Success through excess

The meaning of football is money.


It is still survival of the richest.  Premierships cost money.  Everything is judged on dollars and cents.


Don’t get confused by the AFL’s erudite commentary about equalisation.  The game will never be equal.


Capitalism decrees that equalisation isn’t fair, because the rich clubs can never be too rich, and the richer the club, the greater the sense of entitlement.  Premiership success demands success and that demands money.


Clubs can’t be successful otherwise.  And once a club is successful, well, they demand everything.  Anything less is unfair.


During the off-season, the AFL withdrew the cost of living allowance (COLA) Sydney enjoyed with so much success.


COLA gave Sydney a 10 percent salary cap concession.  The Swans used it well, playing in 15 finals series since 1996 and winning two premierships.


Their success has become a model for all clubs to aspire to – but only if they can afford it.


Before the season, Sydney was expected to finish in the top four.  Currently they are 1-3.  Their poor form is a money issue.


Losing their COLA has hit the Swans hard.  That extra 10 percent, by way of salary cap concession, made all the difference.  With the extra money, the Swans were able to pay their players to perform at an elite level.


They recruited Kirk Tippett and Buddy Franklin to long term deals, ostensibly because the AFL was paying their expenses.  Who wouldn’t want to play for Sydney, for an extra 10 percent?


Now the money is gone.  It must be tough for a footballer earning $500,000 to lose $50 grand.  Simply, without the COLA, the Swans don’t have enough money to pay their players to perform.


Clearly, the AFL didn’t consider the dip in performance when they removed the COLA.  They didn’t know how disheartening it would be for players like Josh Kennedy and Adam Goodes to turn up to training, knowing they had to front up at Coles for a few hours afterwards just to make ends meet.


A player who didn’t want to be named talked about the humiliation of buying home brand Cola rather than coca cola.  And don’t get him started on home brand baked beans and milk.


Some Sydney players are rumoured to be so poor they only have fifty pairs of shoes and twenty pairs of jeans.  Others are being forced to drive around in last year’s Mercedes instead of automatically upgrading.

Two Swans players were cautioned for begging on Sunday night on Oxford Street.


The financial whack that Sydney’s elite players have copped has depressed the club.  It isn’t easy having your contract slashed all in the name of equalisation.


The situation is so bad a club coterie, We hate the AFL, has set up a charity aimed at paying the player’s rent and providing life’s necessities like hair product through these tough times.


To make a donation, visit www.itisn’


The coterie is demanding the AFL return the COLA.  Their mantra, success through excess, is gathering momentum, and they are using the Brisbane Lions as an example.


The Lions, it must be remembered, were blessed with the retention allowance that allowed them to pay their players 10 percent extra, so they wouldn’t go home.


They used their money well, keeping their list together and winning three consecutive premierships from four grand finals.


Since the Lions lost their retention allowance, they have been mostly hopeless.  Last year, five players quit the Lions because they were homesick.  The real reason was the lack of cash, an extra 10 percent to be precise.


The AFL needs to return the COLA.  We all want Buddy to play like Buddy, not like Tyrone Vickery.  Buddy can’t play on a meagre $700,000 a year.  That’s insulting.  Buddy needs to be kicking 13 goals instead of getting 13 (tthhiirrtteeeen) possessions.


We hate the AFL is also considering crowd funding, collecting loose change during home games to fund the player’s welfare.  The coterie is also accepting food and cab vouchers, so the players can get home safely from George Street at 4am instead of hitchhiking.


Sydney is supposed to finish in the top four this year.  They still might, but it would be certain if they still had their COLA.  A club in poverty can’t be expected to perform.


We hate the AFL seems to be catching on.  There are myriad reasons.


But the AFL can right the wrongs.  They must act now to save the Sydney Swans from becoming another Brisbane Lions…




About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Very clever Matt we wouldn’t want any player playing like Vickery paid or not .
    A touch of reality for a lot of players would not go astray
    Thanks Mike you bought a smile to my dial

  2. daniel flesch says

    Very funny , Mike , but… has the COLA really been cut ? I thought the AFL was just “considering” about abolishing it , and probably for a long time yet. Hope you’re right and me wrong.

  3. mickey randall says

    Matt- i am still trying digest how Sydney wins a flag and then buys Tippett. And then purchases Franklin. I doubt there is much real difference in living costs across Sydney, Melbourne and probably, Perth.
    To make ends meet, I would not suggest that Tippet open a Goal Kicking School for Wayward Forwards.

  4. Any truth in the rumor that the mob doing all the spindoctoring ground work for the Big A to scrap the rort, was carried out by a team called the Committee Officially Campaigning Against the COLA?

    Agree with Matt/Mike overall: re the Swans, all together now:


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