By CHRIS DUTTON - The Canberra Times
FROM the Goulburn sewers to a rich Indian pay day, Glenn Turner is bursting with excitement as he prepares to enter a player auction which could earn him more than $50,000 for a month of work.
Turner is one of 20 Australian players entering the draft in hockey’s version of cricket’s Indian Premier League later this month.
The new Indian competition will begin in January with six teams allowed to spend $500,000 recruiting 10 international players.
And as one of the Kookaburras’ leading goal scorers from the London Olympic Games, Turner’s years of hard work could result in a lucrative deal.
Despite being an Olympian, Turner still works with Goulburn Mulwaree Council at the waste-water treatment plant.
When he trains with the Kookaburras in Perth, he takes leave without pay and earns $250 a week from his AIS scholarship.
But a chance in India is set to see him pocket a handsome sum for the monthlong tournament.
“Hopefully this is the start and it can build from here,” Turner said.
“It’s pretty huge. Every year you save up [so you can train in Perth], then you go backwards and then you save up again, it’s an ongoing cycle. This could change things for a lot of the guys, maybe they can get a deposit on a house or something.
“You can’t get your hopes up too high.
I think there’s a base price of between $10,000 and $25,000 and they auction you from there. Even if you get that, you’re happy. It’s pretty exciting.”
Five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer will lead the Australians in the rich league. Turner expected top players such as Dwyer to attract the most money, possibly as much as $100,000, leaving the rest of the $500,000 salary cap for internationals to be divided up.
Even if Turner is auctioned for one of the lower prices, the 28-year-old will still be happy.
It’s a financial boost he didn’t expect and he’s on track for a successful return following hip surgery after the Kookaburras won bronze in London.
Turner ran for the first time last week and is waiting to see which team will select him in India.
“You just have to look at the cricket [IPL] and some players who don’t expect to go for a lot of money, their price goes up,” Turner said.
“You never know, so you just hope for the best. It would be awesome to get something like $20,000 for a month of work, that’s a lot more than you get here.
“It’s only going to be good for hockey and it gives guys coming through a chance to see that you can be a professional out of it … there’s even talk of it being [televised] on ESPN.”
India set up a similar league last year, but it wasn’t officially sanctioned by the international hockey organisation.
The auction was scheduled for today, but has now been pushed back until the end of the month.
When the tournament begins, it will run from January 3 to February 5.