Demetriou says AFL not to blame for Ward - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demetriou says AFL not to blame for Ward

Greg Buckle 06/09/2011 02:14:00 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou has defended the league's rules which allowed next year's debutants Greater Western Sydney to lure Callan Ward from Western Bulldogs.

The departure of Ward, 21, has created some ill feeling among Bulldogs fans and the player's mother has also spoken out.

Kerri Ward, a primary-school teacher, said this week the AFL was to blame.

"In all honesty the days of the one-club player are really dying out, particularly when you have clubs being set up like this where they can come along and offer ludicrous amounts of money to play football," she told News Limited.

Demetriou hit back on Tuesday, saying the AFL's system was fine and it was Callan Ward's decision to go.

"I don't think anything's wrong with the system," Demetriou told reporters.

"Any mother who sees their son go to another state, you can't help but feel for that situation with the family.

"But I think we should all remember that at the end of the day it's a decision that Callan Ward's made.

"I don't think anyone's forced him.

"He could have said no and Callan Ward has made the decision.

"I keep hearing about the Western Bulldogs, what they did or didn't do, what did the GWS do, but it's entirely a decision for Callan Ward."

The former Western Bulldogs midfielder is heading north for a five-year deal reportedly worth around $4 million, far above anything the Bulldogs could offer.

He was booed by Bulldogs fans during what turned out to be his last game for the club against Fremantle on Saturday at Etihad Stadium.

"It's a good system that allows a player to choose where he goes at the end of a contract," Demetriou said.

"I don't think we should begrudge a young player who wants to further his career elsewhere.

"In time, if that's what's best for Callan Ward and that's the decision that he's made, respect that decision."

GWS are expected to make further recruitment announcements this week.

Melbourne's Tom Scully and Fremantle's Rhys Palmer have also been linked with the new club as possible recruits.

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