Cats confident despite tight salary cap - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats confident despite tight salary cap

By Sam Lienert 27/09/2009 05:02:44 PM Comments (0)

Geelong believe they can keep their AFL premiership squad completely intact, despite acknowledging players will be paid well below market value.

Coach Mark Thompson said after Saturday's grand final win that salary cap problems might force the Cats to trade players away.

But Geelong president Frank Costa and chief executive Brian Cook are confident that the attraction of remaining part of a great team will outweigh the big money offers from rivals, particularly with the Gold Coast building a side for their 2011 AFL debut.

"The players last year resisted the temptation from the money being offered from all over the place to stay together," Costa said on Sunday.

"I really feel very confident that ... under the pressure that's coming, particularly from the Gold Coast at the moment, for some of our stars, our boys are going to stay together again."

Cook said the aim was to retain the best 30 players on the club's list, including the entire premiership team.

"It will be very hard but I think I will," he said.

The one likely exception is captain Tom Harley, who is almost certain to retire, although he will be granted another contract if he wants one.

The club's oldest player, tough defender Darren Milburn, has already agreed to play on in 2010.

Cook said respected football manager Neil Balme was also set to sign on for two more seasons.

"But it will be very, very hard to keep all of the players together and we're relying on the players in my opinion to accept offers which are about 20 per cent less than their market value," he said.

Young superstars such as Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood, who are under contract for next season, would earn huge pay rises were they to join the Gold Coast in 2011.

But Cook was confident that pair would re-sign during the coming year.

"I have a bit of a philosophy that if you do everything well - your medical team, your coaching, your welfare, your wellness - you've got a better chance of keeping people," Cook said.

"Money's not everything, it certainly helps, but it's not everything."

He said former skipper Steven King, who played with St Kilda in the losing grand final side, had to be traded away after the 2007 premiership, partly due to salary cap constraints, which also contributed to losing highly promising midfielder Brent Prismall to Essendon at the end of last season.

"It's a real issue, because we're at the limit of the salary cap at the moment, so that's the issue, and we've got 13 All Australians and we've got aggressive player managers, so it's difficult," Cook said.

"We're hoping that the players will continue to accept less than their worth, they've done that the past two or three years and that's been led by the player leadership group."

Defender Andrew Mackie was confident his teammates valued staying together over money.

"The last couple of years the boys have been taking pay cuts," he said.

"You can't buy premierships and to be a part of this is just priceless.

"You can't talk for everyone, but it's great to be playing in a great side and with great players part of it."

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