Lions' Rischitelli signs with Suns - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions' Rischitelli signs with Suns

07/09/2010 06:13:36 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane chief executive Michael Bowers said a huge financial offer, rather than a failed trade to Carlton, was the primary reason for Michael Rischitelli's departure to the Gold Coast Suns.

Rischitelli on Tuesday ended months of speculation by announcing he would become the third uncontracted player to link with the new AFL franchise.

The 24-year-old midfielder signed a three-year Suns deal reportedly worth $500,000 a season.

The Lions will receive a draft pick at the end of round one as compensation for losing the prized Rischitelli, who played 111 games in seven seasons and is favoured to win the club's best and fairest award on Thursday night.

It completes the fallout over the Lions' initial attempt to trade Rischitelli and Daniel Bradshaw for controversial forward Brendan Fevola last year.

After the deal fell through, Bradshaw left for Sydney and Rischitelli remained but was reportedly disgruntled after being offered as trade bait.

But Bowers said that was all "speculation", claiming Rischitelli simply received an offer he couldn't refuse.

"It would be a long bow to draw," Bowers said on Tuesday when asked if Rischitelli's departure was a direct result of the failed trade.

"That's just speculation.

"The bundle of benefits the expansion clubs have got ... and they have got a significant war chest, those sorts of things in your armoury are just impossible to compete against.

"He did everything he could do on and off the field this year - he didn't have the look of someone who is disgruntled.

"He was the Michael Rischitelli we have known and loved - it is really a sad loss."

Rischitelli stonewalled when asked about the Carlton deal at his Gold Coast press conference on Tuesday but went to great lengths to stress that he was leaving on good terms.

Rischitelli said a phone call with Lions coach Michael Voss on Tuesday morning had cleared the air.

"I spoke to Vossy today, I left on a good note," Rischitelli said.

"I will treasure the memories and the good times at the Lions - they have taught me a lot."

Hawthorn's Campbell Brown was expected to be one of the next Suns' player announcements after asking for more time to consider a deal reportedly worth $450,000 a season.

The Suns also boast Adelaide's all-Australian centre half-back Nathan Bock and Port Adelaide defender Nathan Krakouer.

The Lions received the same compensation as Adelaide did for Bock, which the Crows described as "grossly inadequate" before appealing.

But Bowers said the Rischitelli announcement had helped clear the way in their player retention plans.

Especially the future of off contract Lions stars Simon Black, Luke Power, Jared Brennan and Josh Drummond.

And the Lions are set to announce that vice-captain Jed Adcock and rising stars Todd Banfield and James Hawksley have agreed to terms.

"That (Suns announcement) clears a significant level of risk for us in relation to other players," Bowers said.

Brennan had been linked to the Suns but now can only go to the tourist strip via a trade.

Bowers also backed veterans Black and Power to finish their careers at the club despite speculation that Fevola's heavily back-ended contract had restricted the Lions.

"I fervently believe that they will finish their careers at the club," Bowers said.

"I think there are many more years left in those guys."

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