Hawthorn star Shaun Burgoyne is resigned to being paid less if he continues his AFL career.
The league’s salary cap means the Hawks are far from the first successful club to pay players less than what they are worth on the trade market.
Burgoyne says it is a simple choice – money or success – and for the four-time premiership player, it is a no-brainer.
“We’re always taking less,” he said.
“You look at the players on our list, they could all go somewhere else and earn a lot more money.
“You have to decide whether you want money or whether you want success.
“If you want success, you have to take less – that’s just the facts.
“We have a pretty good group who are pretty selfless and all understand where it’s at in terms of money.”
Burgoyne is among the Hawks’ quartet of veterans in their 30s who all appear likely to keep playing beyond this season.
Sam Mitchell, who will play his 300th game this season, has already re-signed.
Coach Alastair Clarkson has indicated captain Luke Hodge will play on, while Burgoyne and defender Josh Gibson also maintain good form.
“We’re all playing good-enough footy and probably we’ll all go on, but you just have to wait and see how things work out,” Burgoyne said.
“Although we all want to play forever, you also have to have one eye on the future.
“You want to leave the club in a good state as well.”
Burgoyne wanted to keep playing, but said the final decision would probably wait until after this season.
The utility added that given he was 33, it was impossible to plan too far ahead with his football.
“Definitely, if you’re playing good footy and you’re feeling alright, you’re forever retired, so you have to make it last while you can,” he said.
“At our age, you’re only one injury away from retiring – that’s how fickle it is with the body.
“At the end of the year, you have to sit down and have a honest conversation with yourself about how you feel (and) motivating factors to go on.
“But at the moment, I seem to be going alright.”
Burgoyne was speaking at the second launch of Many Stories, One Goal, which is a set of guidelines for supporting indigenous players.
One of its targets is to prolong indigenous players’ careers and, at 311 games, Burgoyne is among five to have reached the 300 milestone.
“Whether you’re drafted to a team that’s on the bottom of the ladder or the top of the ladder, hopefully you can get that support you need and it can be very consistent across the league,” Burgoyne said.