Harley to play for less to stay at Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harley to play for less to stay at Cats

By Leonard Siragusa and Tim Clarke 24/04/2008 06:36:44 PM Comments (0)

Geelong's premiership winning captain Tom Harley is prepared to take a pay cut if it helps keep the dominant Cats together.

Brownlow Medallist Jimmy Bartel and fellow midfielder Cameron Ling have recently committed to new deals, leaving Harley, Paul Chapman and Joel Corey as the last three leading Geelong players yet to agree to new contracts.

"I'm sort of swept under the radar, I think I'll leave the stars to do all their work first and hopefully there's some left for me at the end," Harley said on Thursday on the eve of the clash with Fremantle at Subiaco.

But with the club's administration facing what Harley described as a "massive challenge" to retain their list, the out-of-contract captain accepted he would have to agree to play for less to remain at the club.

"I think that's probably on the cards to be honest," Harley said.

"My negotiations are irrelevant compared to the others so I'll just sit back and take what's left (in the salary cap) at the end."

While Harley's pay packet might not improve, he said the team's onfield performance still had room for improvement in their Anzac Day clash against the Dockers.

"I reckon we're firing at about 85 per cent at the moment," Harley said.

"I think we've probably played in fits or starts all year, barring probably the Essendon game where we played pretty much the four quarters."

Harley said Geelong's back six would have to be at their "flexible best" to counter Fremantle forwards Matthew Pavlich, Jeff Farmer and swing man Luke McPharlin.

But assistant coach Ken Hinkley said the inclusion of young defender Harry Taylor would allow the Cats to match-up better against the Dockers attack.

Hinkley also said 200cm Bunyip giant Shane Mumford, who will make his AFL debut on Friday, deserved his chance after shedding 20kg over the summer.

"He's had to do some things that have been quite life-changing, with the way he has trained and the whole preparation thing, he's got a great result with his first game of AFL football," Hinkley said.

"There was enough there to like about him if he could change his shape and got his fitness to a level where he can now obviously play AFL football."

Four premiership points would not be the only thing at stake on Friday.

Dockers coach Mark Harvey would like to square the ledger on his former Essendon premiership teammate and now Geelong coach Mark Thompson after the Cats defeated the Dockers by 68 points in round 17 last year.

"It would be fair to say we are really close beyond our playing days, because we went to school together - the friendship goes over 25 years," Harvey said.

"But I have not spoken to him, he knows I won't call him. And I will see him after the game."

Harvey acknowledged Geelong's embarrassment of riches in the midfield as well as their pace on the AFL's biggest ground would be challenging to curtail.

"The game is changing, and moving quicker than ever," Harvey said.

"I know you can't give him much space, and I think they combine well in all areas.

"They have the ability to run 12 players through there and have the same output - that is their strength."

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