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Pavlich: There is a bit of work to go

AFLPA President Matthew Pavlich is hopeful negotiations will resume with the AFL after a productive meeting at the annual Directors and Delegates Conference on Friday morning.

The AFL sent executives Ray Gunston and Andrew Dillon to present to the AFLPA board and delegates in Torquay this morning, but Pavlich said they are no clearer as to why the league continues to refuse to meet and negotiate the CBA.

With the current CBA expiring in October, Pavlich said the players are eagerly awaiting the chance to negotiate with the AFL after this morning’s presentation.

“To this stage, we probably haven’t heard the reasons why we’re not negotiating — they didn’t answer those questions in the light that we would’ve liked,” Pavlich told the media this morning.

“It was a pretty robust discussion. The players got to voice their opinions, which they [the AFL] certainly appreciated.

“There is a bit of work to go, we’re ready to have a chat to them. We want to work through this together in a collaborative manner, but to this point, we haven’t come to a reason why we can’t.”

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan rejected the AFLPA’s invitation to present to the board members and delegates on the second day of the two-day conference, instead sending Gunston and Dillon.

AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh said it should be a priority for the AFL to negotiate and complete a new CBA.

“I’ve said before, the ball is in their court. We’ve put a proposal to them and it’s now up to the AFL to come back to us and put whatever proposal they want, but let’s sit down and actually work through it,” Marsh said.

“They owe it and we owe it to the game, the fans, the players and the clubs to try and get this thing done and it cane done quickly if we all cooperate, get in a room and thrash it out.”

Despite the talk of industrial action throughout the media, Pavlich said a strike is unlikely at this point in time.

“That’s the first thing everyone wants to go to and it creates the headline but we just want to sit down and have a chat. We want to work together in a partnership model that we’re aligned with the game.

“I understand that there’s noise and always interest in the word strike but that’s the absolute last resort. We’re here to negotiate in good faith and we’re looking forward to going down that path.”

When asked about industrial action, Patrick Dangerfield said it is a possibility if the AFL continue to strong-arm the players.

“At some stage, we need to get a deal done. I’m not saying we’re going to do it [strike] but I’m certainly not saying that it’s off the table,” Dangerfield said.

“It’s been difficult to negotiate; the AFL have been really difficult in coming to the table. They haven’t spoken to the PA in the past month. So to get this opportunity today was wonderful albeit without the CEO in attendance.

“There were some disappointed players who flew across the country to be here yesterday and today and we were perhaps looking for a little bit more respect than what we got.

“We’ve spoken about numerous scenarios… and obviously industrial action is at the very end of that scale.”