GWS makes Giant move in the Tippett saga
Israel Folau, David Matthews and Nick Johnston arrive for the GWS media conference yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
GREATER Western Sydney is planning to meet Kurt Tippett next week, as the club explores the possibility of moving some of Israel Folau's marketing millions over to the controversial former Adelaide forward.
The Giants say they are serious and the departure of Folau has increased their capacity to pay the forward the huge sum that Sydney had pledged.
Folau was being paid an estimated $1 million a season, the vast bulk of which was outside the salary cap as part of his ''ambassador'' role as a code jumper. The Giants are set to explore with the AFL whether an arrangement of that kind can be struck for Tippett. They believe Tippet has been offered $4 million over four years by the Swans, who until now had appeared to be strongly favoured to snare Tippett, most likely in the pre-season draft for uncontracted and delisted players.
Brisbane is highly unlikely to draft Tippett, a Queenslander, in either the national or pre-season draft, and Gold Coast has talked down its interest.
The Giants are well-placed to take him, having five picks in the top 13 in the national draft (1,2,3, 12 and 13) and the first spot in the pre-season draft, well ahead of the Swans, in the event that Tippett places a hefty price on his head before he enters the draft, the only way he can get to his preferred Swans.
While the AFL can not compel players to join any particular club, The Age believes it would prefer to see Tippett at GWS or one of the Queensland teams, rather than with the Swans, who were the beneficiaries of his agreement to be traded to the club of his choice by Adelaide.
Adelaide has already lost an out-of-contract player to GWS - Phil Davis - but the rules do not preclude the Giants from taking Tippett as a second out-of-contract player because he would be recruited via the draft and theoretically available to any club.
GWS chief executive Dave Matthews said yesterday the club was ''very serious'' about its interest in Tippett and would try to have discussions with his management company in the next week.
Matthews said Folau's departure and the club's interest in Tippett were separate issues. Folau's decision to quit was nothing to do with the club's interest in or ability to secure Tippett but it did open up money to potentially accommodate him.
As an alternative talent rookie, Folau's wage only counted in the salary cap for the senior games that he played. Thus, the salary cap relief will not be large but sufficient.
''We are very serious about our interest in Kurt Tippett,'' Matthews said. ''It had nothing to do with Israel's decision, they are independent considerations and we had said over the weekend already that we would seriously look at Kurt Tippett and speak with his management and we still intend to do that.
''It (Folau leaving) does create some salary cap room for us. So we will talk more to his management company, we are certainly in he race because we have the draft positions to secure him in either draft and we have the scope to fit him in.''
Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins immediately made the connection between Folau's departure and his as yet club-less former teammate. He tweeted yesterday: ''Someone tell KT that there's a spot available in the GWS forward 50 … #outgoesizzyincomestippo''
Tippett's status is still under investigation by the AFL and he may yet be sanctioned for his role in the contract arrangement being investigated as a salary cap and draft breach with serious consequences likely for both his former club Adelaide and others.