Lifestyles of the rich and famous: How AFL players like Dustin Martin and Lance Franklin spend cash

AFL players don’t just wow fans on the field – some are now so good at their craft that they’ve become millionaires and they’re living the high life many of us can only dream of.

It’s a long way from the days when the stars of the game would have to supplement their footy careers with full-time jobs.

From Lance Franklin’s stunning $9million mansion to Dustin Martin’s investment property portfolio worth more than $16million, footy stars are living luxurious lives like never before.  

As the season gets underway for 2023, here are the seven most highly-paid players in the league – and how they spend all that cash. 

Dustin Martin

$1.3 million (seven-year, $9million contract) 

The Tigers star is the game's highest paid player, and rightly so given his career feats

Dustin Martin is the game’s highest-paid player, and he splashes that out on investment properties, expensive cars and watches – and a stunning $1.7million beachfront pad

Arguably the game’s best player (and he certainly was across 2017-2020 before two injury-affected seasons), Martin is compensated accordingly – signing an astonishing $9million contract across seven years just before Richmond’s flag in 2017.

And it isn’t just his brilliance on the field where Martin shines, he is also the game’s most marketable commodity with lucrative deals with brands like Bonds, Kennedy Watches and Nike in addition to a massive property portfolio.

The Tigers star has been on spending spree in inner-city Richmond, splashing $8.75million on four coverted warehouses in the same street, and bought a luxury $1.7million beachfront apartment in Port Melbourne in 2021. 

He and manager Ralph Carr have previously bought a $4.8million plush Abbotsford home as well as a $3million home in the same suburb which lines the iconic Yarra River. 

Dustin Martin dropped a cool $1.7million on a luxury beachfront apartment in Port Melbourne in 2021

Dustin Martin dropped a cool $1.7million on a luxury beachfront apartment in Port Melbourne in 2021

Martin bought this converted warehouse for $2.2million earlier that year - one of three properties he and manager Ralph Carr bought on Butler St, Richmond for a total of $6million

Martin bought this converted warehouse for $2.2million earlier that year – one of three properties he and manager Ralph Carr bought on Butler St, Richmond for a total of $6million 

His $150,000 Range Rover was used in a wild crime spree in January of this year

His $150,000 Range Rover was used in a wild crime spree in January of this year 

Martin’s expensive taste also applies to his cars, though unfortunately the superstar’s $150,000 Range Rover was allegedly stolen and used in a wild crime spree by a Collingwood fan earlier this year. 

Watches are another favourite. He’s pictured above sporting a IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar watch worth $64,000 – and has previously said it’s something he ‘treats himself’ with. 

Martin’s footy resume since his breakout year in 2016 is something to behold, and exactly why he is rightfully the highest paid player in the game.

He’s won the Norm Smith Medal in each of Richmond’s three Premierships since 2017, been named in four All Australian teams and was the 2017 Brownlow Medallist after what many have described as the greatest individual season in history.

Martin also enjoys holidaying in Bali in his offseason and often posts on social media about his love of fine dining

Martin also enjoys holidaying in Bali in his offseason and often posts on social media about his love of fine dining

And it’s safe to say he enjoys the high life off the hallowed MCG turf. 

Martin, like many AFL stars, can often be seen travelling in the offseason, with Bali a favoured destination. 

He also often jets up to Sydney to enjoy what he calls ‘better beaches and weather’, and often posts on social media about his love of fine dining and cafe culture, particularly in Melbourne. 

After his side’s draw in the thrilling season opener, Martin was spotted dining at uber-trendy South Yarra eatery France Soir with teammate Dion Prestia, where main meals cost between $52 – $58 dollars.   

Nat Fyfe

$1.15million (six-year, $7million contract)

Nat Fyfe, pictured picking coffee beans in Colombia, often travels to exotic destinations on his offseason breaks

Nat Fyfe, pictured picking coffee beans in Colombia, often travels to exotic destinations on his offseason breaks

The two-time Brownlow winner (pictured with his 2019 medal) is on a huge $7million contract with the Dockers

The two-time Brownlow winner (pictured with his 2019 medal) is on a huge $7million contract with the Dockers

Two-time Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe signed a massive six-year deal worth a reported $7million in 2017 – and despite struggling with injuries in the last few years, the Fremantle superstar has well and truly delivered on his investment.

The laidback surfing aficionado grew up in the tiny town of Lake Grace, 325km south-east of Perth, but can often be seen in the offseason travelling to far-flung areas around the world.

He’s taken trips to Colombia to pick coffee beans, snowboarded in Japan and ridden a dirt bike – with a surfboard strapped to it – in Nicaragua.

He’s enjoyed a rich red in Argentina’s Mendoza wine region and slept under the stunning northern lights in Norway, as well as surfing his way around remote areas of Costa Rica, the Maldives, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.  

It’s far from the typical post-AFL season boys’ trip to Bali, but that’s just Fyfe. He marches to the beat of his own drum, and is one of the most popular stars in the league as a result.  

Fyfe also has lucrative deal with luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer, and asked his social media followers which of the $8750 pieces he should get

Fyfe also has lucrative deal with luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer, and asked his social media followers which of the $8750 pieces he should get

That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy the finer things in life, despite often working in his family’s sheep and cattle trucking business when he’s not kicking the Sherrin. 

The three-time All Australian midfielder purchased a stunning industrial-style home in the luxurious beachside Perth suburb of North Coogee in 2016 that features chic design elements with lots of natural wood and exposed stone.

It’s something he helped design based on sketches, concepts and inspiring portfolio pictures, and features a stunning open-plan kitchen and living area. 

Fyfe, who is expected to feature and dominate primarily in the forward line for Fremantle this year, also has lucrative partnerships with luxury watch manufacturer TAG Heuer, Powerade, Adidas and Crown Casino in Perth. 

Jeremy McGovern

$1-$1.2million (five-year, $6million contract) 

Eagles star Jeremy McGovern is the highest-paid defender in the game and a four-time All Australian

Eagles star Jeremy McGovern is the highest-paid defender in the game and a four-time All Australian

The father of two has ambitions to run his own building company when he retires

The father of two has ambitions to run his own building company when he retires

Jeremy McGovern’s five-year, $6million contract raised eyebrows around the league when he signed it in July 2018, and unfortunately the Eagles defender has been injured for large periods of time ever since.

But after their stunning premiership that year, West Coast struggled to keep the band together after offering some questionably high contracts, so the selfless star sacrificed up to $200,000 per season from his monster contract from 2021 onwards in a extraordinary show of faith in the club.  

The 30-year-old four-time All Australian has long had one eye on his post-playing career, founding a plumbing company many years ago before also being appointed as a sales director at building company Vicore Construction.

He’s previously said he is interested in getting in building once his time in the game ends, and has ambitions to own his own building company. The father of two can often be seen fishing on his social media when he has a spare second of free time. 

The 163-gamer also owns an investment property, to go with a stunning $1.15million coastal home he purchased with wife Madi in 2018. Putting those big dollars to good use! 

Lance Franklin

*2022: $950,000 – $1.1million (nine-year, $10.2million contract – re-signed for 2023 on undisclosed, lower amount)

Lance Franklin and glamorous wife Jesinta, a model, are the league's highest profile couple

The Swans star is likely to retire this year, ending one of the great AFL careers

Lance Franklin shocked the footy world when he signed an unprecedented nine-year, $10.2million contract 

'Buddy' and Jesinta, pictured at the Magic Millions race day in 2018, are often seen out at the biggest social events in the land

‘Buddy’ and Jesinta, pictured at the Magic Millions race day in 2018, are often seen out at the biggest social events in the land

Buddy’s game-changing nine-year, $10.2million contract ended last season, but the poster boy for high-flying lifestyles just had to be included on this list.

The Swans megastar will go down as one of the greatest forwards to ever play the game, with two premierships, eight All Australian blazers and four Coleman Medals – among a long list of other honours – sitting in his trophy case.

He shines just as brightly off the field. Married to glamorous model Jesinta Campbell (now Franklin), the pair have two children and can often be seen enjoying Sydney’s top social events.

It’s been a busy few years in real estate for the cashed-up couple, too. 

They bought a luxurious seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion on the Gold Coast in November for approximately $9million.

Franklin and wife Jesinta fell in love with the extravagant seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom Mediterranean-style property in the Gold Coast hinterland

Franklin and wife Jesinta fell in love with the extravagant seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom Mediterranean-style property in the Gold Coast hinterland

The spacious property is known as Villa Casa and is perched on a hill with breathtaking panoramic views

The spacious property is known as Villa Casa and is perched on a hill with breathtaking panoramic views

The spacious manor is known as Villa Casa, is perched on a hill with breathtaking panoramic views and features a stylish combination of modern architecture, including a glamorous terrace and swimming pool, plus traditional trappings such as a stone fireplace. 

While Franklin will continue playing for the Swans this year, they seem set to settle in Jesinta’s native Queensland in the beautiful family home once he retires.

The pair have already sold their Sydney home to prepare for the move.

The prestige apartment in glitzy Rose Bay reported went for just under $5million to former NRL CEO Todd Greenberg. 

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom flat was previously listed for an eye-watering $5.5million, after they purchased it off the plan for $5million in 2020.

'Buddy' and Jesinta attend a fashion event in 2015 - something that is now commonplace for the glamorous pair

‘Buddy’ and Jesinta attend a fashion event in 2015 – something that is now commonplace for the glamorous pair

The high-profile couple purchased this prestige property, situated in The Carlisle apartment complex, in 2020 for $5m

 The high-profile couple purchased this prestige property, situated in The Carlisle apartment complex, in 2020 for $5m

Designed by well-known architects MHND, the chic apartment features marble appointments, Herringbone timber floors and a private garden

Designed by well-known architects MHND, the chic apartment features marble appointments, Herringbone timber floors and a private garden 

The 2000-square-metre boutique garden flat was designed by well-known architects MHND and features marble appointments, Herringbone timber floors and a private garden. 

Other highlights include a gorgeous deluxe kitchen with breakfast bar, a vast lounge with gas fire, home cinema and a marble ensuite in the master bedroom.

When they’re not doting on daughter Tullulah and son Rocky, Franklin and Jesinta can often be seen on their prolific social media pages enjoying fine dining and lavish date nights, as well as social events.  

Brodie Grundy

$950,000 (seven-year, $7million contract) 

Brodie Grundy, pictured with partner Rachel Wertheim, is the league's highest paid ruck

Grundy moved to the Demons in the offseason, and will form a frightening tandem with Max Gawn

New Demons recruit Brodie Grundy is on close to $1million a year – despite being unwanted by Collingwood

Grundy and partner Rachel travelled around Morocca, Portugal and the Sahara desert in the offseason

Grundy and partner Rachel travelled around Morocca, Portugal and the Sahara desert in the offseason

Collingwood’s seven-year deal worth approximately $950,000 a season has been roundly criticised as a ‘massive failure’ and is one of the most talked-about contracts of all time given he started a chain of massive, long-term deals.

But Grundy is laughing all the way to the bank despite the Magpies moving him on, joining powerhouse club the Demons with the money still rolling in. 

He signed the huge contract after two All-Australian seasons, but hasn’t hit the same heights since – although partnering with Max Gawn at the Dees may change that. 

Off the field, though, he’s one of the deepest thinkers in the game, and is studying for an MBA. 

Like Fyfe, he and partner Rachel shun the typical travel destinations in the offseason to go to exotic locations like Morocca, the Sahara Desert, Portugal, Rome and Guatemala. 

Tom Lynch

$928,000 – $1million (seven-year, $6.5million contract)

Tom Lynch, pictured with fiancee Olivia Burke, is one of the league's top key forwards - and is paid as such

Tom Lynch, pictured with fiancee Olivia Burke, is one of the league’s top key forwards – and is paid as such

The former Suns skipper has now won two premierships since making a high-profile and very lucrative move to Richmond

The former Suns skipper has now won two premierships since making a high-profile and very lucrative move to Richmond

Richmond broke the bank – but very shrewdly so – to lure Tom Lynch away from the Gold Coast, and it reaped immediate dividends. 

He was part of the club’s back-to-back premierships in his first two years at Punt Road, and stamped himself as one of the top forwards in the league. 

The Tigers very cleverly heavily back-ended his deal to ensure they could keep their premiership side together, but he is reaping the rewards now and will earn just shy of $1million this season despite the first three years of the deal being worth as ‘little’ as $500,000. 

The Tigers star often travels in the offseason, and is seen here being a real-life Mario Karter in Japan

The Tigers star often travels in the offseason, and is seen here being a real-life Mario Karter in Japan

He propsed to long-time partner Olivia Burke in December at a dog park in Melbourne

He propsed to long-time partner Olivia Burke in December at a dog park in Melbourne 

Off the field, Lynch is a keen traveller, and enjoys sports-fuelled jaunts to America, and has also spent time racing as Mario in Japan and living it up with the Tigers boys in Phuket, Thailand. 

The 30-year-old surprised girlfriend Olivia Burke by going down on bended knee at their local dog park in Melbourne in December last year.

The pair met and started dating in 2014 when he was playing at the Suns, and live together in Melbourne with dog Gryff.  

Jeremy Cameron

$900,000 (five-year, $4.5million contract)

Jeremy Cameron and partner India Putra, pictured at last year's Brownlow Medal

Jeremy Cameron and partner India Putra, pictured at last year’s Brownlow Medal

The Cats star made a multi-million dollar move to Geelong after starring for many years at GWS

The Cats star made a multi-million dollar move to Geelong after starring for many years at GWS

Cameron and Putra, pictured with dog Billy on their farm, are expecting their first child shortly

Cameron and Putra, pictured with dog Billy on their farm, are expecting their first child shortly

When Jeremy Cameron signed a five-year deal with the Cats worth approximately $900,000 a season, his life changed.

Not because of the money so much – he was already on a huge deal at the Giants – but because he finally became a premiership player, and bought a 50-acre farm 20 minutes from Geelong.

A famously outdoor-mad adventurer, Cameron is about as laidback as it gets off the field. He is a often seen out in his Yellowfin boat, that is worth in excess of $120,000, chasing tuna, flatties or really anything he can get his hands on.

He and partner Indiana Putra recently announced they are expecting their first child.  

The laidback outdoor-lover is often seen on his boat, which is worth in excess of $120,000, and loves his fishing

The laidback outdoor-lover is often seen on his boat, which is worth in excess of $120,000, and loves his fishing

Cameron bought a 50-acre farm 20 minutes from Geelong last year, and made his own man cave complete with custom-bar in one of the property's old horse stables

Cameron bought a 50-acre farm 20 minutes from Geelong last year, and made his own man cave complete with custom-bar in one of the property’s old horse stables

But it’s at the farm, not the footy field, where Cameron feels most at home.

He and Indiana purchased the 50-acre farm in March 2022, and he quickly set about making himself a man cave complete with custom-made bar and beer taps.

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