AFL millionaires drop from eight to five
AFL millionaires drop from eight to five

The AFL's millionaires club became more exclusive last year, with the number of players on seven-figure deals dropping from eight to five.

Gold Coast's Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett, star Sydney recruit Kurt Tippett, big-name Greater Western Sydney signing Tom Scully and St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt are understood to have earned more than $1 million last season.

But immediately underneath them, there was a dramatic increase in players earning high six-figure salaries as total payments kept growing.

The 18 clubs paid a gross total of $181,560,623 to their players, an increase of 4.5 per cent from 2012.

The number of players earning between $600,000 and up to $1 million doubled - from 18 in 2012 to 36 last season.

The average salary for a listed player last year was $265,179, up from $251,559 the year before.

It is understood the number of million dollar-plus players fell because of front-ended contracts and other salary cap factors.

Ablett and Scully are obvious candidates because they were star recruits for the two expansion clubs.

Tippett's boom deal with the Swans also pushed him into the top bracket.

Riewoldt is most likely in the seven-figure club because he is St Kilda's biggest name and the only player on their list who could command such a high salary.

Player payments have skyrocketed over the past decade.

In 2004, gross payments were $108,645,462. The average wage was $185,656 and no player earned more than $900,000.

The West Australian

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