K rock Football

Level playing field for Centrals

(Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

THE introduction of a statewide cap on player payments across will make GDFL club Werribee Centrals “increasingly competitive” when it comes to attracting players to Galvin Park according to co-coach Nick Smith.

An independent island among the archipelago of Western Regional Football League clubs, the Centurions previously were limited to spending $90,000, while WRFL Division 1 clubs were forking out as much as $225,000 in recent years.

That has been reduced to $100,000 for 2021, with Division 2 capped at $80,000,

Centrals will be limited to the GDFL cap of $70,000; however, Smith isn’t disappointed about the drop.

“We’ve always feared our inability to compete – if someone came with the big mega offer we couldn’t match it because we just don’t have the cap,” he said.

“But now, we think as long as we can find the money to pay our cap, that makes us relatively competitive in the Western Region market.”


Smith is understanding of AFL Barwon’s decision to reduce the GDFL’s cap by $20,000.

“We’re not unhappy about it for our area, and we understand it,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I’m having conversations with our committee all the time, where the players are going to have to start realising that the sponsorship dollars are just not out there as much as they have been. It’s going to be a challenging time for local footy.

“I haven’t gone to my players yet, but I will be soon to explain that the salary cap is not something we can work around, so it’s going to affect everyone’s match payments.

“At the moment, we’re leaning towards the fact we’ll be discussing an across the board cut in line with the salary cap.”

Smith is expecting a return to why players played where they did before significant sums of money started to dominate the local football landscape.

“Which is “I’ve got a mate here”; “I like this coach”; “It’s a good culture”; “I want to go to a leading club”,” he said.

“In my mind, we go “tick, tick, tick” on that. We think we’ve got all the traits of a place you’d like to go to.

“We’re actually expecting the fallout from some clubs reducing their payments will actually have players looking to go to other clubs for other reasons.”

Twitter: @tom_king79