Kangaroos raise enough for minimum payments

By , 10/08/2019 12:21

The $800,000 raised by North Melbourne at a special fund-raiser will enable the Roos to pay the minimum salary cap required under the AFL rules this year.

The Kangaroos raised the funds at a function for wealthy backers at Parliament House, when AFL legend Leigh Matthews spoke – along with coach Brad Scott and other key North officials.

The club has confirmed that some of the money raised will be used to bring its total player payments up to the minimum of 95 per cent of the 2013 salary cap of $9.14 million.

While the club already has contracts in place, chief executive Carl Dilena confirmed the club was looking at a ”pre-payment” – in effect, paying some players next year’s wages – in order to bring the club’s salary cap up to the minimum requirement.

The club’s 2013 salary cap is about $900,000 below 100 per cent of the total player payments it could pay – so the pre-payment could be taken further to open space in the future, allowing the Roos to not only retain players but to bid for free agents and other out-of-contract players from rival clubs – a luxury that it has found difficult due to financial restraints.

The club has been focused on debt reduction, as Dilena said, but the function at Parliament House on June 5 was about providing the club with more funding to enable it to compete in football department spending – particularly in player payments, where it has been some distance below the stronger clubs, which typically pay about a million dollars more than the Roos – not counting Sydney’s $900,000 cost of living allowance.

Last year, the minimum salary cap was 92.5 per cent of $8.79million. There has been a steep increase, not only in the salary cap but of the capped additional services agreements, which rose from $613,000 to $852,000.

Matthews, who coached Brad Scott in their days with the triple premiership-winning Brisbane Lions, told the audience of about 70-80 supporters of the Shinboner Club how the Lions had needed funds to retain their list during that period and North Melbourne would have greater success by increasing its spending on players.

Dilena said Scott’s wish was for the club to pay 100 per cent of the salary cap, which was consistent with the debate about equalisation measures.

Increasingly, there is a view that small clubs must seek to pay 100per cent of the cap, particularly when those poorer clubs are in the position such as the Kangaroos, who are highly competitive and a finals aspirant.

Scott, Dilena, president James Brayshaw and club conditioning guru Steve Saunders also spoke at the function, with Saunders telling the audience how the Roos had managed to have the lowest injury rate over the past two seasons.

Dilena said the club was ”changing the flavour to investing in footy”, moving from debt reduction to increasing its football spending, particularly on players.

North’s switch follows the example of Richmond, which established its fighting Tiger fund with a view to achieving both of those objectives – closing the gap in football funding and reducing debt.

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