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I will be a strong leader, says new AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield

AFL Players' Association president Patrick Dangerfield has declared he will take a strong stand and fight for his members when required after accepting the top role.

Dangerfield was voted into the key position on Monday and replaces former Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich who, along with AFLPA chief Paul Marsh, played a major role in brokering the new collective bargaining agreement with the AFL last year.

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Dangerfield was also prominent in debate about the new deal, at one stage claiming a strike was possible during the pre-season if the players did not secure the revenue-sharing model for which they had asked.

Speaking at the AFLPA's 2018 season launch, Dangerfield joked: "I am very hard-arsed, you know me" but then added: "As I mentioned before, 'Pav' and 'Marshy' have done a wonderful job over the past five months negotiating that CBA. It was a really strong outcome for our players. It's important as players we stand up for what we think is right and do it in the right manner. I think we have done that over the journey and we will continue to do so."

There are likely to be several issues on the agenda, including potential changes to free agency and even debate about re-introducing a mid-season draft.

Players have expressed support for restricted free agency to be cut from eight years to six, and unrestricted free agency from 10 down to eight years.


"I am sure it will be something that will be put forward at some stage over the next few years. Obviously, the CBA has another five years remaining," Dangerfield said.

"Whether that changes at the end of those five years, that's uncertain at this stage. We need more information with regards to where clubs are at with the CBA."

The Geelong champion said he wanted more information before determining whether there was merit in a mid-season draft.

"Until we are educated a bit more, it's hard to say. But if it's interesting for the game, I am sure it will be something the AFL will look into," he said.

Carlton defender Sam Docherty was appointed vice president, while former Essendon player Chris Heffernan and former Hawthorn and Fremantle defender Luke McPharlin joined the board.

Dangerfield, who had been on the board for four years, said he was determined to do what was right for male players and the fledgling AFLW.

"For us, we have to continue to make sure our player affinity is really strong. We are only strong as our members, which are players. We have to make sure we are all on the same page and making sure we push our players in regards to development," he said.

"I suppose I am the face of it at the moment. But it is about the collective. Whatever is best for our entire 850 players and our 200-odd women players, that is the most important thing for us as a board and as a PA."

Dangerfield also confirmed he would line up in the Cats' second JLT Community Series clash, against Essendon on Sunday. He had missed Sunday's clash against the Gold Coast Suns.

St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt was rewarded for his great service to the sport over 17 years by being presented with the Madden Medal.

The annual award is given to the player who demonstrated on-field excellence, personal development and community spirit over his playing career.