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Saints: no regrets on Goddard

Saint no more: Brendon Goddard has left St Kilda for Essendon in pursuit of greater financial security and the prospect of playing in a premiership.

Saint no more: Brendon Goddard has left St Kilda for Essendon in pursuit of greater financial security and the prospect of playing in a premiership. Photo: Wayne Taylor

ST KILDA president Greg Westaway said tonight the Saints had no regrets about losing Brendon Goddard as they had offered him a ''lump'' of money to stay at the club.

But former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas hit out at the club last night for letting the star utility walk to Essendon as a free agent.

The lure of greater financial security and the prospect of playing in a premiership has swayed Goddard, a restricted free agent.

As the inaugural free agency period began in a frenzy, the Bombers and Goddard tabled a four-year offer, believed to be worth about $2.9 million, at AFL headquarters yesterday morning.

The Saints had 72 hours to decide whether to match the offer, but took just four hours to decide against it.

The Saints refused to budge on their three-year offer of about $1.9 million, saying it ''respected the club's player-payment model''.

The Bombers may have to clear salary cap space to secure Goddard and will now decide how many of their six free agents they retain. Dustin Fletcher is a certainty but Angus Monfries is likely to head to Port Adelaide on a four-year deal.

Ricky Dyson, David Hille, Henry Slattery and Nathan Lovett-Murray have yet to be re-signed. Lovett-Murray has been offered a one-year deal but wants two.

Scott Gumbleton, who is not a free agent, has been offered a one-year deal, but his future is also clouded.

The Saints have worked diligently in the past year to free up space under their salary cap, having been burdened in part in recent years by the bonus clauses in the contracts of several star players.

Westaway said the Saints had done their best to retain Goddard, who will be remembered for dominating the 2010 finals campaign.

''He is very much a required player, we wanted him to stay, but it's like anything, there is a value to something. We work out what the value is and why it is, and you put your best offer forward,'' he told The Age.

''We put our best offer forward. He has got a better one. We have a responsibility to spend according to our needs.

''It was a lump of money, we thought it was a good offer, and it was responsible … at the end of the day he had to make up his mind, and we had to make up ours.''

The AFL will determine what compensation the Saints will receive. It is expected to be a first-round selection. ''Let's hope it's a good one,'' Westaway said.

Thomas tweeted last night: ''Great clubs don't lose great people. On the surface it seems Saints were happy to release him. I'm somewhat perplexed.''

Westaway said he sensed Goddard was leaving when he failed to commit to a deal once the Saints had missed the finals. Goddard added to the speculation when he did not mention next season in his acceptance speech when he received life membership.

Goddard left on an overseas holiday yesterday.

His manager, Dan Richardson, said his client had agonised over a decision for weeks and made up his mind only over the weekend.

''Everyone, at times, goes through difficult career decisions. This has certainly been one for him,'' Richardson said.

''He made a decision for a host of reasons. We won't deny financial security is one of them. But, obviously, he feels it's the right thing to do for his footy.''

St Kilda's head of football Chris Pelchen said the decision not to match Essendon's offer came as the club put the team ahead of the individual.

''While we are disappointed at his decision to leave the Saints, we are absolutely committed to our 'team first' philosophy in relation to player contracts,'' he said.

For the Bombers, this is their biggest signing in a decade. Recently retired midfielder Mark McVeigh weighed in last night saying Goddard would help fill a void in Essendon's 26-28-year bracket.

Those close to Goddard, 27, maintain his preference was to remain with the Saints, but the club's refusal to add a fourth year meant the Bombers' offer was too great to ignore.

Essendon and St Kilda failed to make the finals this season, but it's felt the Bombers may be closer to a premiership than a Saints squad still heavily reliant on its veterans from the 2009 and 2010 campaigns that ended in grand final heartache.

Asked if this was a factor, Richardson said: ''Every player ideally wants to play in finals and have success. As we know, there is never any guarantee with that, but it would be fair to say that maybe it's a bit stronger [chance to play in finals] with Essendon. But everyone will debate that, there is always two sides to that.''

Westaway didn't take umbrage with that thinking. ''Football is an opinion business and everyone has their opinion,'' he said.

Richardson said the dual All-Australian, who finished fourth in the Saints' best and fairest this season, had not had a falling-out with coach Scott Watters or the club.

''There was certainly no falling-out with anyone or with the St Kilda footy club. It's more about the opportunity he has elected to pursue,'' he said.

Goddard, who was taken with the first pick of the 2002 national draft, played 205 matches for the Saints.

93 comments

  • If he wanted a GF, then he would be off to Carlton. God only knows what he is doing at Essendon

    Commenter
    Tony
    Date and time
    October 01, 2012, 3:51PM
    • So you think Malthouse is Carltons Messiah? Was that not supposed to be Pagan?

      Commenter
      Dunkley fan
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 4:54PM
    • Thanks for that. Laughed my head off. Made my day ;-)

      Commenter
      Paul
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 5:11PM
    • Haha Carlton and Collingwood supporters are so alike - maybe that's why they hate each other so much! Bombers will hit 18+ premierships before either add one.

      Commenter
      Elijah Baley
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 5:23PM
    • @Dunkley fan ... Surely the messiah can never be a Pagan?

      Commenter
      timothy.richardson
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 6:08PM
    • Carlton didn't even make the finals this year and are obviously a long way off a GF, let alone top 4. It's a long way to the top if ya wanna rock and roll with the likes of Sydney & Hawthorn...

      Commenter
      In the Bloods
      Location
      Lake Oval
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 6:11PM
    • Dunkley fan... No sooner had Pagan accepted the job than Carlton were hit with bans on use of Draft picks.. Was not Pagans fault he was a top coach who got lumbered with a team unable to rebuild for a few years due top this.. Had Carlton not been punished Goddard and Wells would be wearing Carlton jumpers right now..

      Commenter
      Jessica
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 6:35PM
    • Goddard is probably going to the bombers because he thinks it will be easy to win a Brownlow medal there, if Watson can win one there anyone can.

      Commenter
      Tim
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 6:38PM
    • @elija - not the way your "dream team" is running things at Essendon. You'll be "rebuilding" AGAIN while the Reston us play finals. Come back Matty Knights!! All is forgiven at Windy Hill!

      Commenter
      Can't Buy A Premierhip
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 7:21PM
    • Hmmm... Not sure. I don't think he's got 12 years of football left in him.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Date and time
      October 01, 2012, 8:49PM

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