Players Under Financial Scrutiny

Posted on: 4/13 at 4:33pm ET

AFL search for illegal payments goes far and wide

G'Day Footy Fans -

AFL Audits Players
Over 200 past and present players have received a letter from the league requesting extensive personal financial information. This request is part of an attempt by the AFL to look for any past or present salary cap breaches by clubs and comes on the back of the Carlton investigation which revealed illegal player payments which were set up to be almost untraceable.
The information being requested by the league includes including group certificates, tax returns for the past 3 years, bank accounts, shares, trust accounts overseas, and superannuation funds. The letter also requests all football payments and benefits. The players are also asked to inform the AFL about financial partnerships and about their financial dealings with associates that relate to football.
The deadline for turning over the information is April 22.
However, AFLPA boss Rob Kerr questioned whether the scope of the AFL's authority extended to retired players and also said that the league needs to show justification for the demand of such sensitive information and should be required for demonstrating grounds for seeking the information.
AFL Operations Manager Andrew Demetriou countered with the argument that players signed binding agreements with clubs and clubs were responsible to uphold the rules over player payments.
Leading player agents Ricky Nixon and Peter Jess have called on the AFL to implement a centralized payment system as a solution to the salary cap problem. The pair, who manage about 60 of the audited players between them, argued that the best way to solve ongoing salary cap issues would be to ensure all payments to footballers were made through the AFL and not the clubs.
Jess said he had taken the proposal to the AFL Players Association earlier this year because he felt it was a good way to ensure players were paid on time as well as preventing clubs from abusing the salary cap.
AFLPA chief executive Rob Kerr said the centralized payment system idea was among others he was looking to discuss at the next collective bargaining agreement discussions with the AFL later this year. AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson said that if raised, the idea would be dealt with by a league steering committee.
Player managers also expressed concern about the audit deadline, saying 15 days was not enough time to produce the requested information as managers and accountants would need to put in more time to gather the information. Nixon also argued that the players themselves had other things to do "...like play the game".
Kerr said any player concerned about not being able to meet the deadline should contact AFL investigations officer Ken Wood.
The agents also expressed concern about the cost of gathering the information, with Nixon saying he had told his clients to bill the AFL for the amount.
The agents were also concerned about the former players who had been asked to comply with the audit.

GENERAL NEWS
Influential player managers Ricky Nixon and Max Stevens parted company last week after the Adelaide-based Stevens decided to withdraw from the South Australian arm of Nixon's Flying Start management company. Stevens, who leased the Flying Start name in Adelaide with his wife, told Nixon at a meeting in Melbourne of his wish to part company due to vastly differing views on company direction.
Stevens said most players he had brought to the company would remain under his management. Stevens has hands on management with about 60 players and he said that almost all support his stance of wanting more service as opposed to entrepreneurialism.
Stevens, who worked in the media for 20 years, has players on his books from every AFL club except Essendon.
He manages elite players such as Adelaide captain Mark Ricciuto, his fellow Crow Simon Goodwin and Port Adelaide's Chad Cornes.
Stevens insisted that the parting was amicable.
Stevens said he was fielding offers from a variety of areas and hoped to work out his future within the next two weeks.

ANZAC Game Sold Out
The public rush for tickets for the Anzac Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood ended last week when the AFL announced that the match had been sold out.
Moves are being made to televise the game live on Channel Nine now that the game has sold out two weeks in advance. AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson is pleased that fans heeded warnings to buy tickets early because of the limited capacity of the MCG.
The round-five match is set to be the second sellout Collingwood will be a part of in as many weeks, with the grand final rematch between the Lions and the Magpies also close to a sellout.

TRIBUNAL
There were no charges laid on the weekend of Round 2 and no video charges laid.

But in other related news the AFL wrote to both Bulldog Luke Darcy and Cat Ben Graham for an explanation for the events where the players came into contact in the interchange area after Darcy was ordered to leave the field due to a blood injury. Andrew Demetriou said Graham had been fined $2000 and told that such
confrontations were avoidable and not in the best interests of the game while Darcy had been warned that such confrontations should be avoided at all costs.
Graham subsequently contacted Demetriou about what he considers to be an unfair fine and sought an explanation as to why he was being fined.
Darcy had left the field under the blood rule when he was confronted by Graham in the players’ interchange area during the final quarter of the match at Telstra Dome.
The Bulldogs ruckman received physical attention from numerous Cats after he shirt-fronted young Geelong player Joel Corey and cut his head in the process.
Matthew Scarlett, Darren Milburn and James Kelly all expressed their displeasure at Darcy’s actions, before Graham had his say off the field.
Graham eventually had a telephone conversation with Demetriou and was satisfied with the explanation for the fine.
Demetriou said that he based his decision to fine Graham and not Darcy on information provided by a range of interested parties.

MILESTONES
450 games coached -- Michael Malthouse. Malthouse became the eighth person in the history of the game to reach 450 games as a coach, having so far led Footscray in 135 matches, West Coast in 243 matches and Collingwood in 71 matches. He joins Jock McHale (714 matches with Collingwood), Allan Jeans (575 matches comprising 332 with St Kilda, 221 with Hawthorn and 22 with Richmond), Kevin Sheedy (523 matches with Essendon), Tom Hafey (522 matches comprising 248 with Richmond, 138 with Collingwood, 66 with Geelong and 70 with Sydney), David Parkin (518 matches comprising 94 with Hawthorn, 355 with Carlton and 69 with Fitzroy), Ron Barassi (515 matches comprising 147 with Carlton, 198 with North Melbourne, 111 with Melbourne and 59 with Sydney) and Norm Smith (452 matches comprising 55 with Fitzroy, 310 with Melbourne and 87 with South Melbourne).
250 games -- Wayne Campbell, Richmond. Campbell is the 10th player in the history of the club to reach 250 games, joining Kevin Bartlett (403 games), Jack Dyer (312 games), Francis Bourke (300 games), Jack Titus (294 games), Matthew Knights (279 games), Dale Weightman (274 games), Vic Thorp (263 games), Percy Bentley (263 games) and Kevin Sheedy (251 games).
150 games -- Shane Parker, Fremantle. Parker is the first player to reach 150 games for the club, since Fremantle joined the AFL in 1995. Parker has played 149 of a possible 178 games for the Dockers and is one of only four players from the original club list still at the club -- the others being Anthony Jones, Shaun McManus and club captain Peter Bell.
150 games -- Fraser Gehrig (STK), Daniel Chick (WCE)
100 games -- Clint Bizzell & Chris Heffernan (MELB)
50 club games -- Martin Pike (BRIS), Aaron Lord (GEEL)
A few other milestones: Round 1 ten years ago saw the introduction of the 3rd field umpire
The Round 2 Syd/Fre game was Subiaco's 200th game.

TEAM NEWS

COLLINGWOOD

Mick Malthouse has taken on a role as AFL ambassador for umpiring. As part of that role, he is writing to all club administrators and accredited umpires and coaches. This is the letter that will be sent to coaches.

Coach Mick Malthouse has become the ambassador for umpires with the aim being more respect and less abuse for the men in white. In this capacity, he has written a letter which will be send to all clubs:

Dear Coach,
As you may be aware, the Australian Sports Commission has designated 2003 as the Year of the Official to provide a focus on the important role that umpires play in sport, to reduce the abuse of officials and to increase the retention rate of umpires.
As the AFL Ambassador for Umpiring in 2003, I am writing to request your assistance as a coach in promoting respect for umpires to ensure that we can continue to attract young people to umpiring and retain them for the vital contribution they make to the welfare of our game. Currently Australian Football is facing a crisis in recruiting and particularly retention of umpires in community football, brought about to a large extent by a lack of respect and high levels of abuse umpires are subjected to.
As the coach of an AFL team, I know how important the roles of both umpires and coaches are in ensuring that the game is played safely and within the spirit of the laws of the game. I am strongly committed to maintaining sportsmanship and the integrity of the game, and the role you play as a coach is very important in this aspect.
I seek your active participation in educating your players to respect the role of the umpires, to accept their decisions without dispute and to recognize that they too, like you and your players, are trying to do their best at all times. We should appreciate the training, dedication, fitness and skill that goes into their participation in the game and demonstrate appropriate respect for umpiring at all times.
As coaches we have a powerful influence in determining the attitudes and environment around our clubs. Umpires need our support to assist them to do their job well. You can set standards of behavior for your players and work to achieve a zero tolerance for abuse of umpires. Yes, we can make a difference!
Best wishes for a successful season in 2003.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Malthouse
Coach, Collingwood Football Club
AFL Ambassador for Umpiring

There is a unique link concerning Mick Malthouse's milestone. Allan Jeans and Tom Hafey both coached Mick when he was a player and he and Kevin Sheedy were teammates at Richmond.

This week Collingwood is hoping to break the all-time Victorian membership record, 36,227 set by Essendon in 2001.
Collingwood membership is currently 36,100. Collingwood supporters were able to sign up for membership in the membership marquees directly outside the MCG on Saturday.
The 36,228th member to join the club will be presented with a special prize - a signed 2003 Collingwood Guernsey and a Crazy John's (a Collingwood sponsor) Nokia mobile phone.

At each home match Collingwood randomly awards Collingwood members with special prizes using the MCG scoreboards. Each year all Collingwood members go into a prize draw to win a range of prizes including a return trip for two flying Emirates Airline to Europe.

The team mascot for this week's game was 5 year old Brailee Binios. She got to run onto the ground with the team.
Brailee has battled with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis for 4 years and is sponsored by the Arthritis Research Institute at Melbourne University. Brailee, an avid Collingwood supporter, wore number 4 on her jumper as her favorite player is Alan Didak.

A function the club began last year, at each home match Collingwood pays tribute to a former player of the club.
This week it was Collingwood legend Len Thompson who received a lap of honor just after the teams entered the arena, highlights from his career were played on the scoreboard and his career detailed in the Footy Record.

Len Thompson is one of Collingwood's very greatest champions.
Thompson, a truly gifted athlete, was 18 when he made his debut in the 1965 Preliminary Final against Essendon.
Bob Rose and Ron Richards, legends in their own right, describe Thompson as the most complete footballer they have ever seen. He revolutionized the role of the ruckman and common thinking that players of his size had to be slow, lumbering giants. His skills, finesse, excellent mobility and football brain clearly set him above most opponents.
Len Thompson stands unsurpassed in Collingwood history as his record shows:

Games 268
Goals 217
Five Times Copeland Trophy Winner 1967,68,72,73,77
Brownlow Medal 1972
Best Player in Finals 1977
Deputy Vice Captain 1969 - 1972
Vice Captain 1973 -1977
Captain 1978
Represented Victoria from 1967 -1978 (Captain 1974 - 1978)
All Australian 1972
Collingwood Life Member

The club has embarked on a juniors fitness venture. 21 players are involved in
the enterprise called SELF 3 and is all about Self Improvement, Self Respect and Self Motivation. The players will be setting out to schools and running fun fitness clinics before selecting 4-6 students who will be given fitness programs and a series of fitness tests throughout the duration of the program.
The company infrastructure is as follows:
General Manager -Tarkyn Lockyer; Business Co-ordinator-Andrew Williams; Media Co-ordinator-Ben Kinnear; Marketing Co-ordinator-Heath Scotland; Volunteer Co-ordinator-Steven Eichner; Fitness Test Co-ordinator-Glenn Freeborn;Schools Co-ordinator-Nick Maxwell
There are also 10 individual school program co-ordinators including, David King, Alan Didak, Luke Mullins, Tristen Walker, Dane Swan, Tom Davidson, Tom Hooker, Guy Richards, Luke Shackleton and Ryan Lonie.

Injury Update:
Mark Richardson, dislocated elbow, 5 weeks 
Simon Prestigiacomo (ankle), 1 week

The side regained Josh Fraser (ankle), Glenn Freeborn, and Scott Burns.

PORT ADELAIDE
Coach Mark Williams has the AFL's preseason rule changes, saying the new interpretation of the rucking rule had been brought in expressly to counter Power captain Matthew Primus. "I know for a fact that they have changed the rules because of Matthew Primus, there's no doubt about it," The Power coach said the rules committee changed the interpretation of the rule because "they don't like the strong, pushing ruckmen, they want to have jumping ruckmen".
Umpires have been instructed to interpret the law so that ruckmen at centre bounces can no longer shepherd opponents at the bounce and grab the ball directly."
Williams said he was certain his dual All-Australian ruckman was the one targeted because the umpires had expressed concern at Primus's shepherding rucking style during a recent coaches' conference."I went to a coaches' conference where they showed Primus doing this stuff and said, 'we need to get this out of the game' and this was the umpires bringing it up. So I know that it's a fact," he said."The other situation is if you run in and put your knee up, that's OK. So you can keep someone away with the knee but you can't keep them away with the hand. And you'd wonder what was going to cause more damage to a player - a knee or a hand."

The club paid tribute to the Australian World Cup Cricketers at AAMI Stadium this weekend, when they hosted the Australia 'A' side including five members of the victorious World Cup Team.
Five of the team members were interviewed at the ground prior to the match
with 3 of them being interviewed at the prematch president's function at which all of the team were guests.
The World Cup trophy was also on display.
The Australian 'A' Cricket Team will stayed on for the big clash between Port Adelaide and Hawthorn. Their opponents, South African 'A', were also be at the game.

Stuart Dew has been diagnosed with a mild case of osteitis pubis and the left-footer may face an extended period on the sidelines.
The Power said it was too early to speculate on the seriousness of the injury but it was likely the 23-year-old would need a break from the game.
Dew first felt symptoms of the groin condition after his 100th AFL match - the Power’s round one loss to West Coast at Subiaco.

And the worst was confirmed last week for Josh Francou's knee injury - an ACL rupture, which will require a knee reconstruction and put him out for the season.

Full Injury Update:
Cain Ackland, OP, ongoing assessment
Wade Champion, modified program, 3-4 weeks
Che Cockatoo-Collins, hamstring, 1 week
Josh Francou, ACL rupture, season
Warren Tredrea, hamstring, 1-2 weeks
Damon White, ankle, 2-3

Regained Damien Hardwick (calf) while rookie Chris Hall debuted.

WESTERN BULLDOGS
Received a financial boost of almost $1 million in recent weeks with the signing of 7000 more members to put the total up at 18,500. The club's target is 25,000.
The other windfall comes through sponsorship agreements with 2 western suburban companies as well as Victoria University.
The univeristy sponsorship will allow the club exclusive access to a brand new swimming complex and some of Australia's leading sports science and exercise
testing facilities as part of the partnership.
Beginning at the end of April, the Western Bulldogs will use the recently completed $8million Victoria University swimming pool and gymnasium complex for their weekly recovery programs. The players will be able to utilize all the new facilities of the new Sports complex, which has been built at Victoria University's Footscray Park campus.
The Western Bulldogs will also have use of the University's state-of-the-art physiology labs, which include VO2 Max and blood lactate testing facilities, as well as a heat chamber for climate preparedness.
Campbell Rose, the Western Bulldogs chief executive, described the new
partnership as an example of how the Western Bulldogs are building relationships with other icons of the west.
A number of players are also taking classes at the university.

Injury Update:
Chris Grant, knee, season
Ben Harrison, hamstring, 2 weeks
Shane Birss, eye, 4-5 weeks
Will Minson, foot, 1 week
Lindsay Gilbee, hamstring, 1 week

The side regained defender Steve Kretiuk (groin) this weekend.

ESSENDON
Injury Update:
James Davies, fractured finger, 1 week
Toby McGrath, arthroscope, 2 weeks
Aaron Henneman, groin, 5 weeks
Ben Haynes, dislocated shoulder, 12 weeks
Courtney Johns, hip, indefinite

Membership update: 29,069

CARLTON
The AFL Commission has officially closed its investigation into the illegal payments made to Carlton ruckman Matthew Allan.
Allan was suspended from all preseason competition and fined $10,000 in February, after AFL football operations manager Andrew Demetriou found him guilty - under AFL player rules – of not notifying the AFL of all his football payments in 2002.
But a separate charge was laid by AFL investigations officer Ken Wood, which related to Allan and Carlton breaching the provisions of the Total Player Payments (TTP).
Allan has not received further punishment for that charge, after the AFL Commission ruled it was satisfied with the penalties issued by Demetriou.

Injury Update:
- Brett Ratten, knee, had surgery last week to repair damaged cartilage, 3-4 weeks
- Laurence Angwin, OP, stepping up program and will begin kicking this week, indefinite
Scott Freeborn, abdominal tendinitis, managing load and should be available in 1-2 weeks
- Adam Mathews, shoulder, has undergone shoulder surgery and will be out for
2-3 months

GEELONG
Essendon Coach Kevin Sheedy has issued a challenge to the people of Geelong to get behind their club and sign up as Cats members, as the four-time premiership coach believes Geelong should have the greatest number of members from any Victorian-based club.
Sheedy said the Cats were in a unique position, because they are the only regional club in the AFL and suggested that Geelong should be the first Victorian-based club to crack 40,000 members.
He referred to the Geelong club as the Green Bay Packers of Australia
Sheedy also praised the membership base that Collingwood had achieved this year, although he was determined that the Essendon members knock off the Magpies’ tally by the midseason deadline.

Her also said a club breaking the 40,000 member barrier was akin to trying to crack the 4 minute mile.

Membership 20,278 as of Monday, April 7th

The team regained Cameron Mooney (ankle) from injury.

RICHMOND
Former Australian Olympian, Ian Campbell, has been appointed the new CEO. He will commence within the next 2-3 weeks after relocating from the USA.
A Melbourne native by birth, he and his family have decided to make Melbourne their future permanent home.
Mr Campbell, who has spent 20 years in international business, served in senior positions with Nike, where he was President of Nike Sport Entertainment; and with the National Basketball Association, where he served as Vice President of NBA Properties. He established the NBA business in Australia in 1992, and within 4 years it was generating $100 million in revenues. He was then promoted to Vice President of the NBA for Asia Pacific and Latin America and was based in New York.
He then returned to Nike and was charged with establishing a new and innovative global sports and entertainment unit. During this time Campbell developed sports properties such as the Michael Jordan Tour of Japan and Europe, the Tiger Woods Skins Games in Japan and the Brazilian Soccer Teams World Tour.
Late in 1998 he joined the Marquee Group in New York which was later acquired by SFX Sports & Entertainment (well known in Australian sports marketing circles) where he was Vice President of International Business.
For the past two years, he has been CEO and Chairman of his own business based in Portland, Oregon which has focused on marketing, sponsorships, consulting and retail franchising.
Ian Campbell is married with two teenage children, represented Australia in Track & Field in 1980, was two time NCAA (USA) Triple Jump Champion and has been the Australian record holder and Commonwealth holder in that event.
He has a Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University.

Matthew Richardson had surgery to insert a metal plate to speed the healing of a hairline cheekbone fracture he sustained in Round 2. He missed this week, but the club believes he will be able to play next week.

Injury Update:
Ben Holland, ACL rupture, 2-3 weeks
Brad Ottens, back, 8-9 weeks
Duncan Kellaway, hamstring, 1 week

HAWTHORN
Peter Schwab said he was embarrassed to admit that his heart episode last week was partly his fault. He admitted to being a bit lax at times with his medication and also said he had left the meds behind when the team traveled to Tasmania.
Schwab now plans to give the club doctor a supply of the tablets as insurance against another oversight.

Peter Everitt has lodged a claim of $100,000 against his former club, St. Kilda, as he tries to recover money from his old contract.
Everitt's lawyers lodged the claim with the financially struggling Saints just weeks after the club awarded him life membership last month.
Everitt says he relinquished a significant amount of money when he renegotiated and extended his agreement with St Kilda at the end of 2001.
But, his bid appears ill-fated following advice from the AFL that the player terminated any claim upon his former employer when he reached his new three-year deal with the Hawks.
Everitt's contract with Hawthorn is worth an estimated $450,000 annually and expires at the end of 2005 when he will be 31. While his St Kilda salary in 2003 and 2004 would have significantly exceeded his current annual wage, the Saints, according to the AFL, are not financially responsible for any of Everitt's new deal.

Nathan Lonie will miss 4-6 weeks with a knee ligament strain that is more serious than originally thought.

WEST COAST
Andrew Embley has walked free from court after information provided by a mystery witness led police to abandon their prosecution of the footballer on a serious assault charge. He was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm in November after an incident at a Claremont nightclub. Campbell Airey, 24, received a torn tear duct and cut cheek as a result of the incident. Embley was to have faced a hearing last week. But prosecuting sergeant Andy Carson offered no evidence on the charge, which was then dismissed.
It is believed that police decided to drop the case after Embley's legal team provided them with a statement from a surprise witness. The man, who is in jail, had provided information about matters occurring on the night of the incident. Another witness turned up by the defence team allegedly threw further doubt on the events. Police had planned to allege that Airey and Embley had been involved in a scuffle earlier in the night and had to be separated. Airey left the club but returned about an hour later. Door staff tried to keep the two men apart but they ended up clashing, resulting in injuries to Airey. Police said the new evidence meant there was little chance of a successful prosecution.

Injury Update:
Michael Collica, ankle, 1-2 weeks

Daniel Chick (thigh strain) was in the side this week for his 150th game.

ADELAIDE
Rookie Trent Hentschel debuted this weekend.

Adelaide has lost two more crack forwards – Ronnie Burns for at least two weeks with an adductor strain and Scott Welsh for possibly six weeks with a damaged thumb ligament.
Burns’ injury surfaced at training at AAMI Stadium on Wednesday after he had got through Monday’s session, and Welsh hurt his thumb late in Wednesday’s workout.
Earlier, Wayne Carey (hamstring soreness) was ruled out of Sunday’s match against Sydney at the SCG.
Burns felt some adductor soreness last Saturday playing for Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL.
The former Geelong left-footer was given a good chance of making his AFL debut for the Crows this week after two good performances in the SANFL.

Welsh was to resume with West Adelaide reserves on Saturday – for at least a half – after a long, frustrating run with osteitis pubis and then an adductor strain, and now he has an injured thumb that will require surgery

Brett Burton’s injured right ankle is worse than first feared and he will miss the next 5 weeks.
It was thought he had sprained the ankle – with a suspected tear in a ligament – when he landed after a big leap against St Kilda at Telstra Dome last Saturday, and would be out for about two weeks.
But scans last week revealed a complete rupture of the ligament.
Adelaide communications manager Phil Harper said Burton would wear a “moon” boot for about four weeks and it would be another week or two after that before he could resume playing.

Carey also has hamstring soreness again and Stevens is still troubled by a bruised knee.

Full Injury Update:
Wayne Carey (hamstring) 1 week
Ronnie Burns (adductor strain) 1-2 weeks
Michael Doughty (back) 1-2 weeks
Michael Bratton (shoulder) 2 weeks
James Begley (thumb) 3 weeks
Brett Burton (ankle) 5 weeks
Scott Welsh (thumb) 6 weeks
Nick Stevens, bruised knee, 1 week

MELBOURNE
Guy Rigoni made his long awaited return to the seniors this week and rookie Nicholas Smith, an 18-year old drafted from Norwood in South Australia, was listed on the interchange bench for his debut.

BRISBANE
The Lions are confident that their controversial salary cap concessions will be retained, following meeting with the AFL last week.
Lions chairman Graeme Downie, chief executive Michael Bowers and coach Leigh Matthews made a video presentation to the league, pushing their cause for the extra 10 per cent the Queensland club (and Sydney) is permitted, to assist with the retention of players recruited from interstate.
Downie said that the more local players they were able to retain, the less they would ask for in cap concessions.
Collingwood and Essendon have been the most vocal opponents of the concessions.
They successfully campaigned last year for the withdrawal of a concession draft pick which enabled both the Lions and the Swans to have priority access to one junior player in Brisbane and Sydney respectively. Downie said that decision by the AFL contradicts what the Bombers and the Magpies are now complaining about, which in essence is less money for the two northern clubs if they could recruit and retain local talent.
And the Brisbane chairman believes that all clubs – not just Brisbane and Sydney – should be encouraged to recruit local talent and also be assisted with the retention of interstate players.

Brisbane and the AFL are at loggerheads over the reigning premier's Melbourne hotel accommodation in a dispute that could cost the club an extra $40,000 this season.
The Lions have refused an AFL directive to switch their Melbourne base to the Holiday Inn situated on the edge of the city. Brisbane chief executive Michael Bowers has lodged an official complaint with the AFL regarding its new hotel deal that has forced all six non-Victorian clubs to move to the Holiday Inn or else forfeit their travel allowance totaling $5000 a game.
Bowers confirmed yesterday that the club would spend this weekend at the Park View opposite the Albert Ground in St Kilda Road, the Lions' home-base in Melbourne in its two premiership years.
"We gave our views regarding the Holiday Inn to the AFL when they first asked about this deal and we told them it was not appropriate for us," said Bowers.
"It's a nice hotel but it doesn't have the access to training facilities and parks and it's really a city hotel close to the casino and not appropriate for players with time on their hands before a game.
At the AFL chief executives' meeting last month, Adelaide and Port Adelaide also complained about the impractical nature of the Holiday Inn - part of the Six Continents Group with which the league has struck a new agreement.
The Brisbane decision, which was approved by coach Leigh Matthews, will remain in place for the rest of the season regardless of the AFL directive.
"To us it was originally a storm in a teacup," said Bowers, "but now we think it's a bit stiff for someone else to decide where we're going to stay."
Bowers continued "I remember before one night game last season looking over at the Albert Ground and seeing Luke Power and Michael Voss and one of the Scott brothers having a kick just like three boys would before a game. Some other players were walking around the lake. They couldn't have done that in the city."

Alistair Lynch missed this weekend, ruling himself out because of the lingering effects of the chronic fatigue syndrome that has plagued his career. He said he probably has overdone things a bit since Round 1, from which he admitted he had not fully recovered.
He wants to ensure he is ready and fully fit for next week's game against Collingwood.
The 34-year-old was noticeably out of sorts against Port Adelaide last week. He spent time resting on the interchange bench, and said he made the wrong call to travel and play.
Coach Leigh Matthews regretted he did not overrule Lynch and leave him out for the Port Adelaide game.

Also missing this week was gun forward Jonathan Brown due to a recurrance of a preseason hip injury.

Beau McDonald lined up for his first game this weekend. He has not played all year due to a shoulder reconstruction after last year's GF.

Luke Power has followed the lead taken by Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse and become a member of the Western Bulldogs because Luke's younger brother Sam plays for them and is thankful for what the club has done for Sam's football development.

SYDNEY
Stephen Doyle will now miss up to 12 weeks with his knee injury. There was a joint surface fracture and part of the cartilage had come away from the bone according the medical staff.

Jason Ball (groin) lined up for his first game this year. He missed all last season after tearing his groin muscle from his pelvis during the preseason.

FREMANTLE
The club last week announced comedian Rove McManus as its Number 1 Ticketholder.
In making the announcement at the home of football, the MCG, Fremantle Chief Executive, Cameron Schwab said "When I arrived in Perth to take on the role of CEO of the Dockers I received a lot of advise about Fremantle, both the football club and the town. I was told of a family whose heritage is both deep and influential. This family was complex and intertwined, and came in many guises, and surnames. The advice was stay close to the Millers, Regans, Sheehys, Colemans, Neeshams and McManuses and you will do OK".
McManus is quickly becoming a bit of a celebrity on TV and is a great supporter of the Dockers. The comedian is a cousin of midfielder Shaun.
And for the new number 1 ticketholder, Rove McManus, "I feel like I grew up in and around footy in Fremantle, many of my family have either played, coached or cut oranges in Freo all through my life. There are still McManus' dotted throughout the Fremantle FC, my new role now cements the family takeover! [insert evil laugh]"
"Now that I live in Melbourne I sometimes feel like I'm a long way from home, reconnecting with Fremantle is great way for me to keep a connection with Perth and my roots", Rove said.
A native of Perth, Rove moved to Melbourne to pursue a career as a stand up comedian and after hundreds of gigs and a stint on community television Rove landed a chance to show off in front of the nation with nine late night episodes of his own tonight show, Rove on Channel Nine in 1999.
The Ten Network gave Rove and his production company, Roving Enterprises, a commitment to ten episodes in late 2000 for Rove[ live] and two more full years in 2001 and 2002. Rove is now one of the most recognizable faces in Australian television and his show is the first stop for celebrities from around Australia and around the world.

The club was denied permission for a training run at the MCG prior to its game there this weekend. The AFL cited the heavy schedule of 3 games at the ground as the reason.
The club then sought permission to have a walk on the ground before its game.

KANGAROOS
The club is close to sealing a new $2 million deal to play 3 games a year in Canberra through 2006. The coffers will also be boosted by another expected $2 million from the operation of their new social club facilities, due to open later this month, at Telstra Dome.
To date in 2003, the Kangaroos have:
  •Relocated their administration to Telstra Dome and will shortly receive the second half of a $1.5 million downpayment from the stadium to operate their social club at the ground;
  •Off-loaded their Broadmeadows licence to the Roxburgh Park Hotel in return for a three-year, $1.25 million sponsorship; the club's success in extracting itself from its ill-fated attempt to run poker machines from the old Broadmeadows Town Hall followed a special hearing of the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority in February. While the venture cost the club more than $1 million, that has been covered by the new sponsorship.
  •Cut their football department costs by $1.2 million;
  •Cut player payments to close to 92.5 per cent of the salary cap; and
  •Increased sponsorship revenue by more than 10 per cent and membership by 1700.

The club's main sponsorship agreement with Mazda expires at the end of the season and talks have resumed between the two parties.

The Kangaroos have been forced to find a new home for their grand final breakfast following the stadium's decision not to hold it in 2003.

The club also has formalized its relationship with the city of Casey, in the outer southeastern suburbs of Melbourne, under which Kangaroos banners will be flying throughout the municipality for a month.

The Roos have budgeted for 21,000 members this season and have signed close to 17,000.

The Kangaroos were again without veterans Glenn Archer and Matthew ‘Spider’ Burton Both the defender and ruckman have been unavailable due to injury since the start of the season, but the Roos are hopeful that they will be back in action next week.
Archer has been receiving intensive treatment on the hand the he broke during the Wizard Home Loans Cup, but is still awaiting approval from doctors to have wiring removed.
Archer has been using a hyperbaric chamber in an effort to speed the healing process. He has been able to do most training in order to maintain his fitness.
Burton’s preseason was hampered by a hamstring injury, but he suffered damage to his foot after returning in the practice match series, when teammate Saverio Rocca fell across him. The big man’s recovery has been slower than expected and he was still limping slightly when he attended a swimming session early last week.

ST KILDA
The club has a plan for a $15 million redevelopment of Moorabbin as part of a long-term strategy to ensure the club's financial viability.
St Kilda has submitted plans to the City Of Kingston that include pulling down the old stands at Moorabbin, landscaping and beautifying the ground, building state-of-the-art training facilities and constructing a new social club to generate additional revenue.
St Kilda chief executive Brian Waldron said the council is likely to undertake a feasibility study on the redevelopment.
A new Moorabbin is part of a longer-term plan the St Kilda board is developing to establish itself as one of the league's powerhouses. It is a change of mindset for the club, moving away from a focus on survival.
The financial base for St Kilda to build its future is looking far more solid even just three rounds into the new season. This year, the Saints have found an additional $1 million in sponsorship income, and they will play two games in Tasmania, which will net the club an additional $500,000 a year for the next five years as the games' gate receipts are underwritten by the Tasmanian Government.

The club has a target membership base for 2003 of 25,000, compared with last season's membership of 18,000. Already, it has reached 21,000 members and results like last week's surprise victory over Adelaide will boost the cause.
The additional membership income is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to St Kilda. The extra $375,000 in this year's AFL annual distribution will also come in handy.
Then there are the cost savings Waldron has instituted as part of a "zero cost revenue model" he introduced at the end of last year. That model meant he did all his budgets on the 2002 cost base. The club was not allowed to increase costs, with Waldron instead aiming to cut overheads.
Waldron believes he will cut administration costs by $500,000 this year (10 staff have been asked to leave) and the football department has found savings of $200,000. St Kilda will run at 92 to 94 per cent of the salary cap (depending on injuries) - one of the lowest in the league - and some players have taken pay cuts.
That does not count the savings made in 2001 when the Saints replaced Malcolm Blight, who was on $1 million a year, with coach Grant Thomas, on an annual salary of around $400,000.
Instead of budgeting for a small loss, St Kilda is looking at a profit this year. President Rod Butterss admitted as much last week, but the club is keeping a lid on expectations of just how big that profit might be.
Some St Kilda insiders say that the latest modeling suggests that even if the club wins only five games this year (as it did last season), it will still make a profit in the vicinity of $400,000 to $600,000.
That represents an enormous turnaround from the club that announced a loss of $3.7 million at the end of last season. It has to be said that $1.5 million of that loss was a write-down on the value of the stands at Moorabbin, which the auditors wanted adjusted.
That means the club had an operating loss of $2.2 million. If it can slip back in the black, St Kilda will have achieved a $2 million financial turnaround in just one year.
There are, however, some challenges on the horizon. When the Saints swapped Waverley Park for Docklands as their home base, the AFL agreed to pay the club $600,000 a year in compensation. That deal runs out at the end of this season.
A similarly attractive deal must be renegotiated with Ian Collins at Telstra Dome or the club will be severely out of pocket next season.
Butterss knows that Docklands isn't paying its way for his club. He says that to break-even at the new home requires a crowd of about 30,000, compared with 14,000 when the Saints played at Waverley. According to Butterss, those bigger overheads mean "$150,000 a week going out of footy".
St. Kilda remains bitter about being forced to move from Waverley. Butterss claims the club has lost 20,000 members, who have not re-signed, since moving its home ground to the edge of the CBD.
Stan Alves asked Butterss last weekend whether it gives him a "stomach ache when you drive past Waverley and see the thing pulled down?"
Butterss response was succinct: "Ulcers."

WHERE ARE THEY NOW
SANFL:
Simon Arnott (Syd/Geel) is at Central District
Ryan O'Connor (Ess/Syd) and Dan Hargraves (WB/Fre) is at North Adelaide
Port Adelaide has retired Crow Bryan Beinke
Brett James (Col/Ade) is with Norwood
Delisted Lion Darren Bradshaw (Daniel's brother) is with West Adelaide
Former Crow Justin Cicollela is at Woodville

VFL:
Coburg has the services of Pat Steinfort (Rich), Ryan Pagan (Kang, and Denis' son),
and former Docker Garth Taylor
Nathan Saunders (WB) is at North Ballarat
Former Hawk Chris Obst is with Port Melbourne
Williamstown has former Cat Marcus Baldwin in its team

WAFL:
Retired Eagle/Docker Greg Harding is with Claremont and former Docker Brad Bootsma is with South Fremantle

NOTE: Former AFL players who were delisted from their clubs but want to try to resurrect their AFL careers are still eligible to nominate for the draft if they so choose.

GENERAL SILLINESS
Notorious outlaw Ned Kelly, about whom several movies have been made, seems to have some links to footy. A new movie was recently released with a Perth actor named Heath Ledger portraying Kelly. Ledger is a keen Eagle fan and his co-star a Magpie supporter.
But the connection goes deeper than that as a former VFL/AFL champion would have been lost to football if it wasn’t for the bushranger.
Former Essendon champion Ian ‘Bluey’ Shelton, a star at centre half-back for the Bombers in 91 games including the 1962 and 1965 premierships, says he owes his existence to Kelly.
In 1865, Shelton’s grandfather, Richard (Dick) Shelton, who was seven at the time, slipped into the fast-flowing Hughes Creek in Avenel on his way to school. He was rescued by a 10-year-old Kelly who, without hesitation, jumped into the water fully clothed and dragged young Dick safely to the creek’s bank.
The shivering youngsters made their way to the nearby Royal Mail Hotel – still standing today as bed and breakfast accommodation – which was owned by Dick’s parents (and Bluey Shelton’s great-grandparents), Esau and Elizabeth.
The Sheltons rewarded Ned with an elaborate 2.21-metre long, 14-centimetre wide green silk sash, complete with gold bullion fringes at each end.
Fifteen years later, he wore the sash under his famous suit of armor in the police shootout at Glenrowan. While Ned was captured after receiving 28 bullet wounds and executed less than five months later, on November 11, 1880, the bloodstained sash survives, and is on display in a Benalla museum.
“If Ned Kelly didn’t do what he did for my grandfather, who knows whether our family would have been what it is today,” Shelton says from his Avenel farm. His grandfather ended up having 12 children, including Shelton’s father.
One of Shelton’s biggest fans during his playing days was Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, who has his own link with the bushranger. Sheedy’s maternal grandfather, Michael Cusack, was the first person to see the Kelly Gang on its way to rob a bank.
Cusack, only a boy at the time, was trying to catch water rats at a nearby creek when he saw the gang members – Ned, his younger brother Dan, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart – ride by.
The Kellys, with a £500 reward on each of their heads after killing three plainclothes police six weeks earlier, held 22 people hostage at a nearby sheep station, which they used as a base for the £2260 bank heist.
A man well-versed in mateship and battling odds was Bob Chitty, the late Carlton premiership captain who fittingly starred as Kelly in the 1951 film The Glenrowan Affair. Like Kelly, Chitty was a top horseman who grew up in northeastern Victoria.
Also keeping the legend alive are VFL clubs Bendigo Bombers (the Essendon reserves) and Williamstown, which battle each year for the ‘Game As Ned Kelly Trophy’. Williamstown lays claim to Kelly serving about six months there: three aboard the prison hulk Sacramento and another three ashore in an artillery battery.
But that’s not all. Brisbane’s triple premiership player Martin Pike has a Kelly tattoo and former Collingwood premiership player and now player manager Craig Kelly has long carried the nickname ‘Ned’

Josh Francou was interviewed shortly after his season ending knee injury and was asked if he would have a role at the club this season, Francou said: “Alastair Clarkson (an assistant coach) said, maybe tongue in cheek, about getting me in the coaching box, but I don’t know if I want to do that. Heaven knows what goes on up there."

On to the scores

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