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Six million-dollar men as player salaries go up again

Pre-season overhaul on the cards, sick Cat ready, more Nat Edwards and Matt Thompson with all the latest news

ONLY six AFL players earned more than $1 million in 2018.

Richmond's Dustin Martin, Fremantle's Nathan Fyfe, Sydney's Lance Franklin, Tom Lynch (Gold Coast in 2018), GWS' Jeremy Cameron and Western Bulldogs' Tom Boyd are believed to be the six. 

West Coast's Nic Naitanui is likely to have earned more than $900,000, and Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury, while not earning as much as previous seasons, would also have been around this range. 

Three of the six millionaires earned between $1.2-$1.3 million on 2018 accounts, according to official figures to be released by the AFL in its 2018 Annual Report.

The 2018 seven-figure club dropped in number from nine in 2017, and is the same size as in 2016. There were four millionaire wage earners in 2015. 

The average player wage last season was $362,471, an increase of $10,000 on the previous year.

West Coast's Jeremy McGovern will join the millionaires in 2019, having last year signed the competition's second-biggest deal behind Martin. 

Jeremy McGovern is now among the AFL's best-paid players. Picture: AFL Photos

Former Fremantle player Lachie Neale's new deal with Brisbane, depending on how it is structured, could also have him on significant money in 2019. 

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On the 2018 financial records, 31 players earned more than $800,000, up from 29 in 2017. 

The 18 clubs paid a total of $240.4 million, before deductions which incorporated injury allowances, finals incentives and veterans' list payments.

Dayne Beams (Brisbane-listed last year), Carlton's Patrick Cripps and Marc Murphy, Geelong pair Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, Sydney's Josh Kennedy and West Coast's Josh Kennedy, and Jack Steven (St Kilda), would have been among the highest paid players last year.

Steven May (on Gold Coast's books in 2018), Bryce Gibbs and Rory Sloane (Adelaide), Adam Treloar (Collingwood), Robbie Gray (Port Adelaide), Trent Cotchin, Alex Rance and Jack Riewoldt (Richmond), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs), Luke Parker (Sydney), Hawthorn's Jarryd Roughead, Ben Brown (North Melbourne) and Melbourne's Jake Lever and Jesse Hogan (now at Fremantle) also had sizeable deals in 2018. 

After eight seasons with Gold Coast, Lynch transferred to Richmond last October. He will not be one of the millionaires in 2019.

1990-2018 Summary of AFL Player Earnings
$ 1990* 2000* 2010* 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
$0-$60,000 442 87 9 2 1 0 1 1
$60,001-$100,000 88 132 67 90 65 70 38 24
$100,001-$200,000 8 237 153 198 188 185 152 159
$200,001-$300,000 - 80 158 147 153 131 140 136
$300,001-$400,000 - 22 91 128 131 148 148 145
$400,001-$500,000 - 8 45 76 85 89 89 88
$500,001-$600,000 - - 9 32 44 40 53 49
$600,001-$700,000 - 2 8 26 21 23 34 46
$700,001-$800,000 - - 2 10 21 18 23 24
$800,001-$900,000 - - 2 6 3 5 9 15
$900,001-$1,000,000 - - 4 2 2 3 11 10
$1,000,001-$1,100,000 - - - 2 2 2 4 2
$1,100,001-$1,200,000 - - - - - 2 3 1
$1,200,001+ - - - - 2 2 2 3
TOTAL 538 568 548 719 718 718 707 703
1998-2018 AFL Total Player Earnings
  1998 2008 2016 2017 2018 % change '17-'18
GROSS PLAYER PAYMENTS ($) 62,186,000 128,847,606 204,305,032 231,354,739 240,417,657 3.92%
Deductions  
Finals/Relocation & Living & other Allowances 1,093,000 2,137,838 2,285,343 3,016,111 3,189,413 5.75%
Cost of Living and Expansion Allowances 991,000 728,263 1,691,090 0 0  
Veterans' allowance N/A 4,843,849 6,611,661 348,027 0 -100.00%
Other deductions - 2,379,364 4,334,399 1,883,819 3,492,466 85.39%
Underspend from previous years - - 764,531 919,286 1,540,436 67.57%
Total deductions 2,084,000 10,089,314 15,687,024 6,167,244 8,222,315 33.32%
   
PLAYER PAYMENTS
LESS DEDUCTIONS
60,102,000 118,758,292 188,618,008 225,187,495 232,195,342 3.11%
Injury Allowance 8,176,000 5,684,600 3,452,129 3,002,107 5,902,635 96.62%
GROSS PLAYER PAYMENTS
LESS INJURY ALLOWANCE
51,926,000 113,073,692 185,165,879 222,185,388 226,292,708 1.85%
   
TPP LIMIT 52,400,000 118,900,000 186,641,640 224,010,504 226,698,624 1.20%
Gross Player Payments
Less Injury Allowance
51,926,000 113,073,692 185,165,879 222,185,388 226,292,708 1.85%
Margin/(Excess) 474,000 5,826,308 1,475,761 1,825,116 405,916 -77.76%
   
Additional Services Agreements (ASA's) N/A 7,440,463 19,257,040 19,864,805  
Average Gross Player Earnings
(including ASA's)**
$101,957 Listed $213,953 Listed $309208 Listed $352,470 Listed $362,471  
    Played $233,281 Played $329,210 Played $379,697 Played $390,202  

** Average Gross Player Earnings ("AGPE") The AGPE is a result of the payments (GPP plus ASA's) made to Primary Listed and Pre-Season Nominated Rookies only (grouped as "Primary Listed").