What the Demons’ Whiteboard Wednesday did not reveal

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Demons players leave the field dejected after the round one loss to the Brisbane Lions in 2012 (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

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‘Whiteboard Wednesday’ was a video segment on the Melbourne Demons website where CEO Cameron Schwab took fans behind the scenes, through the “inner workings and strategies of the football club”.

What happened when the camera was off?

Melbourne FC and former coach Dean Bailey are currently under investigation by the AFL for deliberately losing games (tanking), to gain an advantage in the draft through the priority pick system.

A priority pick is an additional first round draft pick given to a team that in consecutive years fails to win more than three games.

The first round of a draft normally offers each club a pick of the best young talent available in reverse order to where they finished on the ladder. The priority pick allows a club to pick two players in the first round.

The priority pick was designed as an equalisation measure to assist clubs to rebuild from what can only be described as ‘epic failure’ i.e. two very poor years in a row.

St Kilda, Hawthorn and to a lesser extent Carlton have all benefited from bottoming out and gaining early draft picks to rebuild.

St Kilda were an absolute basket case in the late 1990s early 2000s, they received multiple early draft picks (including number ones) and were until recently a consistent top four team appearing in two grand finals (2009, 2010).

Hawthorn similarly went through a very lean period but after rebuilding through the draft won a flag in 2008 and have remained competitive ever since, including losing the 2012 grand final.

Carlton has received number one draft picks along with Chris Judd (trade) and have moved up the ladder into the finals in recent years, bar 2012. Carlton, as always, will fancy themselves again in 2013 due to their rebuilt list.

Thus the attractiveness to Melbourne of rebuilding through multiple early draft picks is obvious.

Lawyers from both sides, the AFL and Melbourne FC, have been pouring over footage of games and statements by Bailey and former Demon, now Blue, Brock McLean.

McLean’s comments kick-started the AFL’s tanking investigation with his controversial remarks made on Fox Footy in mid-2012.

He stated he left the club due to the strategies of the football club, alleging they ‘tanked’.

Of course, McLean taking the moral high ground by leaving Melbourne to go to Carlton will always be the subject of much mirth for the majority of AFL fans.

We are now at the pointy end of the AFL’s investigation, where charges are expected to be laid against the former coach and the current administration at Melbourne.

You won’t see a Whiteboard Wednesday at Melbourne for a while.

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