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Demons match Hawthorn for football spending

When player payments are discounted, 17th placed Melbourne is spending a similar amount on its football department this season as the premiership favourite and top team Hawthorn.

AFL industry sources have confirmed that while the Demons are spending less than the Hawks overall on their football department - due to the top team's high player payments - the Dees are spending nearly the same amount as Hawthorn on what clubs call ''non-player spend'' in football.

Hawthorn is spending slightly more than $18million on its football department in 2013, but the bulk of that is on players. The hapless Demons are spending heavily on football staff - having wooed senior football staffers Neil Craig, David Misson and Todd Viney and recruiting manager Jason Taylor from rival clubs on significant salaries and having set up a sizeable coaching structure along the same lines as Collingwood.

Sources said that if the respective wages of Hawthorn's well-paid premiership coach, Alastair Clarkson, and his sacked counterpart Mark Neeld were subtracted from the comparison, the Demons might well be the higher spender in terms of football staff.

In assessing the disastrous season at Melbourne, the AFL has recognised that resources, staffing levels and facilities have not been an issue for the club.

Rather, the new AFL-backed chief executive, Peter Jackson, has taken the view that the football department was structurally flawed and that the club overall was top heavy with executives.

Jackson is adding a new head of football to the football department, but it has been made clear following the sacking of Neeld that there will be further cullings from the club and that a fair portion of the AFL's one-off emergency funding - expected to exceed $2million - will be used on payouts for terminated staff.

Neeld was among the lower-paid senior coaches, but the Demons have significant coaching and recruiting departments. Viney, who is contracted for next year, was general manager of player development and strategy and was involved in recruiting.

Craig, who has taken over from Neeld, was previously employed as head of sports performance on an estimated $400,000 and, in effect, was a senior executive in football. Josh Mahoney had been football manager but not the head of the football department.

The highly rated Misson, poached from St Kilda on what the industry speculates to be more than $300,000, has three full-time conditioning staff reporting to him, including a sport science co-ordinator and a training load analyst.

The coaching department had three line coaches - Jade Rawlings (defence), Brian Royal (midfield) and Leigh Brown (forwards) with a development coach working under each line coach, in the same system as Collingwood.

In recruiting, there were four full-time people in addition to Taylor, including pro-scout Kelly O'Donnell. Like most clubs, the Demons also have a list manager (Tim Harrington) who does contracting.

Hawthorn is among the higher spending football departments in the competition, though its overall $18million-plus is still well shy of what Collingwood and West Coast (both estimated close to $20million) are outlaying on their football departments this year.

Jackson has indicated that the Demons will revert to a more conventional structure, with key football staff reporting to the head of football, whoever that is, rather than the chief executive.


  • What exactly is the point of this article?

    I feel the headline pretty much says it all, you could have left it at that.

    Are you saying that because Melbourne spend as much as Hawthorn they should be at the top of the ladder with them? Or that maybe they should cut back on spending?
    Or are you just going through some stats? Are you going to list the spending on football departments for the rest of the competition or just the flavour of the month?
    Might as well find a new angle to sink the boot in i guess. Great article though, maybe not back page but just before the obituaries...

    Date and time
    June 20, 2013, 10:14PM
    • The point is to highlight that no amount of money gifted from the AFL or hard-earned via Stynes and co, can prevent a bunch of players cracking the shits and failing to perform. Furthermore, that Melbourne is such a joke, the last thing they need is more cash gifted from the AFL industry. Instead, they need to justify their place in the league. No club deserves to continue being a charity case with endless top 5 picks thrown their way alongside financial subsidies simply because they can't draw a crowd because of their ineptitude and since most of their supporters can't be bothered signing up when they watch for free from the MCC reserve. 50 years of failure is a disgrace. Melbourne are a basket case worse than Fitzroy who at least remained reasonably competitive almost to the end relying on nothing more than a series of gold coin donations. Fitzroy never received a cent from the AFL and Melbourne has received seemingly endless handouts from Gutnick and the AFL propping it up for year after year. For what? They contribute nothing more to the TV deal that underpins the competition than the illusion of an opponent with which to fill out the schedule.

      The time is right to set up a second division in the AFL and a parasitic club like Melbourne should be the first candidate for demotion.

      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 12:45AM
    • I think the clear point is that it is not the amount of money you spend, but how it is spent. For two equal spend one team is top & one team is bottom. Structures and processes are great but if structures are filled with people who can only follow a process success will alude you. Exceptionally capable people with objectives that will deliver the desired result to the club is what is needed.
      Let me see.
      Melbourne needs
      1: a board that demands and supports football and administration perfection.
      2: CEO who demands and supports football and administration perfection
      3: Caoches and administration who demand and deliver perfection in there zone of responsibility
      4: Players who meld as one to create best team
      5: Players who deliver nothing but 100% performance to there capability. We do not need 110%ers mixed with 75%ers.

      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 7:32AM
    • Marcus I think the point is clear-The AFL is preparing to give them $2M to spend on their football department, but they're already spending as much as the best side.

      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 8:51AM
    • Did you read the article Mick? It says the $2 million will be mostly used on payouts, not an additional $2 million to get more people for the football department.

      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 9:47AM
    • Marcus, And where would the $2M come from if the AFL didn't chip in? The football budget perhaps? The point is they are spending enough money but they keep making poor decisions which the AFL is paying for. Not good enough

      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 2:15PM
  • Dees should ask for their money back from the recruiting department. Jobs for the boys & no accountability in demonworld has been the go of this lot for the last few years,

    the peoples elbow
    right arm
    Date and time
    June 21, 2013, 6:37AM
    • Well I guess they are damned if they do, damned if they don't. If the stats said Melbourne had spent half of what Hawthorn had spent, the article would be about them needing to increase spending to be competitive. It's just clutching at straws for mine, slow news day perhaps?
      And if you are talking about charity cases, maybe look at the rest of the competition.
      How much did Hawthorn pay for Waverly Park?
      Did North fix up Arden street from their own account?
      GWS/GC. Whitten Oval...... the list goes on, I don't think Melbourne are the only ones getting hand outs.

      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 8:01AM
      • Hawthorn didn't buy Waverley Park - Mirvac did AND for market value.

        The ground was always going to be kept and when the grandstand was heritag listed Hawthorn saw an opportunity. Mirvac allows HFC to pay $1 per annum to lease the ground until all blocks are sold at which time it becomes Hawthorn's.

        Hawthorn got jack from the AFL for this and it was the result of good, proactive management - something sorely lacking at the other basket cases you mentioned - especially the Dees who seem to think we need them just because they're Melbourne...

        Date and time
        June 21, 2013, 9:03AM
      • Didn't the Hawks get compensated to move their games from Waverly? Like 5 million dollars or something?
        And they have a plan to spend $35 million on redeveloping Waverly, "The Hawks will use a mix of its own reserves, private investment, government and AFL funding to help build the infrastructure....". Im not saying they haven't been very clever in what they have done, but don't tell me they are going it alone, with no help from no one.

        Date and time
        June 21, 2013, 9:40AM

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