Barlow faces small financial hit
INJURED Fremantle Docker Michael Barlow will take a small financial hit this season but the mature-age rookie will have the ability to recoup any lost earnings in 2012.
Barlow, one of the biggest fairytale stories this season, will miss the rest of the year after snapping his lower left leg in a sickening collision with teammate Rhys Palmer in the dying minutes of a 57-point win over Port Adelaide at Subiaco on Saturday.
The Dockers secured the 22-year-old with pick eight in last year’s rookie draft but his form has been so outstanding that he was signed up to a revised incentive-based deal after round two.
Those incentives were for this season and next, focusing on games played, best-and-fairest results and All-Australian selection.
The former VFL player had been equal second in betting for the Brownlow and was a lock to become an All Australian before the gruesome incident.
While he is contracted through until the end of the 2012 season, his payment that year will be reflected in his performances this year and next. On current form, industry sources said he could expect more than $400,000 per year.
Barlow’s manager, former Brisbane Lion and Western Bulldog Marty Pask, last night said his client would sacrifice some money this year.
“Obviously his incentives are from this season and 2011. It is an incentivised contract but there are certainly minimum payments to which I am sure he has probably already activated and if he plays well in the next 18 months, it will be reflected in 2012,” he said.
“His 2012 payments will be reflective of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
“He is a rookie-list player so, according to the CBA, he was injured playing senior football so I would imagine now that he would get injury payments until he returns to senior football.”
As Barlow had a “clean” break, the Dockers remain hopeful he could return in round one next year.
Pask said Barlow, who is expected to recuperate in Melbourne after surgery, now wanted to repay the club’s faith in securing him an extended contract.
“For Michael, security is the most important thing and obviously repaying faith to the Fremantle Football Club because every club had a look at him and every club could have taken him but Fremantle was the only club prepared to do so,” he said.
“They took a punt on him and we definitely want to repay some faith and repay some loyalty.
“Mick certainly is going to have a good earning capacity and he certainly is going to do well and have a good living but the most important thing was to protect him from injury and give him security because he has fought so hard and for so long to be on a senior list.”
Barlow’s injury has prompted debate over whether he still deserves All-Australian selection having played only 13 games.
He had enjoyed another profitable performance against the Power, collecting 25 possessions, four tackles and a goal.
His parents, Jenny and Herb, yesterday left the family home in Cobram and flew to Perth to also join his brothers, who were visiting from Victoria.
Barlow’s injury rekindled memories of the broken leg suffered by Richmond’s Nathan Brown in 2005.
Brown has cautioned Barlow against an early return, and said he would have to pay particular attention to his knee, calf and groin as those areas could “wither away” during rehabilitation of his lower leg.
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