was chosen to participate in the pilot program to further develop his plan to launch an Irish Pub in Melbourne. His mentor was owner of the Clarendon Hotel in Melbourne, Cary Stynes who has experience in both the hotel world and is also a lawyer. The program began in May with an initial introduction and required a minimum of 40 contact hours of initial planning and then access to the mentor.

The program has been hugely beneficial for Setanta who has taken the opportunity to work at the Clarendon when times permits to gain a greater understanding of what it takes to run a bar. He has also flagged his intention of working at the Clarendon during the off season to further his education and felt many players within the AFL would benefit from such a program. Next up, Essendon’s Mark McVeigh spoke about his experience with the Media Mentors pilot which is designed to provide players who have a genuine interest in pursuing a career in media with a chance to further develop their skills. Mark said the experience had been very beneficial particularly is relation to defining which area of media he would like to pursue. “Fairly early on in the program I worked out I wasn’t as interested in moving into print media and that was great, because without that experience I wouldn’t have known,” said McVeigh.

“But what I really enjoyed was getting a deeper understanding of the preparation that occurs with both TV and radio. “When you are a player and go on something like The Footy Show you really just get prepared and go out there and everything is organised for you and you give your own opinion. “What I was able to do in this pilot was get a full run down prior to the show of the topics that may arise so I could formulate an opinion and get more involved with conversations with other panelists. “The other great thing was that after each session these guys would give me a full appraisal of how I went and critique my performance so I could go away, review and improve.” Steve Alessio said the pilot was not a media training course but rather was similar to the Next Coach program in that it was designed for those who have demonstrated a genuine interest in pursuing a career in the media.

The final session of the forum came from an ex player who has entered the media, but in a different light. Former Cat and Demon Clint Bizzell is pursuing a career in acting, but also has established his own production company. He joined the forum to lend his expertise and play the role of a current day player and put the PDMs through their paces with four role play scenarios allowing them to exhibit their skills in how they would deal with these issues. The scenarios presented were: a retired/delisted player meeting, a wellbeing issues, a life skills issue where a players behaviour needs addressing and finally a relocation issue where a player is experiencing homesickness. AFL Players’ Association Wellbeing Consultant, Michael Inglis attended the event to provide feedback on their performance. The entire role-play was filmed by Bizzell’s production company Eve Media and the footage will be used as a training tool for PDMs in the future.

Alessio said these forums were a great chance for PDM’s to strengthen existing relationships.

EDITION 62 / november 2011



By Gary Stocks

an off-field winner too

Former West Coast Eagle Tyson Stenglein is excelling in his new role as a Director at web design and production studio – spacebetween.


he AFL Players Association prides itself on preparing players for their postfootball lives. If they’re looking for a poster boy to advocate the values of those programs, then they need look no further than Tyson Stenglein. Better than that, Stinga could actually design the poster! The 2006 West Coast Eagles premiership hero took advantage of the

educational programs organised through the Association to ensure he had the necessary business skills to make a smooth transition into the next phase of his life. He and his sister, Jen, together with Jen’s partner, Dave, have set up a web design/photography business in Melbourne and he is enjoying the new challenges thrust before him. Stenglein is far removed from the 60s image of the washed up footballer, slumped in a smoke-filled bar reminiscing about his past achievements. Rather than the local pub, Stenglein and co are working out of a converted micro brewery in trendy South Melbourne, delving into their creative beings and it

seems to be going well. Certainly he is enthusiastic about the venture and his energy is contagious. “Melbourne is where Jen and partner, Dave have lived for the last eight or 10 years creating their own freelance businesses with what we’re doing now,” Stenglein enthuses. “It’s built around photography and graphic design. For me really the business has been five years in the making, where we all thought we could collaborate and do something together. “Really, the reason I came to Melbourne is because the guys are here and I just thought it would be a nice change after living in Perth for the last six years to try a different city and here I am. “We’re a full production photography studio. As you can see we’ve got our own studio here so people can come and do the studio shoots. We also do on-location shoots and any graphic web design, corporate collateral. All that kind of stuff that goes with the design process “We’ve had this space since January, so it’s eight months now and we’ve just finished all the renovations on it. It used to be an old brewery which was pretty cool seeing the photos of it back from scratch. “Jen’s been a photographer for 10 years and she’s done a whole range of different types of photography but moved more into fashion now and Dave’s been running his own graphic design corporate company for the last six years and went freelance after that.”

Tyson Stenglein and sister Jen.

Stenglein has always had something of a business mind. Even when playing he dabbled in a few different initiatives and was always looking outside the square, preparing for the day when football would give way to those interests. The hard-nosed midfielder, originally from Subiaco, drafted to Adelaide but targeted by West Coast as a man who could make a difference in 2004, certainly lived up to that expectation. Stenglein joined the club in 2005, after 106 games with the Crows, and provided the hard edge to the midfield that the Eagles match committee craved, to round out the capabilities of the team. He gave them that – and some – and in 102 games for West Coast was a significant contributor. After spending some time travelling and partaking in his favourite recreational pursuit – surfing – he headed back to Australia and began to implement his business plan: to put into practice the off-field skills with which he had equipped himself. “When I was playing footy, I was just trying to up-skill myself, basically with all skills using the Players’ Association education grants,” Stenglein expands. “I wasn’t exactly sure what I was moving into. This option really came about only in the middle of last year when we decided ‘let’s fully go ahead with it.’ “That’s when I met up with my sister on my travels last year in Croatia. We talked about it, then discussed it in a bit more depth and thought it could really have some legs here in Melbourne, so we just took it from there. “I knew I always wanted to work for myself so I wanted to learn about business and starting a business so we approached the Australian Institute of Management. I approached them basically to put a program together that would accommodate playing footy full-time. “I tried a few uni courses over time but just found the study and basically the

practicality of what I wanted to know, didn’t really work in that well. I did my Small Business Diploma and from there did an Advanced Diploma in Management. “Also just up-skilling myself I did some work with Diageo, a big corporate company, in events and marketing. Really, it was just a bit of work experience and gave me an insight into what I wanted to do. While I was travelling last year I also looked into a few short courses which the AFL offer. “I did some video editing and those kinds of courses which gave us a bit of background and tied in well with a lot of the stuff we’re doing here. It all kind of fits pretty well... I’m still trying to up-skill myself in a few areas. “It’s been really exciting just to get into a new industry. The only real connection this has with football is meeting football people. “You talk football and it’s a great starting point when people are interested in footy but you also have a service that you can help their business with if they’re in the need for something like that.” The dynamics of the business, spacebetween, seem to complement each other. And with Stenglein you get the sense there is a great deal of satisfaction in moulding something from the start. He and his business partners were on the tools renovating the office space, they are all responsible for bringing clients to the operation and they are putting their heart and soul into it. “Because Jen’s business has been established for so long, a lot of her clients; previous clients and new are coming from her brand and her reputation as a photographer,” Stenglein explains. “That’s kind of the same with Dave. We’re all bringing clients from different areas. I’ve found it’s been a pretty even split amongst all of us with the clients we’ve brought to the business.

“It’s keeping me very busy! It’s a lot different... a reality check in terms of how much time you have when you play football.” While Stenglein is firmly focused on his new business interests, he is also a regular at West Coast games in Melbourne. He has enjoyed watching the club’s rise back up the premiership table and looks forward to catching up with some of his former teammates in Melbourne in September.

EDITION 62 / november 2011



Improving performance on and off the field with OUA Winner of the OUA Learning for Life Scholarship, Adrian Fletcher believes further education could provide him with the edge in his coaching career.


career in football requires a lot of determination, stamina, training and focus. And these traits are just as important for players who decide to pursue a career after the game. As a former AFL player, Adrian Fletcher is no stranger to this concept. Adrian is now an assistant coach but he didn’t get to this stage in his post-football career without putting in the hard yards, which in his case included various educational pursuits. “I am extremely motivated to finish the MBA that I started back in 2006. I have already completed my certificate in plumbing, a diploma in management and a fitness leader certificate,” said Adrian. This dedication to study made Adrian stand out as a candidate and eventual winner of an Open Universities Australia Learning for Life Scholarship earlier this year. Open Universities Australia (OUA) has been working in partnership with the AFL Players’ Association for the past five years. The focus of the partnership is on helping players and their clubs recognise the importance of off field development – which in turn benefits their performance on field. It’s through this partnership that the Learning for Life Scholarship program was designed. It offers retired AFL footballers

the assistance required to make that all important transition into a life after their playing career. For Adrian, this presents a perfect opportunity to realise his aspiration of catapulting from the ranks of an assistant coach into the honoured role of head coach. “I have been an assistant coach since 2001 and would love to one day coach in my own right,” said Fletcher. In his mind, the key to Adrian’s future lies in the completion of his MBA qualification. “To give me a greater chance of completing my long time goal, finishing the MBA should increase my chances,” said Fletcher. In Adrian’s case, this is where the flexibility of an OUA education is great for AFL players as their philosophy is designed to build a study experience to fit your lifestyle. All students – whether they’re studying for the first time, working professionals living overseas or elite athletes – need the flexibility of being able to study when, where and how much their lifestyle will allow them. Any AFL player contemplating their future after football can be guaranteed OUA’s choice of over 1100 units of study or 130 qualifications, taught by 20 leading universities and higher education providers.

This includes the Graduate Certificate in Sports Coaching and the Masters of Sports Coaching (Griffith University). OUA also offers AFL players access to dedicated Enrolment Advisors who are on hand to help create a study journey that is tailored to their lifestyle and level of commitment. OUA provide access to online discussion forums, virtual reality stimulations, webinars and 24/7 tutorial support, allowing all students to interact with both peers and instructors on a regular basis. So as a player, whether you’re gearing up for the finals or contemplating the year that’s just passed, now is the ideal time to start thinking about your development off the field potentially with OUA. Enrolments for Study Period 4 close 13 November, with studies starting on 28 November. For further details on the partnership agreement, study options and special benefits for AFL players, coaches and club officials, visit the OUA microsite at About Open Universities Australia OUA is the national leader in providing open and flexible access to quality tertiary education. Enrolling over 144,000 students since 1993, OUA brings 20 leading Australian universities and other higher education providers to you. You can choose from more than 1100 units and 130 qualifications. Visit


Ladder gives youth a step out of homelessness By Luke Ball

Ladder have launched a new campaign which is being led by ambassadors Luke Ball, Andrew McLeod and Jobe Watson.


he AFL Players Association Chief Executive, Matt Finnis, calls it “footy’s best-kept secret”, and I reckon he’s probably right. Last year I wrote an article looking at Collingwood’s American recruit, Shae McNamara, and his surprise at AFL players’ aversion to self-promotion, to drawing any type of attention to yourself, compared with athletes from his country of origin. When it comes to our charity, Ladder, the same culture of modesty is on display (or not, as the case may be). It aims to engage players and the broader football industry in addressing youth homelessness in AFL states. Already, centres have been set up in Melbourne and Adelaide, with more being planned around the country. About 35 young people who were homeless or at risk now have accommodation, with many making real progress towards building the life skills necessary to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness that keeps kids away from stable housing and good support networks. The joint AFLPA/AFL initiative has received plaudits from state and federal governments, who have also provided funding to the project. Just last week the federal Minister for Sport and Homelessness,

Mark Arbib, announced a very welcome injection of more than $400,000 for Ladder mentoring co-ordinators. Dozens of players - joined by other professional athletes such as netballers – are providing mentoring support to help these young people. It’s being partly funded by every AFL player who gets a game. Every time they run out on to the field they also donate a portion of their match payments to the cause. It’s not just the players doing this, of course. The services are run in partnership with some great organisations including Melbourne Citymission and Yarra Community Housing in Melbourne, St John’s Youth Services in Port Adelaide, and the Victorian and South Australian governments. As I indicated in the column last year, there’s a part of me that likes the fact that AFL players are still a bit shy when it comes to publicity.

I’m temporarily putting aside my reluctance to get into the limelight and spruik things and have signed on as an ambassador for Ladder. Joining me are Jobe Watson and Andrew McLeod in Adelaide. We’re all fronting the new One Team campaign that aims to raise awareness about, and funds for, youth homelessness initiatives run by Ladder. Part of the ambassador role is also to tell Ladder’s untold story, from its early days as nothing more than a seed of an idea that germinated after a number of footballers – including Mark Bolton, Paul Licuria and Joel Bowden – went out with the Salvation Army on its soup van run and were appalled by the disadvantage they saw, especially among young people. What if we could harness the goodwill, influence and power of this unstoppable social and cultural force that is AFL, they thought. Ladder was born. This article originally appeared in The Age.

About 35 young people who were homeless or at risk now have accommodation,

with many making real progress towards building the life skills necessary to break the cycle of poverty.

EDITION 62 / november 2011


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Inform Magazine November Edition  

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