AFL, players to find common ground: Davis

GWS' Phil Davis (l) says the players' association and the AFL will work for the good of the game.
GWS' Phil Davis (l) says the players' association and the AFL will work for the good of the game.

AFL Players' Association vice-president Phil Davis expects upcoming negotiations with the AFL on major issues to result in the best outcome for the code, even though the two parties will start from very different positions.

Hot topics such as wages and list sizes are expected to be raised, with a review of the collective-bargaining agreement for the next two years on the table in discussions between the organisations.

Prior to the coronavirus shutdown, talks over player pay cuts generated some heated debate before an agreement was finally reached.

Player salaries have been reduced by 50 per cent for the remainder of the season and there are suggestions the AFL may look for another cut for 2021.

GWS key back and former co-captain Davis said the pay talks earlier in the year showed the two bodies are capable of putting aside their differences and reaching an agreement for the good of the code.

"A good outcome was reached for all parties, so that the game could keep going and keep the industry afloat," Davis told AAP.

"There's more than likely going to be different starting points, as most negotiations have.

"However there's a history of the AFL and AFL Players' Association negotiating in good faith and getting the outcome that is best for the whole industry.

"I expect that to be the same case with all those things, whether it be player list sizes, salary caps or other aspects of players' contracts."

Another hot topic in the lead up to the resumption of the season has been whether the AFL should look to tweak the rules in an attempt to make the game a better spectacle, as the NRL has done.

"Sometimes if there's a thing the AFL is chasing, you have to have a leap of faith and be a little bit bulletproof while the feedback comes, which is always a challenge," Davis said.

"It's always a tough argument between the purest nature of the game and how much we want to tinker with the rules, versus what is best for the audience at home.

"'That's an area that probably needs to have some more exploration before we start charging down a certain path."

Australian Associated Press