New AFL world shown in Davis defection - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

New AFL world shown in Davis defection

By Steve Larkin 02/08/2011 05:43:06 PM Comments (0)

The Adelaide Crows feel aggrieved. They shouldn't.

Sure, it was bad enough they lost their All Australian centre-half back Nathan Bock to the Gold Coast Suns.

And now Phil Davis, the man anointed as Bock's replacement and a future Crows captain, is gone.

"We coped with Nathan last year because we knew we had Phil," Adelaide's football operations manager Phil Harper said on Tuesday.

But Davis' defection to Greater Western Sydney is simply part of, as Harper put it, the "new world of AFL footy".

Like it or not, it's a world where money and hypocrisy rule; where clubs preach, but don't practise, loyalty.

It's a world where the AFL's ruthless bent to dominate Australia's sporting landscape changed the fabric of the game.

And a world where a promising yet largely unproven and injury-plagued 18-gamer is offered triple the money to leave his native club.

Blame the system, but don't blame Davis - what 20-year-old could refuse a chance to set himself up financially for life?

"We live in now a ridiculously inflated market for AFL players," Harper said.

He's right. But Harper also knows his club is partly to blame.

The Crows not only approved the concessions for the new entities Gold Coast and GWS, their chief executive Steven Trigg helped write those very rules.

"We agreed to the new teams coming in, we agreed to the rules, and so now we have to cop it," Harper said.

"Did we think we would be the hardest hit of all the AFL clubs? Probably not. But as it turns out, we are."

Davis was remarkably straight-faced when insisting money wasn't the main motivation for becoming the first player to join GWS from an established AFL club.

In a sign of the new world times, he felt no guilt for leaving the club that nurtured him.

"That is just how the system works these days," Davis said.

The Crows pitched a counter offer which Harper described as "way, way, way over any offer to a 20-game player in the history of this football club".

"It still wasn't in the ball park," Harper lamented.

But he could at least empathise with Davis, despite calling the young key defender as "the enemy now, and he will be treated as such".

"For a 20-year-old young man to have to make a decision like that is a big call," Harper said.

"And no matter what way he went, he was going to feel as though he was letting somebody down. I would have liked to him to let someone else down, not us."

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