A record 19 AFL players earned more than $1 million last year thanks to the league’s titanic new pay deal – up from 12 footballers a season earlier and including eight who made $1.2 million-plus.
Richmond’s triple-Norm Smith medallist Dustin Martin, the Dockers’ dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe and West Coast’s four-time All-Australian defender Jeremy McGovern are widely regarded as last year’s top earners.
The league and AFL Players’ Association signed off on a five-year, $2.2 billion collective bargaining agreement in September, delivering among other benefits an instant 10 per cent pay boost for men’s players and 29 per cent for women.
Sixty-three AFL footballers raked in at least $800,000 in 2023, according to the AFL’s total player payment figures, with a 37 per cent increase across the life of the CBA, so the millionaire ranks are set to spike well beyond 50.
The AFLPA is strongly against making players’ wages public, unlike many sports leagues overseas, but this masthead compiled a group of potential millionaires from conversations with football sources familiar with player contracts but not authorised to speak publicly because of confidentiality.
Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli, Demons Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver, Geelong forward Jeremy Cameron, Richmond powerhouse Tom Lynch, Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps, Collingwood counterpart Darcy Moore and new Sydney ruckman Brodie Grundy were among the names.
The Giants have five contenders to feature in this tier, although it is highly unlikely they all received that much last season. Toby Greene, Stephen Coniglio, Nick Haynes, Josh Kelly and Lachie Whitfield are the possibles.
West Coast’s reigning club champion Tim Kelly is also on the list due to the structuring of his contract, even though those sources say he will make less than $1 million per season across his six-year deal, along with teammate Andrew Gaff.
Hawthorn captain James Sicily is another potential millionaire from last year.