TWO of the Riverina's most accomplished footballers have declared they would play for nothing in a bid to get football underway this season.
Two-time Jim Quinn Medallist, Guy Orton, and the region's premier ruckman, Jacob Olsson, are both on board with the proposed cuts to the salary cap this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Orton and Olsson both threw their support behind the AFL's nationwide salary cap reduction, announced last Friday, that is set to help clubs bare the brunt of coronavirus over the next two seasons.
Orton, a former coach of both Griffith and the Riverina League representative team, drew plenty of attention when he joined Farrer League club Coleambally over the off-season as the Blues' prized signing.
Orton threw his support behind any cuts to player payments this year.
"I'm definitely on board. If its going to help out the clubs in anyway, I reckon it's a no brainer," Orton said.
"You play footy for the enjoyment of it, the payment is just a bonus really. That's how I look at it anyway.
"If the season started up on Saturday and they said you're not going to get paid for the whole year, I'd rather be playing footy."
The AFL announced the salary cap for 2020 would be cut in half in the first instance, then a further pro rata reduction. It is likely to see the cap for both Riverina and Farrer Leagues slashed from $95,000 to $23,750 should a one-round half season go ahead.
Orton is on board with that.
"If we don't do that now, our kids and later on it might not be the same and they won't get the opportunities we got," he said.
"It's just a bonus. For someone like myself to say you get paid to play footy, and you've got a full-time job, it's pretty good. I'd rather be playing footy and not getting paid, than getting paid and the clubs are not doing too well."
Olsson, a five-time best and fairest winner at Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong, is a strong supporter of cutting player payments.
"I've always been a massive advocate that player payments have got out of control. I reckon everyone asks for too much and it's not about the money, it should be about playing and playing at the highest standard," Olsson said.
Olsson would have no issue with the proposed cuts for the upcoming season, should it go ahead.
"Shit no. I'd play for nothing as it is...and I've told Ganmain that," he said.
"It's about the love of the sport and about enjoying your footy as well. It might be a bit of a wake up call as to maybe that's the way it should be going forward.
"Anything to get at least a one-round season in."