AFL shutdown could see veterans squeezed out

Kennedy is in the final stage of his decorated career and there was a chance the 32-year-old would have retired at the end of this season anyway.

But if the shortened – or abandoned – season leaves Kennedy fresh and wanting to play on in 2021 he’s not sure if there will be room for him, given the AFL may drastically cut list sizes next year to reduce costs.

“Who knows where the industry is going,” Kennedy told Perth radio station 6PR.

“There’s been a lot of cuts this year in terms of jobs and money.

“The years after are going to be hard to get it back up to where the AFL was.

“They might cut list sizes.

“All those things will come in [to my decision] and it just depends where the football club sees me and a lot of the guys in that situation.

“But for now we can’t think about it, that’s way too far ahead.

“We are just trying to make sure we stay healthy and do the right thing by what the government is saying.”

Veteran players at other AFL clubs could find themselves in the same position as Kennedy.

AFL coaches are bracing for inevitable job losses as part of drastic cuts in football department spending.

Football departments had exploded in size over the past decade but are set to be significantly scaled back.

AFL Coaches’ Association chief executive Mark Brayshaw told SEN on Tuesday he expected at least three years of aggressive cost-cutting as the competition deals with the COVID-19 fallout.

“There’s no question the [senior coaches] I’m speaking to are fearful that the head count will be reduced because we are going through such a catastrophic financial challenge that is inevitably going to require a lower budget across every single area of a footy club,” Brayshaw said.

“But also very few industries are escaping this as well and they’ve all got friends outside [football] that are doing it worse.


“I can’t see the circumstance where football departments aren’t going to operate off much lower soft caps for the foreseeable future and I’m certain that coaches are across that as well.”

Brayshaw said clubs’ coaching groups would adapt to the smaller budgets when football eventually resumes.

“It wasn’t so long ago that footy clubs were living off a more modest budget and everybody was reasonably content then,” he said.

“But, boy, I can see some brutal times ahead to get back to anywhere near where we were only a month ago.”


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