Magpies skipper can cope with defectors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Magpies skipper can cope with defectors

By Guy Hand 04/08/2011 04:08:41 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell says he'd have no problem playing alongside teammates who declared they would be leaving for another AFL club the following season.

But Maxwell remains confident Greater Western Sydney target Dale Thomas will stick with the Magpies for 2012 as speculation over who the Giants have secured for their inaugural season continues to swirl.

Adelaide defender Phil Davis this week became the first to go public with an announcement he will join the Giants next year.

And with the AFL to introduce free agency at the end of next season, NRL-style mid-season signings are expected to become more common.

Maxwell said he would want anyone honest enough to say they were leaving Collingwood not to be shut out by the club and play out the rest of the season.

"I'd definitely want them to keep playing on with us," Maxwell said.

"They're contracted for that year and our role is to go out there and be successful and win games of football.

"Our supporters and our members would want us to do that with the best team available.

"Obviously it's going to be a good player that gets poached and that player could be the difference between winning a premiership and making the finals."

Out-of-contract midfielder Thomas, who has had a breakout season in 2011, is reported to be one of the Giants' key targets alongside Melbourne's Tom Scully.

But Maxwell remains confident Collingwood's current status as the AFL's benchmark will sway players like Thomas to stick with a club likely to have several more years of success rather than take the short-term pain likely with the Giants.

"I'm confident we'll keep our guys - we've got a couple out of contract right now and then some more next year," Maxwell said.

"We've created a culture and a place players want to play footy and to this stage we've had a good record of keeping guys and attracting players to our club.

"But in the end we understand it's a business and if guys feel there's more to achieve at a different football club, then they'll move on."

Maxwell, who attended an AFL Players' Association function in Melbourne on Wednesday to announce federal government support for the players' youth homelessness charity Ladder, said there had been no further progress on a new pay deal.

But he said it was not a concern negotiations remained stalled, with the players steadfast in their support for a 25 to 27 per cent cut of league revenue.

"I'm sure (an agreement) will happen sooner rather than later," Maxwell said.

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