Ratten fears for AFL culture - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ratten fears for AFL culture

Sam Lienert and Melissa Woods 03/08/2011 04:25:46 PM Comments (0)

Some things money can't buy, and Carlton coach Brett Ratten fears the AFL risks losing them.

Ratten views moves such as Adelaide 20-year-old Phil Davis deserting his hometown club for a rich contract with Greater Western Sydney as a disturbing sign ahead of free agency's arrival next year.

The Blues coach said players needed to realise they are more than one-man businesses.

Equally, he said clubs could not treat players as commodities if the AFL's rare culture of trust and loyalty is to survive.

Ratten said time spent examining the English Premier League at close-range made clear to him the "distrust" created if a competition becomes money-driven.

"It becomes real self-interest: `I'm the business and I'll just get the best deal for myself,'" he told reporters on Wednesday.

"It (should be) about a bit more than that, because when you finish football and life, money doesn't buy you success and premierships and (mateship).

"Being involved in it myself and having the premiership reunions, it's something special in life and where do you put a price on that.

"You have your medallion and people can give me 400 to 500,000, whatever, for that medallion. They're not having it ... money can't buy that."

Ratten said he knew several players who had changed clubs mid-career and regretted it.

"I hope players really go through and think about what they want out of life as well, it's not just about now."

But he said if clubs expected loyalty, they had to value players' best interests, which might mean trading someone because it would boost their career, even if it did not help the club.

Ratten's passionate plea came as Collingwood president Eddie McGuire accused the Giants of cheating by reaching an agreement with Davis mid-season.

Clubs are prohibited from signing players mid-season, although the Giants have said the deal is not official yet.

"They're treating people like morons," McGuire said onhis Triple M Melbourne radio show.

But St Kilda coach Ross Lyon said every club had known that while the creation of second AFL clubs in NSW and Queensland would deliver greater broadcast revenue, it would come at some cost.

"There was always going to be a price to pay. We're hoping it's not us, and it's others, but ... 60 per cent of the population live in Queensland and NSW," Lyon said.

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