What’s in store for Tom Scully?
Tom Scully of the GWS Giants (Slattery Images)
There was no chance that supporters of Melbourne – a club that 48 years ago lost one of its greatest players in a vile defection and hasn’t won a premiership since – were going to let Tom Scully’s return to the MCG slide.
Earlier in the week Scully was starting to feel better about facing his old team. The tweets from fans on the Demon’s website made no reference to him (eg “Thank you @melbournefc for a lovely night at the mid-season function!” ) and he was comforted by the thought that many of them would be at the snowfields on Sunday.
But then harsh reality entered his world via the uncensored Twitter-sphere.
Beginning with relatively benign posts like: “Tom Scully: I’m not a violent person, and wish no harm upon you, but heavens to Betsy I hope you cop an earful on Sunday”, they then progressed to the more vitriolic and threatening: “Please please smash that loser Tom Scully this week. Absolute scum!”
And one chap who is clearly more comfortable writing abuse than yelling it on matchday tweeted: “Just letting u know, Tom Scully is a massive ****. Can’t wait to boo him on Sunday!”
The fury over Scully’s “betrayal” has been made more pungent by the death of the club’s much-loved President. Apparently Scully assured Jim Stynes during 2011 that he hadn’t made a decision, with Stynes later discovering that Scully’s father Phil had signed a long-term contract as a player recruiter in late 2010. Scully Jnr denied knowledge of his father’s dealings which, I admit, is difficult to believe.
Souring things further is the fact that Scully’s recruitment as number one draft pick – compensation for consecutive wooden spoons – saw the club rise to 13th position in 2011.
After seven rounds this season, however, the grand old flaggers were floundering on the bottom again – under new brats Gold Coast and Scully’s GWS.
Look, I don’t know Tom Scully personally. He might be a shifty disloyal right t*rd and a gutless wonder; but then again it’s also possible he’s a sensitive kid who couldn’t bring himself to tell his teammates or an ailing Stynes that he was leaving the club for money.
Perhaps the move was forced on him by his father’s dream to leave the roof tiling business and become an AFL recruiter.
Loyalty is still a poweful force in the AFL. Almost no one leaves their club, as evidenced by the abundance of player re-signings taking place prior to the introduction of free agency next season.
Even if Scully had announced his decision immediately the 2011 season would have been a rough trip for him. Despite being offered a fortune it probably took more courage to leave than to stay.
But whatever the truth about Tom Scully, gee is he going to cop it on Sunday at 3:15pm Australian Eastern Standard Time when he fronts up against his former team – the navy blue & reds and the oldest club in the land – dressed in the orange charcoal and white of the competition’s newest franchise.
Understandably eager for everyone to forget, he has been incessantly using the phrase “moving on” which has only served to rile Demons supporters further.
Ron Barassi used a similar line (“you have to get on with things”) when he infamously left the club for Carlton at the end of the 1964 season – receiving an equally chilly response.
Scully’s “Yeah, look I’m not missing Melbourne too much.” is not going to help him on Sunday either.
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