St Kilda coach Scott Watters. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
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St Kilda coach Scott Watters has lashed out at Brendon Goddard, accusing the star player of making big money his priority in joining Essendon.
The Saints had the chance to match the Bombers' offer — believed to be worth about $2.9 million over four years — but decided against doing so, which meant Goddard yesterday joined Essendon as a restricted free agent.
Brendon Goddard. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
Saints coach Scott Watters last night dismissed as ''ludicrous'' speculation his club had offered the 205-game veteran $500,000 a season to stay at St Kilda, and was unequivocal about why Goddard left.
''The reason is about money. It's that simple. It is about remuneration. Really, there's nothing outside that,'' he told 3AW.
''That was the point that was explained to me by Brendon. That's what free agency is all about to a degree, that's the climate that we now live in.
''He had to make a decision based on what was a bigger offer.''
Watters said St Kilda's offer to Goddard — believed to be about $1.9 million over three years — was respectful to the player.
Watters continued his criticism of Goddard on radio today and said it was the player's decision to leave, not the Saints' reluctance to fight to keep him.
''Brendon made a decision that was outside our team-first structure. We fiercely want to protect our team-first mentality,'' Watters told SEN.
''I am personally disappointed he is not going to be a part of that but we do need to place the team first.
''Gone are the days where you can negotiate just to keep one marquee player at the expense of the rest of your list.
''Perhaps historically we have been a club that has gone down that path on occasions. But the club will always be bigger than any individual.''
Meanwhile, Essendon has refuted as "categorically false" comments made by former Bombers chairman Ray Horsburgh that he had told the club he would offer Goddard a job.
The Herald Sun reported today Horsburgh had offered the Bombers help in his role as chairman of transport company Toll. Under AFL rules, third-party deals cannot be offered to help clubs lure opposition players.
Essendon today said it had never "received or discussed any employment matter with Brendon other than his playing contract with the club".
"The suggestion that a third party or related party deal has been tabled to help secure Brendan is factually incorrect," it said in a statement.