Losers the winners as Giants pair hit jackpot
Wounded Warrior ... Andrew Bogut ($13.5 million) is at the top of the BRW list, despite being injured this year. Photo: AP
THE too-good-to-refuse deals that lured Tom Scully and Israel Folau to AFL expansion club Greater Western Sydney have put the pair inside Australia's top 50 sports earners for this year.
That is according to BRW, which on Thursday released its annual top 50 list that featured four AFL footballers including Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett and Carlton superstar Chris Judd.
According to BRW, Ablett was the highest-earning AFL player this year when sponsorship deals were factored in, coming in at position No.25 on the list after pocketing an estimated $2 million this year.
However, BRW believed the salary Scully demanded for leaving Melbourne and joining GWS in their debut season - estimated to be $1.8 million - was the biggest any player received this season. Those earnings put him at No.34 on the list, while code-hopper Folau fits in at No.36 with his agreement that netted $1.5 million, a larger pay packet than that of Judd, who earned $1.2 million.
Folau played 13 games this season before deciding to leave GWS and the sport for good, while Scully managed 19 matches to finish fourth in the club's best and fairest - although it is widely viewed that the 21-year-old, former No.1 draft pick is yet live up to his hype.
While there were four AFL players on the list, there was more than double the amount of cricketers, with nine Australians pulling in between Michael Clarke's $5.5 million and Daniel Christian's $1.2 million.
Aside from the big bucks available in Twenty20 cricket overseas, another part of the reason why some cricketers can earn significantly more than top-flight AFL stars is the scope for cricketers to establish endorsement deals on a national or international level.
The extent of the AFL's governance means its players are more restrained from establishing third-party deals. However Craig Kelly, chief executive of player management company Elite Sports Properties, said he would like to think there will be more opportunities for AFL players to link up with national brands in the future.
''We are starting to see a few more and [Gary] Ablett and [Adam] Goodes are good examples where they have got opportunities with national brands like Powerade,'' he said. ''Ideally, you would like your athletes being used in above-the-line campaigns nationally because that promotes the sport. We've got to free that up a bit to happen. We want it to happen, but it's also got to be without rorting the system, which we've seen over the journey has sometimes been the case.''
Blue-chip NBA export Andrew Bogut is still Australia's highest sports earner, banking an estimated $13.5 million this year, after topping the list last year.
The lowest-profile sportsperson on the list is Olympic show jumper Edwina Tops-Alexander, who earned $1.5 million this year (No.38), due not only to her equestrian exploits but mostly her lucrative endorsement deals with Gucci and Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre. She was one of only two women on the list - with tennis star Samantha Stosur ($2.5 million) is on the list at No.20.
The only rugby player on the list comes in at No.46, George Smith with $1.2 million, but does not even play the sport domestically, instead earning his money in Japan and France. There were 10 golfers on the list - the most of any sport - topped by Adam Scott at No.3 with $10.5 million.