What the Demons’ Whiteboard Wednesday did not reveal

Redb Roar Guru

By Redb, Redb is a Roar Guru

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19 Have your say

    ‘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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    The Crowd Says (19)

    • Roar Guru

      January 10th 2013 @ 8:48am
      mds1970 said | January 10th 2013 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      Most of the interest is about a game late in 2009 when Melbourne played Richmond. But even though Melbourne were said to have done some suspicious positional changes and rotations during that game, it took a kick after the siren to beat them.
      If Jordan McMahon had missed that shot, 800 pages of tanking would have been for nothing.

      • Roar Guru

        January 10th 2013 @ 9:15am
        Redb said | January 10th 2013 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        Its still very suss mds. Bailey has admitted they did not pick the best team and experimented with positions. They have abused what was designed to help clubs like Melb.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 10:20am
        I am Curious said | January 10th 2013 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        Oh that game !! I always thought it was the one when Jimmy Stynes deliberately ran over the Hawthorn mark to cost them a position in the Grand Final 😉

        • Roar Guru

          January 10th 2013 @ 8:12pm
          langou said | January 10th 2013 @ 8:12pm | ! Report

          Haha good one IAC

    • January 10th 2013 @ 9:51am
      David said | January 10th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Charge us and see how much we fight this rubbish . We will not take this on the chin. The AFL is to blame for this poisoned carrott even being an option to teams. Close the hole on the rules and get on with footy!

      • Roar Guru

        January 10th 2013 @ 10:03am
        Redb said | January 10th 2013 @ 10:03am | ! Report


        So you admit your club tanked? Don’t you think its soul destroying for fans?

      • January 10th 2013 @ 12:25pm
        LK said | January 10th 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        The rules have since been changed on the priority pick.

        Do Dees fans think it is money well spent to fight this in the courts? It is an honest question. Weren’t MFC in debt reduction mode about two years ago? Challenging the findings in higher courts would cost millions and for what purpose? Even if MFC won in court most football fans would think they tanked anyway.

        • Roar Guru

          January 10th 2013 @ 3:11pm
          Redb said | January 10th 2013 @ 3:11pm | ! Report


          good point – the Administration trying to save their jobs by spending money the Demons dont have.

    • Roar Pro

      January 10th 2013 @ 4:54pm
      NeeDeep said | January 10th 2013 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

      You really have to look at this from all the possible angles.

      Giving a few rookies and fringe players some extra game time towards the end of a season, to get some ideas for the following year and experimenting with some positional changes during a game, equals tanking? Maybe, maybe not!

      Would it even register on the radar if there wasn’t an AFL sponsored “Priority Pick” involved, as David pointed out? Definitely not!
      How well has the whole episode assisted the MFC? Where is there priority pick now? Tom Scully @ the Giants, as far as I’m aware. Where did Melbourne finish on the ladder last year? Where will they probably finish this year and most likely, again in 2014?
      If they are guilty of “tanking”, what can you do to them that they haven’t already done to themselves? Should we take some draft picks of them over the next 2 seasons and consign them to the bottom couple of slots on the ladder for the next decade and more?

      Who will really benefit from that?

      Are there more serious matters that the AFL has turned a blind eye to, in the past that we should look at as well?

      And who is really responsible for all this? Is it the guys in the spotlight – Bailey, Connolly, and Schwab – or are there a few other names that could be tossed up that the AFL really don’t want to see on the table?

      To me, this is an issue for the fans and members of the Melbourne Football Club to sort out. If they want peanuts running their club and “tanking” – if that’s what they did – then that is up to them. Personally, I’d be wanting to get to the bottom of it and I’d make it publicly known who the morons where and run the whole lot of them out of town. If it’s not “tanking” (which I tend to think is the case, or at least, the verdict as I can’t see enough evidence to support the tanking claim) then they deserve a whack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. Everyone should then take a deep breath and we can get on with season 2013.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 9:35pm
        Strummer Jones said | January 10th 2013 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

        There is certainly an argument there NeeDeep, and they could draw on the Giants interchange movements/giving everyone a run throughout the season as ‘evidence’ that clubs in ‘development’ all do it, but it will be a big stretch. The problem for Melbourne is the same as the Tippett saga; someone/few tied very closely to the club have spit the dummy and let the cat out of the bag*. If the AFL does nothing, they’ll look too damn stupid and people of influence like Patrick Smith in the Australian (a rubbish paper I agree) will have a field day.

        * which brings to question; how many other (so-called) controversial matters at AFL clubs occur every year but escape media attention? I’d say a fare few.

      • Roar Guru

        January 11th 2013 @ 8:06am
        Redb said | January 11th 2013 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        “Giving a few rookies and fringe players some extra game time towards the end of a season, to get some ideas for the following year and experimenting with some positional changes during a game, equals tanking? Maybe, maybe not! ”

        I think its gone way beyond that. When you have a former coach mreo or less admit to it after he was sacked and a former player saying the same thing its blatant tanking.

        • Roar Pro

          January 11th 2013 @ 11:39am
          NeeDeep said | January 11th 2013 @ 11:39am | ! Report

          So, what would you have the AFL do to them, Redb?

          Whack them with a soggy lettuce leaf for a week?

          Who is really to blame – the AFL, Gary Lyon, the club president? Nothing is going to be proven and nothing would be achieved by penalising a club that is already struggling.

          Let’s just move on!

          • Roar Guru

            January 11th 2013 @ 11:58am
            Redb said | January 11th 2013 @ 11:58am | ! Report


            I think the club needs to sack Schwab. The bottom line is he has not been able to drag the club out of its football related problems, thus resorting to tanking as a short cut.

            The AFL cant move on when the integrity of the competition is being threatened.

            • Roar Pro

              January 11th 2013 @ 1:59pm
              NeeDeep said | January 11th 2013 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

              Precisely Redb – it is a matter that would be best dealt with at a club level.

              The AFL seem to “now” think they need to be seen to be “doing something” about this issue. Short answer – they don’t. It can’t and won’t be proven. Simple as that. And even if it could be proven, what would it achieve?

              A deterent? Doubtful – more likely just more loopholes for smart people to explore, or morally inept twits to fall foul of.

              And if they push this too hard, then a number of other clubs are going to get nervous about the whole question of “draft tampering”.Because I’m sure Melbourne will be pointing to other incidents, to justify their actions / defence.

              • Roar Guru

                January 11th 2013 @ 2:16pm
                Redb said | January 11th 2013 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                Not sure the AFL can just walk away from this without any outcome.

                If it is not proved then perhaps it is the best result overall for the competition and the Demons in one sense, but then again why did the AFL even bother to take action. The priority pick has been dumped thanks to GC and GWS allowing a window to snuff it out.

                It is not a valid defence of Melbourne’s or anyones to say “see they do it too” . Any allegations (with legs or not) will appear just an attempt to distract.

                If Schwab and Connelly fall on their swords for the handling of the whole fiasco it may be enough at the settlement table.

                As for a punishment for Melb FC, yeah well you can hardly strip them of anything, I guess they will be punished in future drafts.

              • Roar Pro

                January 12th 2013 @ 3:16pm
                NeeDeep said | January 12th 2013 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

                Dennis Cometti:

                The AFL’s determination to pursue Melbourne over ‘tanking’ allegations continues like a misguided missile.

                Right now the strategy seems to be that in the absence of a Plan B it’s best simply to try harder on Plan A.

                It’s a plan unlikely to work unless, like the AFL, you happen to be a judicial one-man band!

                In recent days Melbourne chief executive Cameron Schwab, football manager Chris Connolly and former coach Dean Bailey were all given until the end of the month to give reason to the AFL why they should not be charged.

                Yet no mention in this murky business of Jim Stynes!

                HAVE YOUR SAY BELOW.

                Is it seriously being suggested the legendary Stynes was not a ‘hands on’ president?

                I find the inference he was not a party to ‘tanking’ and that somehow he was duped by his own staff equally insulting to his memory.

                Regardless, even the concept of ‘tanking’ is shadowy, and raises questions as to AFL oversight of coaching at all 18 clubs.

                Often there’s a thin line between genius and ridicule (consider something like Shane Ellen’s role in the 1997 grand final).

                The league should take a deep breath before getting involved in a round of finger-pointing that, who knows, could lead all the way to having a black box in the coaches box.

                But as I’ve said before the real flaw in all of this can be found in western Sydney.

                Expansion team GWS ‘earned’ top pick in last year’s national draft.

                It did so by giving everybody on its list ‘a go’, by making umpteen changes every week and by selecting far from their most competitive side on a regular basis.

                You might remember they even came to Perth last season having ‘rested’ all their experienced players.

                We watched, and, dare I say, accepted that learning on the job and finding out who can play and who can’t has its place in an elite sports competition. But If it does, then surely you can’t have one rule for the old (Melbourne) and one rule for the new (GWS).

                And unfortunately for the AFL it has its fingerprints all over GWS. It is virtually the league’s baby!

                I think the doubts surrounding Melbourne should be used for good. Accept that ‘the glass is half dirty’, forgive and forget and legislate our way out of this.

                We need to dismantle a draft system that incentivises losers and guarantees outcomes for consistent losing.

                At the risk of repeating myself, the AFL need look no further than the National Basketball Association in the United States.

                Spot on – plus the Kruezer Cup between Carlton & Essendon, Juddy getting to Carlton (even though he’d been saying he wanted to go to Melbourne) and then the Luke Ball draft fiasco. All let through to the keeper. Same here, I reckon.

    • January 10th 2013 @ 8:20pm
      steele said | January 10th 2013 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

      Everyone into footy knows they tanked, however it is also widely believed that half the comp has at some stage. As a supporter the most frustrating thing is it is an AFL rule which has led to this. They need to learn from their mistakes and adopt the lottery system used in the NBA. I want the spoon to mean something again. I dont want anyone to go the footy and end up barracking for the opposition which has been happening for yrs.

      • January 10th 2013 @ 9:39pm
        Strummer Jones said | January 10th 2013 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

        Half the comp? Big call. I actually doubt very many. Its a bit like the 1980s when they were arguing that one dayers were rigged. There are just too many people involved in rigging something that large so you can only do it consistently in say tennis (Tomic ??).

        I’d say some clubs probably brought in underdone players to give them a run with the attitude ‘if we lose, there is a silver lining’ but I doubt many clubs actually executed a full scale plan of attack to drop games. I have no evidence to prove this, so its simply an educated guess.

      • Roar Guru

        January 11th 2013 @ 8:08am
        Redb said | January 11th 2013 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        I agree the AFL needs to change the system but the intent was fine surely no-one is suggesting this was the outcome the AFL wanted.

        A lottery could work or simply do away with the priority pick altogether and let free agency and the trade period allow clubs more flexiblity in their recruiting.

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