A FORMER AFL club football boss-turned-Norwood chief executive says the financial compensation for state league teams losing players to the top level should be doubled.
James Fantasia was general manager of football operations at the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn, as well as Adelaide's national recruiting manager, so he has plenty of perspective on the topic.
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The AFL ruled clubs must pay a fixed compensatory figure of $10,000 to second-tier clubs if they recruit a contracted player from them in the pre-season supplemental selection period.
That number climbs to $15,000 for a mid-season draftee.
However, Fantasia told AFL.com.au neither was enough to compensate for losing a footballer a club had invested in and developed.
Norwood is one of four clubs eligible for compensation, with Essendon recruiting the Redlegs' reserves best and fairest winner from last year, 204cm ruckman Henry Crauford.
The others are SANFL rival South Adelaide (Hawthorn's Keegan Brooksby) and VFL clubs Coburg (Carlton's Callum Moore) and Footscray, where new Eagle and ex-Cat Jamaine Jones had signed for season 2020.
The Blues paid Coburg last week, while South Adelaide is awaiting payment from the Hawks, who told AFL.com.au on Thursday they had paid but it hadn't been processed yet.
South Adelaide requested the AFL to become involved to expedite the process, although there isn't a specific deadline and it's more of a 'good faith' arrangement.
It's understood SSP signees wouldn't be able to play for their AFL club until the compensation is settled, and the global coronavirus pandemic has put a significant squeeze on everyone's finances.
Norwood is yet to invoice Essendon but will seek the $10,000, Fantasia said.
"We're not concerned (about how quickly it's paid) but we want to talk about the amount – it should be more than that," Fantasia said.
"We invested in this lad (Crauford), to bring him out from a country setting, with the aim to try and help him with his own footy career.
"He hasn't quite made it to AFL footy yet but he won our best and fairest in the reserves and he's worth a lot more to us. I think it should be around $20,000."
SANFL general manager of football Matt Duldig confirmed his competition was considering options before the COVID-19 crisis to help member clubs that lost players in the SSP to AFL teams.
Among them was salary cap relief, although the "vast majority" of SANFL players have since agreed to compete without pay this year.
South Adelaide's been pillaged more than any other state league club in the two SSPs and last year's mid-season draft: Hayden McLean and Michael Knoll (Sydney) and Brooksby (West Coast then Hawthorn).
The potential of reduced list sizes in the AFL from next year means recruiting from state league clubs is only set to increase.
Situations like this are why Fantasia is adamant the compensation needs to be "fair and reasonable".
"In saying that, you take what you get," he said.
"We're rapt for the kid (Crauford) and it's a great opportunity for him.
"They want us to keep finding and developing them but don't kill the golden goose – don't make it hard for us. They should be supporting us."