Former Ainslie footballer Kane Morris will play for Echuca Football Club this season.LUKE MCMANUS March 26, 2014 4:05am
Sought-after footballer Kane Morris will call Echuca Football Club home.
The Murray Bombers and Morris’ former club Ainslie reached an agreement late last week which will see the 23-year-old released from his current contract.
The Riv understands Ainslie will be compensated an undisclosed sum which was agreed upon by the relevant parties after lengthy discussions stemming from Morris’ sudden departure from the Canberra-based club and relocation to Echuca during the summer.
Morris signed a new contract in October on the back of four seasons with the North East Australian Football League club before backflipping on the decision and joining Echuca.
A heavy-handed Ainslie and the binding terms of the contract could have sidelined Morris for the 2014 season.
Moving interstate did not automatically release Morris from the AFL-endorsed contract which meant the matter would have fronted the NEAFL or AFL Victoria Country pending a suitable resolution.
It was an expensive and ‘‘frivolous’’ exercise which Echuca’s committee confirmed it would not explore.
‘‘The reality was, Ainslie were in the right,’’ president Brett Stevens said.
‘‘We were a bit naive to think it will be an automatic clearance just because he’s moved here.
‘‘The NEAFL and AFL Victoria enforce these contracts and going down that path was going to be costly and pointless.
‘‘That forced us to talk to Ainslie and they were great to deal with.’’
Echuca lodged two transfer applications last month which were swiftly denied by Ainslie.
A third and final application was lodged on Sunday night of which Ainslie is expected to approve by the end of the week.
‘‘At (this) stage we hadn’t spoken to them (Ainslie) at all,’’ Stevens said.
‘‘We were under the misguided view that an appeal would cost us nothing.
‘‘AFL Victoria then told us it’s significantly more expensive than that and they don’t like frivolous appeals which in their eyes that’s what it was.’’
Stevens described initial discussions between the club and Ainslie general manager John Smith as ‘‘frosty’’, due to the lack of communication prior to Morris’ applications for transfer, but commended Smith’s professional manner which allowed for a beneficial outcome to be reached.
‘‘I’m happy to say that Brett has represented Echuca more than professionally and it’s been terrific working with him — very open and honest,’’ Smith said.
‘‘We’re disappointed to lose him, more the fact he broke a promise to the club and his teammates.
‘‘But we’ve taken steps to replace him, made inroads and are reasonably satisfied with the outcome.’’
Morris is set to bolster Echuca’s tall-timber by joining the likes of Jordan Florence and Josh Edgar.
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