Scott Pendlebury said players were prepared for any public backlash about a  strike
Scott Pendlebury said players were prepared for any public backlash about a strike BEN MACMAHON

Pendlebury flags pre-season player boycott

AFL: Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury says he would go on strike in the pre-season to help players secure a set percentage of AFL revenue.

Pendlebury says players are open to providing more media access, in line with American sports, to help fuel the game's growth as part of the latest pay talks.

The AFL is adamant the players will be financially rewarded in the next collective bargaining agreement, but negotiations continue to drag on.

Pendlebury, 29, said the players would not hesitate to sit out matches, or parts of games, in the pre-season series, to help send a strong message.

"I have no qualms about sitting down in the first quarter, not at all," Pendlebury said in a new Collingwood podcast.

"You model yourself off what the best businesses in the world have done, and sporting leagues.

"The NBA has had two lockouts and played a 50-game season instead of an 82-game season to prove a point that, as players, we need to be more respected than what they felt they were.

"We listen to Marshy (AFL PA CEO Paul Marsh), we take his advice. If he comes to this football club, and he said 'Scott, in order to get this deal moving, we need you to sit out the first quarter', (then I would strike).

"And Jobe Watson has already put it on the agenda a few years ago. If Jobe's going to, and he is one of the most respected figures in the game, (then I would)."

Pendlebury said the players would not shy away from their set percentage plan in the event of a stand-off with the league.


Scott Pendlebury of the Magpies (left) and Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats contest during the round 9 AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and Geelong Cats at the MCG in Melbourne, Saturday, May 21, 2016. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Scott Pendlebury tackles fellow superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield JULIAN SMITH

Negotiations are set to ramp up in coming weeks.

"As the game grows, key stakeholders need to grow with it, so it's something we are going to fight for," Pendlebury said.

"I don't think the players are going to blink, either. If the AFL is not going to blink, the players won't blink.

"Who knows what will happen when the ball goes up in the first NAB Cup (now JLT Community Series) game."

A five-time best-and-fairest winner and five-time All-Australian, Pendlebury said the players were prepared for any public backlash about a player strike, if it occurred.

Marsh this week said a strike was unlikely, but remained a live option.

But Pendlebury said the players would do whatever they considered necessary.

"They (fans) will be spewing (about a strike or sit-down) and rightly so," he said.

"But they will understand when the media print the story and print all the facts, they will read about it and educate themselves and understand it's all for a bigger product.

"And they (fans) will enjoy the game in the next season when the game is so much better when they get so much more player access."

Pendlebury also opened up on the prospect of taking on former premiership teammate Travis Cloke in Round 1 against the Western Bulldogs.

"I think it will weirder for him than it will be for us because he is coming up against his old side and he is coming up against 22 guys that he knows," Pendlebury said.

The brilliant Magpies midfielder said there would probably be some on-field banter with Cloke.

"Yeah there will be but it will be funny if Trav tries to bite back to see if he gets it right," he said, laughing.

Pendlebury said there was no bad blood.

"Trav wanted to go, the club was happy to facilitate a trade and it's been great for him to get to the Bulldogs," he said.

"It's weird when I see him running around in the red white and blue, but at Collingwood, we wish him all the best for Round 2."