There are many reasons why players transition to another team, however there are of course others who do it only for the money - players who value money far greater than loyalty to their team. Likewise there are spectators who show no loyalty whatsoever, only barracking for the winning team. There will always be greed within any industry, however not every decision made of players switching teams in the AFL is based on that greed.
For these players, AFL is their main source of financial stability, and it is necessary for them to approach decisions concerning it from every angle. For example, the average playing career is limited to about six years, which isn't a long time to provide financial and career stability. Of course the star footballers play for a number of seasons more than the rest, however there is still an end point. As the body ages, performance decreases. And this doesn't even take into consideration the fact that there are other elements that can end one's career a lot sooner, like an injury.
I am a proud Collingwood supporter, and yes I do still have all my teeth! With Dale Thomas being my favourite player, I was quite upset when he decided to leave for Carlton, our biggest rivalries. However, getting past the initial shock of the moment I actually couldn't be more grateful and happy for him and his decision.
Having suffered from an ankle injury for a long time now, Collingwood couldn't offer him more than a performance contract. Carlton on the other hand has offered him a 4-year deal, with the option of a 5th season as well. Not only does this provide him the amazing opportunity to continue playing despite his severe injury, it also provides him the financial stability of a few more years, which he otherwise wouldn't have. I would have been far more devastated had his career ended and I never got to see him play again.
But what of Lance Franklin's decision then? He was in the top team, Hawthorn, the premiers of 2013! He had no excuse of an injury, his career was still stable and he sure was earning enough as it was! So what should be thought of his decision to join GWS? Very much like that of Gary Ablett, Franklin was provided the golden opportunity to challenge himself in a different setting. With the possibility to strive for greatness within his new team and push his limits to a new level, who wouldn't strongly consider such an offer?
Hawthorn is an amazing team, so they are at no loss without Franklin. Not only does it free up $1.1 million for the club, the Hawks have proven that they can still stand strong without Franklin, so it was a decision made to the benefit of all involved, and just like Geelong supporters still love their champion Gary Ablett, so the Hawks will continue to love their star Franklin.
The human body is an incredible organism, wired together with complete perfection and complexity by our Almighty Maker. God has provided us each with amazing talents and what a waste of a talent if it wasn't continually challenged and improved on.
Annemarie de Villiers is studying sports science and has a dream to be a sports scientist for a professional club. Born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand and tertiary professionally qualified in Melbourne Australia.
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