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  • Writer's pictureSportFM

WAFL players deserve to be paid: Notte

Swan Districts skipper Tony Notte hopes that players can still be paid should a WAFL season occur in 2020, as uncertainty continues around the viability of community and state football this year.

With the SANFL taking the extraordinary step of having all players, coaches, umpires and club staff forgo salaries to make the competition a possibility, the former Eagle and three time Swans club champion was hopeful that such measures wouldn’t be required in the WAFL.

“Earlier in the year we got told by Swan Districts that they will continue to pay players,” Notte told Sports Drive on Tuesday.

“The club has done a great job; they have kept all the staff on at the club as well. I think we are in a pretty good position at the moment, but I can’t speak for other WAFL clubs and their players.”

The 30-year-old believes players deserve to be rewarded financially for the time and effort they put in to their football at a semi-professional level.

“It’s not an easy gig playing WAFL footy. If you want to play it at a high level there is so much the players have to sacrifice to be there and the hours they put in,” Notte said.

“It would be a little bit disheartening for players to give that up (match day payments). They’re not just rocking up once or twice a week to train and play footy. It is a part time job. There is a lot of work that goes in to it and a lot of sacrifice away from family and friends. I hope it doesn’t get to that point and they don’t have to.”

The WA Football Commission confirmed on Tuesday that West Coast and Fremantle players wouldn’t play in the 2020 WAFL competition, after the AFL stopped all AFL listed players from partaking in state-based competitions this year.

Notte said he wasn’t surprised by the move considering the unique circumstances this year created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I thought that might be the case, particularly with how the AFL is going about things now. It’s not much of a shock,” he said.

“We played well against West Coast last year and beat them twice. So now we will have to find a way to beat someone else.”

Should crowds be allowed in 2020, Notte believes the removal of the AFL influence on the competition could inspire some fans to return to the WAFL.

“I think this time away from footy, people are learning to appreciate things more. One of those things people speak about when I chat to them is that they can’t wait to go to the footy,” he said.

“They can’t wait to sit on the hill somewhere nice and sunny and watch some footy. Once this has all cleared and we can get some people in to the grounds I think we will see some really good numbers at games.”

Notte hasn’t missed a WAFL match since 2011, having played 162 consecutive games as well as six state games for Western Australia in that time.

The all time record for most consecutive games played belongs to former Swan Districts player Joel Cornelius, who played 219 games between 1995 and 2006.


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