Club confident of compensation

Top-up player Ryan Crowley.
Club confident of compensation
Top-up player Ryan Crowley.

Crowley was set to join the WA Football League (WAFL) club in a two-year deal this season that would have him take on the role of midfield coach as well as player.

He instead received an AFL lifeline from the embattled club that will sign 10 top-up players, following the ban of 12 senior players earlier this month.

Hodyl said it was unfortunate to lose a player of his calibre and the loss had a significant impact on the club’s planning and expectations.

“All clubs prepare to lose some players through the National draft in November but once this has occurred it is all hands on deck to put together the strongest team you can,” Hodyl said.

“The SDFC is extremely successful and very proud of getting our players an opportunity at AFL level, so to then lose a player at this late stage of the pre-season outside conventional pathway protocols will have a significant effect both on and off the field.”

Hodyl said replacing a player of Crowley’s experience would be almost impossible at such a late stage without support and intervention from the AFL.

He said he hoped the club could recoup costs incurred in recruiting the former Docker and receive compensation for lost time in planning.

“As this situation has only occurred due to the AFL’s decision to allow the Essendon Football Club to recruit outside normal procedures, sufficient compensation to allow the recruitment of a similar player will be expected from the AFL,” Hodyl said.

“The SDFC had no part whatsoever in the AFL/Essendon illegal supplement scandal and should not in any way be expected to provide relief to the detriment of our club.

“We would also expect the AFL to provide assistance in replacing a player of similar experience and ability along with a suitable midfield coach with equivalent AFL experience.”

WAFC football affairs general manager Jon Haines said the AFL had advised the WAFC that either Essendon Football Club or Ryan Crowley must reimburse Swan Districts for any costs already paid by Swan Districts to Ryan.

“Reimbursement must be negotiated between Essendon, Swan Districts, Ryan and his management,” Haines said.

“The WAFC has been working closely with the AFL and the WAFL clubs throughout this unique situation and will continue to collaborate with clubs impacted by the recruiting concessions offered to Essendon.

“This includes giving due consideration to any WAFL club requests for additional recruiting or financial support.”

An AFL spokesman said its position was that any player joining Essendon was a matter of negotiation between his club and Essendon, if that player had a contract/role with a state league or local club.

“The AFL’s role has been with the payment structure for players and their allowance to pay players beyond their normal cap limit,” he said.

“But the discussions between a player being able to join the club, from wherever he is now located, has been one we have not been involved in, and that’s between a negotiation between Essendon, the player and his club.”