The Swans can argue average weekly rents in Sydney ($500) are more expensive than in Melbourne ($350).

The Swans can argue average weekly rents in Sydney ($500) are more expensive than in Melbourne ($350). Photo: Quentin Jones

SYDNEY will have grounds to argue its players deserve to retain a special cost-of-living allowance, with official statistics showing median house prices in Sydney are more than 17 per cent higher than Melbourne.

The latest report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for established home transfers, published in September last year, said the median house price in Sydney was $563,300. Melbourne was second on $480,000, with Perth ($470,000) not far behind.

This difference in house prices is more than the 9.8 per cent living allowance Sydney spends on each of its players as part of a special dispensation it has to attract and retain talent in an emerging AFL market. Overall, this was an additional $862,000 the Swans were able to spend last season.

In addition, the Swans can argue average weekly rents in Sydney ($500) are more expensive than in Melbourne ($350).

Sydney has said it has information showing the overall cost of living is 15 per cent higher in the harbour city, and this can make it harder to attract talent.

The special allowance has been debated by rival clubs in wake of the Swans' premiership and their pursuit of expensive Adelaide key forward Kurt Tippett.

Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold and Adelaide counterpart Rob Chapman have questioned whether this benefit has actually been used to lure and retain a particular player, rather than spread evenly among the playing list.

While AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has urged clubs not to react in a ''knee-jerk'' manner, the AFL Commission discussed the issue on Monday and has requested updated statistics to determine whether the Swans should retain the benefit.

The AFL has not examined the issue for five years.

''Maybe it is appropriate that we collate more information, all the Bureau of Statistics information, get some experts involved, get some third parties, and get some more information and we'll bring it back to the commission to have a look at,'' Demetriou said.

Swans chief executive Andrew Ireland said all players on the list, including rookies, received the 9.8 per cent loading.

Ireland said he had no issue with the review but remained confident any outcome would more than justify Sydney's additional player payments.

''I don't have a problem with it,'' he said yesterday.

''The AFL are the ones who are there to legislate on these things and if it's not dearer to live in Sydney then we shouldn't have it and we shouldn't have to pay our players more.

''I'm completely comfortable that we review these things, but I think it's interesting they do it when we're successful.''

Ireland pointed to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released this week that placed Sydney behind only Tokyo in terms of the world's most expensive cities.

Greater Western Sydney also has the cost-of-living allowance but fellow developing-market clubs Brisbane and Gold Coast do not. But the Lions did have the allowance during their premiership years.

West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett has also questioned why his club cannot have the loading because of Perth's escalating prices.

■Demetriou maintained it was unlikely there would be a twilight grand final during the current broadcast deal with Channel Seven and Fox Sports, despite declaring the 5.15pm Saturday timeslot for the preliminary final between Adelaide and Hawthorn had been family friendly and a success.

''It got people thinking, including myself, the what-ifs, perhaps a grand final twilight, but we are contracted to play day grand finals for the next four years,'' he said.

However, if Seven was keen on a twilight grand final, that could change.

Demetriou said the AFL had erred in not ensuring the top-of-the-ladder Hawks were able to stage their preliminary final on the Friday night. A NRL preliminary final scheduled at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on the Saturday night meant the Swans, instead, hosted Collingwood on the Friday night.

He also declared the inaugural free-agency period and extended trade time a success.

An investigation into Melbourne's alleged tanking is continuing.