AFL News: Players Association slam ‘double standards’ in Finlayson ban, star Swan re-signs despite monster offer


The AFL Players’ Association has come out swinging against the league for their decision to hand Port Adelaide forward a three-match suspension for using a homophobic slur.

The AFL deemed Finlayson used an “unprompted and highly offensive” remark against an unnamed Essendon player during the third quarter of the Power’s 69-point thumping of the Bombers on Friday night.

As well as missing three games, Finlayson will be required to attend a Pride In Sport training program that he will have to pay for himself.

In determining the sanction, the AFL took into account the 28-year-old apologising and owning up to his mistake the following day. The league also deemed the loss of three match payments and the requirement for Finlayson to pay his own way through the training program made a further financial penalty unnecessary.

However, the AFLPA believes the sanction is unfair, given North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson was merely fined $20,000 for calling two St Kilda players ‘c–ksuckers’ during a pre-season match, calling for an ‘urgent review of the AFL’s sanctioning framework’.

“We believe the AFL is consistently inconsistent and there are double standards in its approach to dealing with players compared to others on behavioural matters,” Players’ Association boss Paul Marsh said.

“This issue highlights the lack of clarity on how the AFL handles these situations, and we want this to be the catalyst for an urgent review of the sanctioning framework.

“If this type of conduct is a three-week sanction for a player, it should be for everyone involved in the game and this should be clear to everyone in the industry up-front, rather than the open-ended approach that is currently in place.”

Finlayson has apologised for the second time, and Port president David Koch said the comments were unacceptable and “do not align with what our club stands for”.

“We will now provide education for Jeremy and offer him and his family support during this time,” Koch said.

“We do not underestimate the seriousness of this matter and look forward to the AFL applying consistency to such cases in the future.”

Jeremy Finlayson. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Port’s AFLW coach Lauren Arnell and some players in the women’s squad are members of the LGBTQI community.

“We engaged our AFLW group really early in this process,” Port football boss Chris Davies told reporters on Wednesday.

“But I’m interested in (how) the natural reaction has gone towards the AFLW group. 

“We’re in a situation where there has been no openly gay player in the men’s competition. 

“This is a broader issue than just thinking about the AFLW players, although they are a significant part of our club. 

“Our AFLW players are supportive of the fact that Jeremy has owned up and he has taken responsibility for what he has done.”

Finlayson will miss the Power’s matches against Fremantle, Collingwood and St Kilda as a result of the ban.

(with AAP)

Star Swan re-signs despite monster rival offer

All-Australian midfielder Errol Gulden has shown his love for Sydney, rejecting a 10-year offer from a rival AFL club to stay in the red and white until at least the end of 2028.

The 21-year-old is widely considered one of the best young players in the AFL and has no doubt been on the radar of opposition teams since his 2021 debut.

He said he had decided against accepting a 10-year deal from a rival club to stay with the Swans, where he has signed a four-year contract extension.

“I think it would have probably been a 10-year deal, and that is a very long time,” Gulden said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Wednesday night, without naming the club that made the offer.

“For me to even look forward four years … I haven’t even played four years in the AFL yet, the highest level. It’s almost half my life.

“So four years was the right option for me and for the club as well as it gives them some security over the next four years and also lets me focus on my footy and not have to worry about what the future holds, while leaving a bit up to me as I will still have to perform to, hopefully, get another contract after that.

“It is up to me to have to keep performing without having 10 years locked away and, kind of, don’t worry about it.”

‘I think it was probably a ten year deal.’

Rivals came hard for Errol with a TEN year deal being offered from one club ????

????Watch #AFL360 on Ch. 504 or stream via @kayosports:

— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) April 10, 2024

He said it made his head spin to be offered such a long deal.

“To put a contract in that length is a bit crazy and I did struggle to comprehend it,” Gulden said.

He said he loved being with the Swans and wanted to get the contract sorted early in the season.

“I love being at this club,” Gulden said.

“I think with these things (contract negotiations) they take a bit of time, but it was … a goal of mine to get it done early in the season and put all my attention and focus into playing every weekend and seeing where this season can take us.

“I was pretty aware of other clubs (being interested) and was in contact with my manager, but at the end of the day I love this club so much and they have done so much for me that I couldn’t see myself playing anywhere else.”

Gulden had a breakout season in 2023, earning his first All-Australian blazer, finishing fourth in the Brownlow Medal and winning the Bob Skilton Medal as the Swans’ club champion.


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‘They’re a mess’: King’s dire Bombers declaration as damning stats revealed

AFL analyst David King has declared Essendon ‘a mess’ in the wake of their horror Gather Round loss to Port Adelaide, saying serious changes need to be made for them to become a finals contender.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, the former North Melbourne great revealed a series of damning stats that suggest the Bombers’ reasonable 2-2 start to the season is a smokescreen for bigger issues.

“I think the Bombers have so much work to do, everywhere,” he said.

“They can’t move the ball… they can’t stop the opposition moving the ball. This has been the same Essendon for years, not being able to defend opposition ball movement.”

The Bombers sit 17th for percentage of defensive 50 possession chains that lead to an inside 50, having sat second in the stat in 2023; making matters worse, they rank 15th for allowing the opposition to do the same.

According to King, only accuracy and a newfound ability to score from stoppages inside 50 are saving things from getting even more dire.

‘I just think they’re a mess.’

David King goes in on the Bombers many issues.

????Watch #AFL360 on Ch. 504 or stream via @kayosports:

— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) April 10, 2024

“They’re being saved by accuracy and scoring from forward 50 stoppages, two things that are so flighty that you can’t bank on week to week,” he said.

“Their offensive stuff has deserted them this year and I have no idea why.”

“There’s a lot of tough conversations that need to be had at the Bombers… this is a club that is not rebuilding – so what are they? Where are they?”

Sitting 12th on the ladder, the Bombers face the Western Bulldogs on Friday night, with victory to temporarily move them up to eighth.

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