It is not necessarily a trend, but in recent times, key AFL players have sought longer contract terms.
Job security in the AFL is something of an oxymoron, as a long-term deal is elusive and hinges on a player’s age, results, and importantly, the ability to maintain a level of fitness that leaves no room for knee injuries, surgeries, and other issues that prevent a player from fulfilling his end of the bargain.
The latest player to chase the job security of a lengthy contract is Collingwood Magpies ruckman Brodie Grundy.
Grundy ticks the box for age. He is just 25 and will turn 26 during the early part of the Toyota 2020 AFL Premiership competition.
His results are the kinds that persuade AFL clubs to sign off on long deals. He was an AFL Rising Star nominee in 2013. He has been voted fairest and best by his club in 2018 and 2019.
Since 2015, Grundy has mostly avoided missing much time on the ground.
Grundy’s productivity has evolving in the right direction and the past two seasons have found him above 500 disposals. He attracted 23 Brownlow votes last season.
Collingwood naturally sought to keep Grundy on a shorter-term contract, but with 132 games across seven seasons, the Pies have to act in order to prevent his testing free agency when he comes off contract at the end of 2020.
He would be in the restricted free-agency category and waiting too long might find Richmond, which always seems to have space under the salary cap, or cashed up Gold Coast, to establish an MSRP for Grundy that exceeds what he is seeking from his club.
Grundy, interestingly, played basketball in his formative years before switching to footy in 2010.
Just a reminder to the other AFL clubs to avoid challenging Collingwood to a pick-up basketball game, as between Grundy and Mason Cox, the Pies would have 40 percent of an impressive basketball lineup set to go.