INSTAGRAM | @dustinlmartin

AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST sport continues its incredible growth with the new AFL Rich 100 list released over the weekend, showing just how much the game’s brightest stars are taking home. 

With both the highest spectator attendance and television ratings among Australian sports, the AFL is awash with cash and its players are remunerated accordingly. Data compiled by the Herald Sun shows that last year 12 players earned seven-figure salaries. Total player payments rose from $233.9 million in 2021 to $257.6 million in 2022, pushing the average player salary above $400,000 for the first time. 

While the top 10 was reasonably predictable, particularly the top two, the big mover on the list was Buddy Franklin, who dropped from no.1 to no.100, after his benchmark 10-year deal with the Swans expired last year. The veteran superstar signed a new one-year deal for the 2023 season on the eve of last year’s grand final.

Also raising eyebrows is the presence of two West Coast Eagles players in the top 5. With just one win this season and coming off a 171-point drubbing at the hands of the Swans on the weekend, the club’s finances are likely to come under heavy scrutiny.

So, who’s making bank? Here’s a look at the league’s top 10 highest paid players, from least to most.

INSTAGRAM | @darcymoore


Darcy Moore, Collingwood

Salary: $950,000 – $1.02 million

The Collingwood skipper leads from the front and with the Magpies sitting top of the table, Moore is certainly earning his keep.

INSTAGRAM | @tom_lynch


Tom Lynch, Richmond

Salary: $950,000 – $1.02 million

Consigned to a moonboot after breaking his foot back in round 4, the Tigers’ lynchpin (pun intended) signed a massive seven-year free-agency deal in 2018 that will keep him at Punt Rd until 2025.



Jeremy Cameron, Geelong

Salary: $950,000 – $1.05 million

The Cats’ star forward is a keen fisherman, as a glance at his insta account can attest. Perhaps that’s helping him reel in over a million bucks a year.

INSTAGRAM | @christianpetracca


Christian Petracca, Melbourne

Salary: $950,000 – $1.05 million

The 2021 Norm Smith medallist fancies himself in the kitchen. On that salary he could probably pay to have a personal chef but we like his hands-on approach.



Clayton Oliver, Melbourne 

Salary: $950,000 – $1.05 million

Where Oliver goes, the ball follows. The Sherrin magnet averaged 31.6 disposals a game (17.4 contested) last year. No wonder the Demons have signed him till 2030.

INSTAGRAM | @marcus_bontempelli


Marcus Bontempelli, Western Bulldogs

Salary: $1 million – $1.1 million

‘Bont’ was instrumental in the Doggies’ premiership victory back in 2016 and has been their best player in the leaner times that have followed. At 27 he’s still one of the game’s premier midfielders, averaging an elite 7.7 clearances a game. Worth every penny.

INSTAGRAM | @tk.kelzl


Tim Kelly, West Coast Eagles

Salary: $1 million – $1.1 million

After West Coast’s 171-point shellacking at the hands of the Swans on the weekend, many will be wondering why they have two players in the top 5. If the Eagles are to dig themselves out of the doldrums, their silky midfielder will need to show he’s worth his million-plus salary.

INSTAGRAM | @jmcgovern20


Jeremy McGovern, West Coast Eagles

Salary: $1 million – $1.1 million

Backline stalwart McGovern earned a gargantuan $6 million, five-year extension with the club back in 2018. Unfortunately, injuries have hampered the four-time All-Australian’s output in recent years – he’s only played 40 games since 2020 and has turned out just three times this year.

INSTAGRAM | @natfyfe


 Nat Fyfe, Fremantle

Salary: $1,050,000 – $1.15 million

The Dockers’ two-time Brownlow medallist signed a lucrative six-year deal back in 2018. That concludes this year; however, the midfield marvel has already signed a new two-year deal that will put far less stress on club finances as he enters the twilight of his career. “This is a much different deal,” Fyfe told 7 News Perth in relation to the deal. “My heavy pay days have come and gone . . . I’m in a different space now and we’ve got so many young players coming through that deserve to be paid well. Financially at this point in my career it’s somewhat irrelevant.” Respect.

INSTAGRAM | @dustinlmartin


 Dustin Martin, Richmond

Salary: $1.25 million – $1.35 million

Who else was it going to be? Dusty has defined the Tigers’ golden era of the last decade and inherited Buddy’s mantle as the game’s most captivating star. Still sets the benchmark among players who can win a game off their own boot. Anyone who earns three Norm Smith Medals doesn’t come cheap.

Ben Jhoty covers sport and wellness for Esquire Australia.

Related: Can we finally give Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets the respect they deserve?