Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield.
Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield. JULIAN SMITH

AFL players threaten boycott of pre-season competition

AFL: Any excitement the AFL was hoping to create by releasing the pre-season competition draw has been tempered by the threat of a player boycott.

Players are again at loggerheads with the league over the collective bargaining agreement. Players want a pay model in which they receive a percentage of the game's revenue each year.

It comes after the AFL reached a six-year, $2.5 billion broadcast rights deal to start in 2017.

Reigning Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield, speaking on behalf of the AFL Players Association, did not rule out the possibility of strike action.

The Geelong midfielder said the players would not be backing down.

"No doubt,” he said. "We have a clear direction from all 850 players we represent.”

AFLPA delegates will meet on Thursday and and Friday to discuss the situation, and the possibility of further action such as a player boycott.

"It's a chance. I'm not saying it's a definite possibility but certainly if nothing gets done then we need to look at all avenues in order to secure a deal,” he said.

"We're a fair way away. So it would be good to sit down with the boss over the next couple of days and hopefully strike out a deal that's fair for all parties.”

The AFL refused a percentage proposal five years ago when Andrew Demetriou was chief executive.

The pre-season competition will be known next year as the JLT Community Series, with all teams playing three games in four weeks.

Collingwood and Essendon will kick things off on Thursday, February 16, with Gold Coast and Brisbane to clash on Sunday, February 19, at Kombumerri Park on the Gold Coast.

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