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Caroline Wilson ‘staggered’ by AFL pay dispute, says players are ‘out of touch’ with reality

Caroline Wilson has backed Leigh Matthews’ “savage” assessment of the AFL players in what’s turned into an ugly pay dispute with the league.

Matthews set the football world alight with comments he made on 3AW on Tuesday night, slamming the players’ proposal for a 50 per cent pay cut as “embarrassingly disappointing” and suggesting he’d lost respect for the collective group in the face of the current cash crisis.

Richmond star Jack Riewoldt fired back on Fox Footy, calling the verbal attack irresponsible.

Speaking on Sportsday, Caroline Wilson said the past few days had only further highlighted the “bubble” AFL footballers lived in.

“I’m really surprised that it’s even a negotiation,” she said on 3AW.

“Patrick Dangerfield said the players wanted clarity, well, the clarity is there’s no dough – there is no money.

“It’s not a negotiation.

“I’m staggered that the players are coming out and saying the things they are.

“I think they’re sounding even more out of touch with reality than I suspected some of them were.

“And these are good people and good leaders at their clubs, like Tom Rockliff and Patrick Dangerfield and Jack Riewoldt, who has grown into a great leader and media performer.

“But some of the things they’ve been saying show me what a bubble it is they’re living in.

“And no wonder so many struggle with life after footy.”

Caro said she was worried the players may be doing significant damage to the game long-term with this drawn out dispute.

“The public will be turned off the game by the selfishness of the players and so might the sponsors and other stakeholders, as well,” she said.

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