Surprisingly, NOT! today's Sunday Age contains an article about Shane Woewodin's move to Collingwood. Anyway, I generally echo Jake Niall's assessment of the fallout from Woewodin's move to Eddiewood.
This was the exchange that defined the new marketplace, as the Trent Croad trade had 12 months earlier. A Brownlow medallist was packed off to Collingwood, largely because his management had extracted an exceptional deal from Melbourne in the middle of the 2001 season. Woewodin, his stocks raised by both the Brownlow and the desire of the Melbourne administration to retain a marquee name (the iconic Jeff Farmer defected to Fremantle at the end of 2001), signed a three-year contract that would net about $500,000 in 2003 and a similar amount next year. Melbourne reasoned that it could no longer afford to pay "franchise player" dollars to a midfielder who did not make the top 10 in its best and fairest. The club needed to re-sign Adem Yze and Travis Johnstone and remain under the salary cap. It also wanted some breathing space for the future. Woewodin, as the highest paid player at the club, was the obvious, if highly inflammable, call. Collingwood, too, was not in a position to pay Woewodin $500,000. Hence, a deal was reached in which Woewodin's contract was extended by a year and he agreed to take around $1.2 million over three seasons, instead of $1 million over two. The Demons agreed to pay about $80,000 in two of those seasons and $60-80,000 in a third year - reducing the Pies' exposure. The upshot is that both parties would be happy but, at this stage, the Demons have less to be concerned about than the Woods who, while gaining a useful midfield option, have to pay a good-average on-baller $300,000-plus in 2004 and 2005. Collingwood's midfield can be one-paced and "Woey" does not burn grass.
I agree Woewodin, as a good-average on-baller, was/is overpaid. Melbourne received Chris Heffernan in the deal and he's a better player than Woewodin who was lucky to win the 2000 Brownlow and yet was towelled up by Heffernan in the 2000 Grand Final. Until he went off, that is.
Heffernan comes at a much lesser cost than Woewodin and allowed the Demons to retain Travis Johnstone and Adem Yze in the face of significant salary cap pressure. Melbourne could ill afford to lose either of these two potential guns.
Just between you, me and the Internet, I recently heard Yze is filthy with the Demons that he didn't win last year's best and fairest, the Bluey Truscott Medal, and that the votes were finagled to make sure Coleman Medalist, David Neitz, won the award. In my opinion Yze was our best player last year with Travis Johnstone a close second. As a deserved 3rd and 4th respectively in last year's Brownlow would attest.
The upshot is that while it�s sad to lose a popular team personality, it�s sadder still to go for 39 years without a premiership. Melbourne was forced by a combination of circumstances to make a difficult decision. One they feel was in the best interests of premiership pursuit.
So, disregarding Melbourne�s form this year, which is another story, I�m not critical that he�s now at Collingwood.
Unfortunately the online edition doesn't contain the attendant time-line that details events from October 24 last year through to June 4 this year. Here�s a brief (paraphrased) summary....
Liam Pickering (Oct 26) - "He�s basically been told he�s not wanted."
Neil Balme (Oct 28) - "I don�t think Melbourne discussed it with Woewodin."
Neil Daniher (Oct 29) - "Throughout the negotiations we never really got to an agreement on the reconstructed contract."
Mick Malthouse (Oct 30) - "We thought it may have been a smokescreen."
Shane Woewodin (Nov 12) - "I�m filthy."
Shane Woewodin (Nov 13) - "My relationship is sour."
Shane Woewodin (Feb 6) - "I was disappointed and shocked."
Shane Woewodin (May 19) - "Hopefully we�ll spank them."
Shane Woewodin (Mar 26) - "I accepted the pay cut. It wasn�t good enough."
So, even though he'd been in protracted and incomplete contract negotiations, the impression given is that Spanky Woewodin was somehow surprised to be contacted while on holiday in Bali. One would seem to contradict the other. And even more surprised that he was going to be traded to Collingwood!
And anyway, it's not how I hear events unfolded.
Last August I was a passive party to a conversation between a friend of mine and a good friend of his who�s a player manager from Perth. The manager stated in no uncertain terms that Woewodin was going to be traded to West Coast in a direct swap for David Wirrpunda. A deal in which ALL parties were in agreement. So, I assume Woewodin was one of those parties. It was also revealed that Melbourne had been hawking Woewodin around for some time.
About a month later I asked my friend if the deal was still on and he told me he�d just got off the phone to the manager and that the deal was still on. At that point (Middle September) I posted it as a rumour on the Demonland Message Boards. Sparking a fairly robust debate, I might add.
During early October two things happened to cruel the deal. First West Coast got cold feet because they felt they were going to get dudded. Their final decision was based on the conclusion that a fit Wirrpunda was twice the player that Woewodin was and they were prepared to take the risk with Wirrpunda�s suspect fitness. Second, Woewodin decided he would prefer to stay in Melbourne with his girlfriend who was not keen to leave Melbourne. At this point he told Melbourne he would like to reconsider his proposed move to Perth and that he�d like to stay in Football Central.
The Demons went away to consider their position mindful of the need to resign Yze, Johnstone and maybe Steven Powell (Who wanted too much and ended up at StKilda). I�m told that it was about now that Melbourne footy manager, Danny Corcoran, worried that they�d be stuck with Woewodin�s hefty paycheque, "informally" contacted good friend and Collingwood recruiting manager Noel Judkins about a possible deal. Without committing himself it�s suggested Judkins thought a deal might be done.
Melbourne�s conclusion was that, no, they�d done their sums and Woewodin was out. He was told this just before the Best & Fairest count. A night on which it was regularly reported "Jeez! Woey looked unhappy/sad/pissed off at the Bluey." The rest, as they say, is history.
So, whenever you hear how Woewodin's filthy that Melbourne revealed his contract details (In my opinion a good precedent for releasing ALL player's contract details), read filthy that Melbourne don't rate him. Whenever it�s reported Woewodin was surprised to be traded to Collingwood, just pretend you read it on the Jayson Blair Memorial Page in the New York Times. And tomorrow if you're watching Collingwood versus Melbourne just remember, its the Collingwood fans who invented the nickname "Woewoeful"