EXCLUSIVE: Perth Glory’s Travis Dodd has taken a cheeky swipe at his former club Adelaide united saying the Reds applied an “AFL” mentality when it came to contract negotiations.
Dodd, 31, played his part in Glory’s impressive 1-0 victory over Adelaide in Perth on Sunday.
The match was the attacking midfielder’s first competitive game following his switch from the Reds in the off-season.
And with some questioning the age of the Glory squad brought together by coach Ian Ferguson, Dodd has sought to clarify what he sees as an AFL view of footballers who’ve celebrated their 30th birthday.
“Unfortunately age is an AFL mentality in this country,” he told au.fourfourtwo.com.
“I know certainly in Adelaide … it seems like once you hit the age of 30 you’re over the hill and can’t play anymore.
“I was talking to the [Adelaide] chairman Greg Griffin at the end of the season and certainly when offering contracts that’s definitely a factor in offering deals.
“And he [Griffin] readily admitted it’s an AFL mentality.”
In AFL players often retire earlier than footballers. Geelong’s grand final winner Cameron Ling was one of the latest to call time on his career aged 30.
No doubt AFL is a gruelling sport but as Dodd pointed out, football is a different kind of game.
He argued that 30-something footballers are often able to change their game as they get older enabling them to apply their experience to read games better to compensate for the physical side of their games.
And with advances in recovery techniques Dodd said there was no reason why players can’t keep playing well into their 30s if they keep looking after their bodies.
And as such, longer term deals shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.
“I think we need to be careful when making comparisons,” he added. “You do become more mature as a player and you read the game a lot better than years earlier.
“Certainly you’re using the brain a lot more, and not reliant so much on the legs… it’s not the right approach to take. It’s a completely different game and a much better game.
"Age is just a number," he said. "Look at Patrick [Zwaanswijk] from Central Coast. He’s 36-years-old and doesn’t look a day over 25. Look how good he plays.
“Look at [Ryan] Giggs overseas? You look at some players in Europe playing till their late 30s.”
However away from the issue Dodd, like many, is excited by how the new A-League season is panning out.
The opening round attracted an aggregate of almost 80,000 fans for the five games with Perth drawing almost 10,000 to nib Stadium.
Victory and Sydney however dominated the crowds with just over 40,000 for Saturday night's "Big Blue" in Melbourne.
Media coverage has been impressive justifying the later October kick-off in order to give the league, as FFA argued, “clear air space” in the media.
“It’s like a new beginning,” the Glory man added.
“The excitement’s there, everybody’s talking about it [the Hyundai A-League] with no distractions from other codes.”