Club vows hard ball on

Tuesday, June 4
Geelong Advertiser

THE Geelong Football Club will play hard ball at the negotiation table with player managers this year in a bid to keep pay increases to a bare minimum.

Club chief executive Brian Cook has already signalled the club's intentions to reduce its payments from 99 per cent of the salary cap this year to the minimum 95 per cent next year.

He said players would not be forced to take pay cuts, but that wage increases would be hard to come by.

``The cap increases by $300,000 next year and our aim is to maintain current player payments. If that happens it will mean about $300,000 to us,'' he said.

``It's not as if it makes a huge blow into payments, we're just making a conscious effort to save money.''

Cook reasoned the club should not be handing over 100 per cent of its salary cap, simply because of the age and experience of Geelong's list.

``At the start of the year we had an average age of about 21.4 years, which means that it (reducing the total payer payments) shouldn't be a hard task,'' he said.

``Our player payments shouldn't be 100 per cent. We will follow a process that Port Adelaide has followed over the last three or four years where they were around 95 per cent of total player payments.

``I think we will be under 95 per cent in two or three year's time.''

The money saving strategy has come about because membership sales are down, while the club has also had to fork out large amounts for player transfers.

Geelong must pay $15,000 to a player's original club each time that player

IS drafted;

PLAYS his first game;

PLAYS his 10th game; and

BECOMES a second year player.

``If you look at some of our first year players, who have played all 10 games, it means we've already handed over $45,000 to their club,'' Cook said.

``Our transfer fees have gone through the roof this year. They've increased from about $150,000 last year to about $350,000 this year.''

He said it was too early to make decisions on whether the club's higher paid players were providing value for money.

About 12 Geelong players will come out of contract at the end of this season, while Cook announced captain Ben Graham recently signed a new two- year deal with the club.

AND Cook yesterday pleaded for Melbourne-based Cats fans to head to Colonial Stadium for Sunday's game against Carlton.

He said with the club heading for a likely $300,000 budget shortfall in 2002, it needed to make every financial post this year a winner, including match day attendances.

``This weekend, the Melbourne-based Geelong supporters have the chance to see their team in action in a world class facility and we really need them to turn up in numbers.

Geelong has budgeted for a crowd of 35,000.