Essendon to pay Carlisle's St Kilda contract this year

Essendon, not St Kilda, are likely to have to pay former Don Jake Carlisle's contract at the Saints this year as he serves his year-long drug ban as one of the Essendon 34.

The Saints do not believe they have to pay Carlisle during his ban and that non-payment forms part of a compensation claim against the Bombers by Carlisle – and by all players banned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport – for Essendon's role in the drug case.

One-year ban: St Kilda recruit Jake Carlisle.
One-year ban: St Kilda recruit Jake Carlisle. Photo: Pat Scala

Port Adelaide with Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries and the Western Bulldogs with Stewart Crameri will be in the same position as the Saints regarding non-payment to the players for this year while they banned. 

The AFL is negotiating with the banned players, Essendon and the other three clubs over paying the players, as they seek to negotiate a settlement with the players for actions they may take against the club, and potentially the AFL, without going to court.

Essendon has been fined $200,000 by WorkSafe for failing to provide a safe workplace for the players it submitted to the drug regime that culminated in the guilty finding at the CAS.

"The unique circumstance here is that, if players lost earnings, they would have a claim most likely against their former club [for those earnings]," St Kilda chief executive Matt Finnis said. "So I think what the AFL is trying to do is avoid a whole lot of legalese and see whether that can be worked out.


"I think there has been enough legal action, hasn't there? It's time for people to come together and work these things through and I am confident that will happen."

St Kilda has budgeted for Carlisle's salary, which is more than half a million dollars a year, but will also seek to have that salary component removed from their total player payments given they are not paying the player for the year.

St Kilda intends to upgrade a rookie to replace Carlisle on the senior list, which is in line with AFL provisions. The club has asked to be allowed to replace that upgraded rookie with another player on the rookie list.

The Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide have asked for permission to add players to their senior lists. The AFL has asked for feedback from the other AFL clubs this week. The clubs have mixed views on the matter and many believe it was a case of buyer beware when they traded for the players in the knowledge of the drug investigation and possible bans.

Others believe it is insignificant as the replacement players will all be significantly inferior to those they had already recruited.

Finnis said it was frustrating the club still had little clarity on what support services they could offer Carlisle even in a welfare sense.

"What we don't want to do is do something that will then come back to bite us because we tried to be proactive," Finnis said. "That's a little frustrating."

Versatile defender Sam Gilbert said he might spend more time behind the ball than in attack this year but said the club had sufficient depth to cover the loss of Carlisle for the year.

"Obviously Jake would have been handy but Sean Dempster and Sam Fisher are still in really good nick so I think we can definitely cover him this season," he said.

Gilbert endorsed Nick Riewoldt to continue as captain but said he believed Jarryn Geary was the captain-in-waiting.

"As far as Nick goes, he is the best captain I have ever seen and probably the best player I have seen ... but, in my opinion, [the heir apparent] would be Jarryn Geary. I think he has very good leadership, he speaks very well in front of the group and he speaks at the right time and I like the way he goes about his footy."

Gilbert and Finnis yesterday marched under the St Kilda banner, along with other Saints staff and members, as part of the gay pride march down Fitzroy Street.

St Kilda and Sydney will play a gay pride match in round 21.