Hawks back Demons aid

Hawthorn will push for hapless Melbourne to receive an enlarged salary cap next season after witnessing the Demons’ despair first-hand on Sunday at the MCG.

Club president Andrew Newbold said the Hawks’ 95-point round 10 demolition of the Demons was bad for football and had proved a dispiriting experience even for Hawthorn fans.

”No one wants to see games like the one on Sunday where the game itself is devoid of atmosphere,” Newbold said. ”We don’t want games like that where you get 28 and a bit thousand turning up, almost all of them Hawthorn supporters and no real contest.”

Newbold’s call came shortly after Tuesday’s meeting of the 18 club presidents in which Sydney chairman Richard Colless clashed with Collingwood president Eddie McGuire over the contentious cost-of-living allowance.

While Colless expressed his disappointment that some powerful Victorian clubs had ”manipulated” the Melbourne media into opposing the extra salary cap money for the Swans and the Giants, Newbold communicated his view to Melbourne president Don McLardy before the meeting that the Demons desperately required an expanded salary cap. He said the Western Bulldogs should also be a candidate next season.

”We’ll be backing that as a club,” Newbold said. ”I think it’s more significant in the end than priority picks because priority picks get taken by other clubs down the track. This way the struggling clubs can get to keep their players.

”I’m talking particularly about the Melbourne clubs which I think have been, not neglected, but perhaps overlooked when you look at the expansion clubs. We

understand why it’s happened, but we think there needs to be a correction in our heartland.”

Newbold’s comments followed McGuire’s suggestion last week that Melbourne and the Bulldogs potentially receive a salary cap next season of 110 per cent ”to get into the free-agency market”.

”If they get an extra $2 million, for example,” McGuire said, ”they could go and get four blokes at $500,000. You would go from being a cellar-dweller to being a pretty good side pretty quickly.”

With Melbourne reportedly struggling to retain players during its on and off-field crisis, Newbold added: ”I can’t speak for Eddie but I don’t think he wants to turn up on the Queen’s Birthday and see his team completely demolish Melbourne.”

Colless was reported to have infuriated McGuire when he spoke of his disappointment that after the clubs had met early this year to look at closing the gap between rich and poor clubs the debate had been hijacked by the issue of the close to $1 million Sydney receives on top of its total player payments for cost of living.

The outgoing Sydney chairman reportedly called the response from some powerful clubs ”pathetic” in focusing on the 10 per cent of extra money for Sydney, which is under review by the AFL. McGuire is understood to have been unimpressed at Colless’ comments.

The league in turn stressed it was reviewing the extra money for Sydney and GWS with no preconceived views. The issue was again placed on the table last year after the Swans won the flag and then signed high-priced Kurt Tippett.

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