Just How Much Do Aussie Rules Players Earn?

Just How Much Do Aussie Rules Players Earn?
By Conor Neville

This week brought good news for Kerry (as if they weren't well stocked on good news already) with Tommy Walsh, who starred in the 2009 final announcing his return from Australia.

How much money is he forsaking in coming back to Kerry? How do the salaries in the AFL measure up to those earned by professional soccer and rugby players?

The AFL has a salary cap in place called the Total Player Payments. The cap was brought in explicitly to curb the dominance of big clubs like Hawthorn and equalise the league.

Clubs are only allowed spend between $9 and $10.5 million a year on player wages across the whole club. This is equivalent to between €6.2 and €7.3 million euros. It is up to clubs how they wish too spread the wealth among their playing staff.

According to the Herald Sun, the average wage of an Australian rules player was $265, 179 ( €184, 309). This is four times the average industrial wage in Australia.

The highest paid player in the League is the Sydney Swans Lance Franklin, who controversially moved from the 2013 (and now 2014) champions on a deal worth $10 million (AUS) over 9 years. This left less money for squad players like Walsh.

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Walsh only played five games in the course of his five injury blighted years in Australia, beginning with St. Kilda before moving to the Sydney Swans in 2011.

The salaries of Aussie Rules players don't compare to salaries within the upper strata of English football.

But how does they stack up alongside rugby union? Well, if you're in the Top 14 you have a fair chance of earning more, but in the Aviva Premiership, the average is significantly lower.

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The average salary in the Aviva Premiership is £85,000 (€108,746) and the highest paid player earns roughly £350,000 (€447,745). However, in the case of English internationals, they get topped up by £150,000 a year for playing internationals.

In the Top 14 meanwhile, Sean O'Brien turned down wages estimated to be worth €470,000 (after tax was deducted). In 2010, Dan Carter earned a whopping €1.5 million a year (though he only stayed six months). Johnny Sexton's salary was worth between €700,000 and €750,000.

What of Ireland?

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The threat from the loadzamoney Top 14 has forced the IRFU to offer greater financial inducements to the top players to stay in Ireland. O'Brien is on a deal worth €420,o00 per annum (before tax is deducted), while Jamie Heaslip secured a bumper deal worth €1.5 million over three years. Back in 2013, Brian O'Driscoll had a basic salary of €350,000 (though, endorsements and commercial interests took him over €1m).

 

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