Tom Harley, the NSW/ACT general manager of the AFL, weighed in to the Sydney salary cap debate yesterday, saying the Swans are playing within the rules by using the extra 9.8 per cent in their cap as a ''carrot to be dangled''.
The Swans and Greater Western Sydney both have an additional allowance in their salary caps to cover the higher cost of living in the NSW capital. The allowance has come under fire after Adelaide key forward Kurt Tippett nominated the Swans as his club of choice to be traded to.
''First and foremost, Kurt Tippett has obviously decided to come and play with the Swans because he really respects the club, and the extra money on top is probably a little carrot to be dangled, but that 10 per cent gets spread across the whole playing list,'' Harley said.
Harley, a dual-premiership captain with Geelong, said he had noticed the increase in the cost of living since moving to Sydney.
''Absolutely I have,'' he said.
''I think the property prices, particularly between Melbourne and Sydney, are closing [but] I've just noticed the incidentals are more expensive in Sydney.
''I was really surprised the first 12 months I moved up, albeit from Geelong and Torquay, a country sort of town. I noticed a significant difference in the cost of living.''
Harley, who took over the top job of the local AFL body a year ago, said it was his job to make the most of the Swans' success and continue to build the game.
Part of the strategy is the development of the AFL 9s, a non-contact recreational version of the code, demonstrated yesterday with a match between members of the Senate and House of Representatives outside Parliament House.
''Like all sports, we need to have a product that caters for everyone … this is the first year in its current format, but across NSW and the ACT we're really banking on it being a great participation pathway,'' Harley said.
■ Canberra's potential AFL draftee, Liam Flaherty, participated in a one-day draft combine camp in Melbourne on Saturday. The Eastlake key forward said he felt he did well.
''They say within a week or so they'll send us our results and how we compare to everyone else around Australia,'' Flaherty said.
The 18-year-old was one of several potential draftees put through tests, in a mini version of the full draft camp, during a gruelling day.
Flaherty will nominate himself for the November 11 AFL draft.