While the wooden spoon seems more than likely for the Adelaide Crows as each round goes by, so to do the rumblings of player movement at the club – something Crows fans are accustomed to at a season’s end.
Banned Adelaide Crows chief Steven Trigg says he’s not an AFL cheat and blames public and time pressures for striking an illegal deal with Kurt Tippett.
Trigg says he feels “sick in the guts” about the once-secret deal with Tippett which led to him being suspended for six months from his position as Adelaide’s chief executive.
The AFL commission banned Tippett for the initial 11 games of next year’s premiership season after finding his agreement with the Crows broke the league’s salary cap and draft rules.
The AFL fined the Crows $300,000 and imposed draft restrictions on the club next year, with their football operations manager Phil Harper also suspended for two months for his role in the Tippett affair.
Trigg denied he cheated the AFL but conceded he was “stretching the boundaries” of the league’s laws when re-signing Tippett in 2009.
“I would very, very strongly deny cheating,” Trigg told Adelaide radio station 5AA on Monday.
“Cheating is an unfair advantage, and I know there will be a school of thought that just by getting the (Tippett’s) signature, you had an unfair advantage.
“You need to cop that.
“But in terms of did we pay more than we were supposed to in terms of the salary cap? No.
“Did we really get an advantage in terms of that trade clause in the end? No.
“The tabloids will go down a path of using that word (cheat).
“I just know, I need to look myself in the mirror forever on this … (I have a) quite really clear conscience.”
The Adelaide board on Saturday voted that despite the damage caused, Trigg and Harper would return to their roles once serving their suspensions from January 1 next year.
“The text book would say in this situation, you step down, you step away, I know that,” Trigg said.
“It is very unusual in these circumstances to dig in – and much less to have a board back you as the right person to keep going.”
Of the illegal deal, Trigg said immense public and time pressures to re-sign Tippett, who walked out on the Crows at the end of the 2012 and nominated for the December 11 preseason draft, were factors.
“There were concerns about aspects of it, not necessarily essence of it,” he said.
“It was a deal that was produced under pressure and under real time pressure as well.
Trigg said his credibility and trust within the AFL industry suffered “a little ding” from the Tippett saga but added he was “up for the fight” of restoring his reputation.