It’s the time of year when anticipation for the AFL draft is at fever pitch. Journalists, fans and clubs are all desperate to find out the order in which the names will be read out later this month.
Come on, does tanking exist? If you asked AFL fans, coaches and the media, the consensus would be yes, most certainly.
But if you choose to hear the garbage out of Andrew Demetriou’s mouth you might get a little bit confused.
Because the head of the AFL believes that it doesn’t exist. He even said so in an article in the Herald Sun just yesterday, “We don’t go by that sort of story. We go by evidence.”
Demetriou also went on to say they already have someone to deal in these matters, Brett Clothier, who is an AFL ‘investigator’. Well if he has done any proper investigating, like a friend of mine who just helped out a high court case has, then he would’ve found Melbourne AND Carlton in breach of anti-competitive practises; Tanking.
Tanking reared its ugly head again a few weeks ago when Brock Mclean, a former player for Melbourne for a number of years, came out and publicly suggested that his former club’s priorities during 2009 was to not win games of football.
Many people in footy circles weren’t too surprised really. Tanking has been going on in the game for a while now. Ever since priority picks were given to poor teams in 1993, clubs have tried to exploit it by having one off ‘poor’ years.
The AFL caught onto this, seeing other clubs get high draft picks when the rule was designed for consistently poor clubs a chance to rebuild. So in 2006 they changed it, making the cut off point for wins 4 and a half, compared to 5 and a half before. So if the AFL had to change this rule, why can’t they just admit that tanking has occurred in the past?
Why can’t Demetriou actually say it has occurred, yet now the practises they have put into place help track clubs better? If he did, the public might suddenly take him seriously for once. He has a remarkable track record for presenting a rosy picture of our game, and that’s fine, but it also shows the other side of what the AFL used to be and sometimes still is like.
Betting is another issue the AFL has swept under the carpet. Respect for women has been toyed with, recently with the ‘St Kilda Schoolgirl’. A
ndrew needs to realize that companies make mistakes, and if he admits some of them, we might think better of him, and not as a dictator.
The AFL needs transparency. Right now it’s just showing us one side of the picture. And it’s a shame.