Giants Signing Ignites War of Words
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has accused the Greater Western Sydney Giants of cheating after it was revealed that the AFL’s newest club has secured the services of highly rated Adelaide defender Phil Davis.
Under AFL guidelines the Giants are not allowed to sign players until the end of the season, which has led to an uproar over the Davis signing.
“Their cheating on their first signing,” McGuire said.
“There’s one rule for one part of the year, one rule for another part of the year and a completely different rule for GWS – which seems to be ignore all rules.
“I’ve been saying this for ages, that sooner or later this is just going to blow up and everyone’s going to do their lid on this one and I reckon this is an absolute insult to everyone in the AFL competition.”
“Seriously if this is not a complete joke, Adrian Anderson must pick up the phone to (Giants CEO) Dale Holmes and belt him and hit him with whatever the sanctions are for breaking this rule.”
But despite the protests from one of the loudest voices in the AFL community, the Giants are maintaining that they have not acted outside the rules, or the spirit of the game.
The Giants are maintaining that no concrete deal has been put in place with Davis, despite the fact that he held a press conference at the Adelaide Football Club yesterday to announce that he planned to leave the club.
“The AFL in collaboration with the clubs made the rules, and we are intimately aware of the rules, respect the rules, abide by the rules and understand the consequences of not abiding by the rules,” said GWS Chief Executive Dale Holmes.
“We work closely with the AFL legal and compliance departments to understand what we can and can’t do, and in keeping with that, we are extremely comfortable and satisfied that we have done everything right.
“Our job is to build the best list we can for the people of Greater Western Sydney to represent them on the national stage. That’s our focus. As far as we are concerned it’s our responsibility to our members and supporters to get the best playing list together and ultimately achieve success.”
The key to the legality of the deal is the fact that no contract has been signed. Davis could technically back out of moving to Sydney, and GWS are maintaining that they have not settled on a payment figure with Davis, which would be in breach of AFL rules.
But despite McGuire’s call for sanctions to be bought against the Giants, AFL Operations Manager Adrian Anderson has cleared the expansion club of any wrongdoing.
“GWS have liaised with (AFL investigators) Ken Wood and Andrew Dillon and they’re satisfied that this situation is similar to the Nathan Bock situation, and that’s there’s been no breach of the AFL rules,” Anderson said.
Bock, who was also an Adelaide key defender, announced that he would be joining the Gold Coast Suns before the end of last season, however there as found to be no breach because the AFL could find no evidence that a deal had been done. The major problem comes about because the football public have a hard time believing that an established AFL footballer would commit to joining a new club, that will more than likely spend time at the foot of the ladder, without knowing how much they will be paid.
Never one to shy away from a fight, Giants coach Kevin Sheedy has weighed into the debate saying that the only reason the Davis signing had become an issue was because Eddie McGuire made it one.
“I’ve never known Eddie to play by the rules. He is probably talking about his rules and the AFL rules and Eddie’s rules are different,” Sheedy said.
“I’ve got no doubt there is a lot of players in the AFL who are going to come to GWS. It is an absolutely futuristic vision of AFL.
“Our job is to and find players anywhere in Australia, get the best ones we can, and build a great club. We are putting a footprint in West Sydney and if any players want to put their hand up and want to come, we have a right to build a club.”
Davis is the first player to indicate that he will be joining the Giants next year, however the club has also been linked to Melbourne’s number one draft pick Tom Scully, Collingwood premiership player Dale Thomas as well as Taylor Walker, Mitch Clark and Rhys Palmer.