Injury-crippled Freo bust salary cap
Fremantle will be forced to seek salary cap relief from the AFL because the club’s injury epidemic has blown the annual injury allowance out of the water.
Dockers chief executive Steve Rosich confirmed the move yesterday and AFL general manager of football operations Adrian Anderson said he wasn’t aware of any reason why the Dockers would not be granted an extra allowance, provided they had followed the league’s total player payments rules.
Rosich also said the club’s injury prevention and rehabilitation methods would be scrutinised as part of a normal annual review.
There may have been “one or two” decisions on injury management that would have been handled differently with the benefit of hindsight, he said.
Fremantle have an injury allowance of $374,000 to cover match payments for players who play in place of injured players on set contracts.
Rosich would not give specific figures, but confirmed that match payments to Docker players filling in for established stars like Aaron Sandilands and David Mundy were now well in excess of the threshold.
“We will be well above the allowable injury allowance given the number of injuries we have incurred this year,” he said.
“We are confident we will work with the AFL, within AFL rules to ensure the additional injury allowance is allowable under the rules in the normal course.”
Anderson said the Dockers would negotiate with the league’s TPP manager Ken Wood but relief was granted provided the club could show that it had followed salary cap rules.
“Clubs have to make sure they have catered for the possibility of injuries. If they do the right thing there is an allowance in place to make sure they are not dis- advantaged if there are more injuries than expected,” he said.
The crippled Dockers will limp to the end of the season missing up to half of their best team. The injury rate has reached crisis point several times this year, but none worse than Saturday’s match against North Melbourne which added seven casualties.
Rosich said the injury list and the management of injured players would be looked at.
“We did our full sports science review in 2008 and 2009,” he said.
“We looked at each injury that occurred, and if we had best practice in terms of mitigating injury and also preparing players to rehabilitate from injury. We are going through that process again.
“We have had an unprecedented number of collision injuries and a significant number of games lost through injury, including our more established players.
“Firstly that hurts in terms of their capacity to perform and it also impacts on injury payments you have to make, so it is also not great for the bottom line.”