The game’s best forward and the shock hero of Western Bulldogs 2016 premiership were the best-paid players in the AFL last year.
Sydney’s Lance Franklin and Western Bulldog Tom Boyd are believed to be the only two players last year on over $1.2 million.
Annual salary figures released by the AFL show only six players were paid more than $1 million a year — up from four in 2016 — and none as much as Gillon McLachlan’s $1.7 million pay packet.
The highest paid players in the competition are also believed to include West Coast’s Nic Naitanui, Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury, Gold Coast’s Gary Ablett and Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe.
Brisbane’s Dayne Beams, Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood, Carlton’s Marc Murphy, Essendon’s Jobe Watson and Sydney’s Kurt Tippett hover around the $800,000 mark.
In 2012 as expansion clubs front-ended deals to new recruits eight players were paid more than $1 million.
In 2013 there were five million dollar players, in 2014 there were just two and last year there were four millionaires.
Franklin is due to earn $1.2 million a season this year and next before his nine-year deal rises to as much as $1.5 million in 2021.
Boyd is paid around $7 million for seven seasons but his first year at the Dogs was on a set wage of less than $200,000, inflating his yearly wage for the last six years.
His deal to cross from the Giants was dubbed by some critics as the worst in AFL history, but his phenomenal Grand Final performance silenced the doubters.
Of the 718 senior listed players in the competition the average salary was $309,208 compared to $302,104 in 2015.
Of those players, 95 of them made over $500,000 for the season, equating to just over five per club.
A decade ago only 23 players earned over $500,000, with one player in the 2006 season earning more than $900,000.
Players who played a senior game last year earned an average $329,210, up 1.41 per cent from $324,643 in 2015.
The release of financial figures comes as the league and player union haggle over a considerable pay rise for players under the new collective bargaining agreement.
There is speculation the players could receive a pay rise of 15 per cent or more for the 2018 season, tipping even more into the million dollar zone.
While many AFL stars can set themselves up for life with one fat contract, last year 255 players earned less than $200,000.
That figure does not include AFL rookies, who earn even less under the terms of their contract.