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Players aware of ‘tricky’ financial situation; Wright

East Perth midfielder Stanley Wright says WAFL clubs will do everything they can to support players through the 2020 season, even if it means they can’t be paid for matches due to the financial strain of COVID-19.

The 22-year-old, who has played 42 games for the Royals since his debut in 2017 told Sports Drive on Tuesday he was uncertain if player wages would be affected by the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s a tricky one as a player, you play because you love the game and it’s a huge honour to put on the jumper at WAFL league level,” he said.

“You have in your mind that it’s still seen as a semi-professional competition, so for all the hard work and dedication you put in you would like to see a little bit of reward.”

Wright’s comments come after current West Perth President and former chairman of the WA Football Commission Neale Fong flagged the possibility of players playing for free in a likely shortened 2020 WAFL season.

“I definitely do understand where Mr Fong is coming from, it’s going to be tricky, it’s sort of case by case for each player I think.” Wright said.

The competition is facing a severe financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the WAFC already announcing that they will slash funding to clubs by 50% by June 1st, should WAFL fail to return by that date.

Dunsborough product Wright was willing to forgo pay for a shortened season, in the worst-case scenario for the league.

“For myself personally I would play for no money, because of the love I do have for the footy club and I understand the huge financial ramifications it has had and will have on the club,” he said.

“For some people they might not, but I would play for no money. If you can get reimbursed in some other way, I know the clubs will do that. It doesn’t have to be financially, but the clubs do look after the players pretty well,”

“It’s a really tough one, it’s just going to be interesting to see what happens.”

Wright is housemates with current West Coast Eagles player Josh Rotham, saying the current time in isolation has allowed the two to team up to complete their respective training programs.

“It helps you a bit, it definitely does motivate you having him (Rotham) in the house and it helps you with some really good habits, with what it’s like to be a professional athlete,” Wright said.

“It’s good with this all happening we get to spend a bit more time together, normally I work during the day and train at night, he trains in the morning so I don’t see him at all throughout the day, he’s like a brother.”

The WAFL season isn’t scheduled to resume until June 1st at the earliest, with a shortened season likely with all teams expected to play each other once in a nine game home and away campaign.

A decision on the direction of the season is set to be made in the coming weeks.

IMAGE: The West Australian.


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