Australia’s blackest day in sport

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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84 Have your say

    It has been reported that Essendon players have received show-cause notices from ASADA. (AFL media/Slattery Images).

    Yesterday colleague Glenn Mitchell brilliantly covered the biggest bombshell in Australia sport this century. Drug-taking and match-fixing on a grand scale has surfaced after a 12-month investigation by the Australian Crime Commission.

    The results are breath taking.

    Hold the phone, let’s take a step back to try and take it all in. Federal Justice Minister Jason Clare was full of accusations yesterday, but no substance.

    He painted a gloomy picture, and we would be naïve, in fact plain stupid, not to sit up and take notice.

    But where were the answers, Minister?

    Every sport in Australia has regular drug-testing. Obviously those tests fall well short of the mark.

    As for match-fixing, it’s a potential blight on every sport. So why are major sports in Australia promoting betting agencies on television on a regular basis?

    Not for one minute am I suggesting those agencies are the launching pad for match-fixing. But match-fixing is all about punting, and where there’s smoke there’s fire.

    Let’s face it, sport is the engine room of Australian life. Take sport out of the equation and Australia would be a boring country.

    One of the great pleasures in life is the ability to salute our sporting stars – and in some cases revere them.

    On the other side of the coin, if athletes have to cheat, why compete?

    There are no better examples of being found guilty of drug-taking in recent times than track star Marion Jones, stripped of her Olympic medals, and cyclist Lance Armstrong, stripped of his record-breaking seven successive wins at the Tour de France.

    Two ‘phenomenal’ athletes who had to cheat to compete.

    These are early days, but thanks to the ACC the cheating door has been kicked down and from here on in the air should be clearer.

    What we are hearing and reading now is distasteful, grubby, and not acceptable. It’s not the Australian way.

    It’s up to the Federal and State governments, in conjunction with every sport in Australia, to right the wrongs.

    It’s a massive ask the administrators must win across the board.

    It won’t happen overnight, but where there’s a will there’s a way.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (84)

    • February 8th 2013 @ 7:01am
      MV Dave said | February 8th 2013 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      “What we are hearing and reading now is distasteful, grubby, and not acceptable. It’s not the Australian way.” Yeh Australians live on a different planet to the rest of the world! Statements such as yours are probably one of the reasons why this problem has arisen in the first place…”it’s only the foreigners that do it”… talk about head in the sand stuff.

      • Columnist

        February 8th 2013 @ 7:49am
        David Lord said | February 8th 2013 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        I don’t know how old you are MV Dave, but when I was a kid the front door and the car door were never locked, nothing was ever stolen, and the cops were a kid’s best friend. Any problems away from home and the cops always delivered. And for good measure, every kid ALWAYS stood up for elders on the bus, tram, or train. We did live on a different planet, and proud of it. Not any more.

        • February 8th 2013 @ 9:14am
          Punter said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          Ok I will try again.
          Mr Lord, I think if you reviewed life when you were a kid, it was not perfect for those who were not white, male & middle class.
          I’m in my 50s & I think you are from another planet. Look at the world now, it’s far bigger than England, Australia & the US which was what you were used to.

          • February 8th 2013 @ 9:27am
            Titus said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

            Lol..yeah, things were so much better under the white Australia policy before we gave Aboriginies the right to vote.

            Hey guess what, Australians cheat and Australians are corrupt, welcome to the world Australia. Anyway, gambling and organised crime have a long history in this country.

          • February 8th 2013 @ 9:27am
            c said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

            oh and mr lord i presume that the car door was never locked in many other countries back then as well 🙂

          • Columnist

            February 8th 2013 @ 9:28am
            David Lord said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

            Punter, I can only recall what life was like for me, there was no other criteria. Of course the world is bigger, but there’s still no reason why honesty, fair play, and being decent to fellow man needs to be dead and buried.

            • Roar Guru

              February 8th 2013 @ 9:38am
              Adam Scroggy said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:38am | ! Report

              “We did live on a different planet, and proud of it.”

              What part of that line suggests you were only talking about your own experience?

              All due respect David, but when you bemoan the fall of the planet because of the generations that followed yours, a few of us (I’m 27) are going to take exception.

              But of course, you’re spot on about honesty, fair play and decency. We should all continue to push for all of those things.

            • February 8th 2013 @ 9:44am
              Punter said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:44am | ! Report

              I have no doubts that we could do with alot more of those values these days.
              But we have values now that didn’t exist in those days being decent to your fellow mans needs (all men, women & children, irrespective of age, class, color, religion, gender, lifestyle & understanding that different cultures have different values (by this I mean all cultures, not just us white men understanding, but all men understanding).
              I know you are a cricket fan, I mean the different culture values of say a country like Australia to a country like India.

            • February 8th 2013 @ 12:23pm
              Midfielder said | February 8th 2013 @ 12:23pm | ! Report


              I think the world was different then … however the very same people who were in charge in what you call your day set up the systems for those that followed…

              I agreed in being decent to a fellow man is a good creed to follow but I think everyone on the planet feels that way. …. like when did it start with the razor gangs in the rocks in the 20’s… with Kerry Packer’s war on cricket…

              With sport becoming a massive media product with sports people paid mega sums of money and becoming famous.. but who made the decisions … it’s simple money corrupts and in sport their is big money … the race track as long as I can remember has been HHHMMMM interesting …

              Interesting I read the other day that in 1910 there where 1.2 billion people in the world today there are I think 7 billion… by 2112 if the same increase happens over 50 billion people …

              So I guess mate that maybe our we are different we are unique has always been BS … in sport without trying to open a war … in world sports … boxing, running, football, we do very poorly … in Australian sports we do very well and our media tell us how well we are doing in these Australia sports … just goes to show we are not that different after all … just think we are …

          • February 8th 2013 @ 9:36am
            Hansie said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

            Aren’t there suspicions that Herbie Collins threw an Ashes test back in 1926? Wasn’t cycling in Australia in the late 1800s blighted by fixing? Sport controversies are not exclusive to the modern generation, so I find it hard to believe that Australia was so perfect “in the old days”.

            • February 8th 2013 @ 10:43am
              BigAl said | February 8th 2013 @ 10:43am | ! Report

              Don’t forget the convicts – and what about The Rum Rebellion and associated rorting and illegal activities, which until recently was the greatest in the nations history !

          • February 9th 2013 @ 4:53am
            Bob Anderson said | February 9th 2013 @ 4:53am | ! Report

            This is the same knee-jerk response all over the western world whenever someone points out that some things were better in the past. Sure, a few things were unjust in the past. That doesn’t mean you have to radically throw out all the many many things that were better in the past. I believe that’s called “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” You get rid of all good things to rectify a few bad things? Where’s the logic in that?

        • February 8th 2013 @ 10:45am
          droppa said | February 8th 2013 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          Yeah Dave,Sure…Grow up in the X did ya ?

          • Roar Guru

            February 8th 2013 @ 12:16pm
            sheek said | February 8th 2013 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            Respect sonny boy, respect.

            David Lord has achieved more in his lifetime than you ever will. If you want to know how or why, I’ll happily oblige you. Otherwise, get rid of your ignorance & find out a bit of his past.

            By all means disagree with David, but show respect.

            • Roar Guru

              February 8th 2013 @ 2:17pm
              Redb said | February 8th 2013 @ 2:17pm | ! Report


              The soccer mafia like to gang up. Its the way they roll, not an individual amongst them. #cyberultras lol

              • February 8th 2013 @ 3:25pm
                Punter said | February 8th 2013 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

                You are amazing Redb, there is no letting up from you.

              • February 8th 2013 @ 4:27pm
                MV Dave said | February 8th 2013 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

                Your suggestion is pathetic…no need to take your embarrassment of Essendon’s behaviour out on the rest of us.

              • Roar Guru

                February 8th 2013 @ 4:33pm
                Redb said | February 8th 2013 @ 4:33pm | ! Report


                Just proved my point. David Lord has more credibility than the lot of you.

                Go the mighty Bombers!!

              • February 8th 2013 @ 4:51pm
                MV Dave said | February 8th 2013 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

                LOL Redb…back at Windy Hill in the day the only thing the players were on were VB, ciggies and the promise of a shag later that night.

            • February 8th 2013 @ 3:02pm
              Titus said | February 8th 2013 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

              Not sure droppa is a soccer fan Redb. #puttinghastagsattheendofyourcommentiscool

          • Columnist

            February 8th 2013 @ 1:12pm
            David Lord said | February 8th 2013 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

            Is Droppa short for drop-kick?

        • February 8th 2013 @ 12:59pm
          WoobliesFan said | February 8th 2013 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

          You’re out of touch David.

    • February 8th 2013 @ 7:07am
      Roarsome said | February 8th 2013 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      “What we are hearing and reading now is distasteful, grubby, and not acceptable. It’s not the Australian way.” Exactly! Tobacco and Alcohol commercials are far more creative than anything the betting agencies can offer. Bring ’em back I say and tell the betting agencies to take a punt.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

    • February 8th 2013 @ 7:27am
      nickoldschool said | February 8th 2013 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      Unfortunately, “the Australian way” is a concept long gone. The fair go, ‘give it a crack’, no cheating, no doping etc is behind us. As someone said yesterday, “we australians have been naive and arrogant for far too long”. Time to wake up; no aussies arent any better than the others and should not give morale lessons to the rest of the world (in sports, politics, biz etc).

      Thing is, and i agree 100% with David on that, Australia IS sport. Take it out of the equation and Oz wouldnt be Oz. Sport is one of the reasons why ppl move here, stay here and love the life they have in this country.

      • February 8th 2013 @ 9:51am
        Pete said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Hmmm. I assume by “sport” you mean the rugby codes, AFL, national team cricket, occasional major swimming and a few tennis tournaments in January of each year (plus a bit of a pickup in football crowds during the current season of A League) – same old, same old. Why? Because, over the long haul, there is precious little interest in attending other sports events. I specifically exclude racing from the category of sports.

        Now, if you think, “people” move to Australia for any of the above, then, my friend, what you need is a long, relaxing bath, followed by an afternoon nap. When you wake up from it, nickoldschool, you may be surprised to find yourself in the real world.

        • February 8th 2013 @ 10:34am
          Jonesy74 said | February 8th 2013 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          I’m sure the 1st thing boat people do when they resurface is head straight to the SFS for a Titans v Roosters snoozefest.

          • February 8th 2013 @ 11:20am
            Gpc said | February 8th 2013 @ 11:20am | ! Report


        • February 8th 2013 @ 10:55am
          nickoldschool said | February 8th 2013 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          By sport I meant the outdoors, the climate, exercising, parks, life style and also yes ‘sports, playing or watching them. It is obvious than many ppl choose Australia because of economical or political reasons first.

          However, there are many of us who choose to move here ALSO for the lifestyle, outdoors etc. So yes,in this sense, Australia IS sport IMO. If you think we love it here because of the culture, architecture or proximity of other countries well guess what, it’s not the case. The fact Oz is the ‘ lucky country’ is the main factor for most moving here but Oz does have a few other things to offer. No need to be patronising in any case my dear old friend.

        • February 9th 2013 @ 12:31am
          Lorry said | February 9th 2013 @ 12:31am | ! Report


          you are a fool dismissing Sport in Aust.
          Australia doesn’t have much in terms of music or other arts (although it does have some great authors), but it does have the richest sporting landscape on the planet, along with the Republic of Ireland

      • February 8th 2013 @ 4:59pm
        Nick Inatey said | February 8th 2013 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

    • February 8th 2013 @ 8:26am
      oikee said | February 8th 2013 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      The last thing this country wants to do is push all this under ground. Black market stuff.
      Prohibition in America is what happens if we dont allow gambling out in the open, same as smoking and drinking. nd this is when corruption really takes hold.
      We need to fight this, but out in the open, tackle it head on. Banning betting and drinking and even smoking is not going to help anything or anyone. The price of cigerettes now will create a blck market soon enough. Not that i smoke, but i do know the price and it is rediculas, a 100 dollars for 4 packets.

      One last point, and this has been admitted. The war on drugs worldwide cant ever be won. They have admitted this, and it is easy to see why. Huge money involved. We will be forever figthing drug cartels and corruption. If we legilise this, again, we have failed.

    • February 8th 2013 @ 8:27am
      Train Without A Station said | February 8th 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      I’m not 100% sold on these broad sweeping statements regarding drug use. Australian sport is heavily skill based. We really don’t have positions like NFL’s line men where you can just be big and strong and make it. There are too many nuances, both in physical skills and in smarts to be a good player.

      In AFL for example, Gary Abblett isn’t the best player because he can run harder for longer and is stronger than his opposite numbers. He is the best player because he can kick more effectively, knows where the ball is going to be, can read defenses better and due to all of this probably doesn’t have to run as hard or as far as his opposite.

      Beyond injury recovery and isolated cases I don’t see drug use being too effective in Australian sport. Cricket, Rugby League, Rugby Union and AFL aren’t like cycling where if you can work harder than everybody else you can be the best. Some of the best players in fact didn’t have to work as hard as everybody else.

      Match fixing, spot fixing, etc. Well that’s a different story… Australian sport doesn’t pay what other international sports pay, I can see a few lower paid fringe players succumbing to the lure of a quick buck here.

    • February 8th 2013 @ 8:39am
      Fred said | February 8th 2013 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      Completely agree … drug taking is not the Australian way. We pride ourselves on a level playing field for all.
      Any player who engages in the taking of performance enhancing drugs or match fixing should not only be banned from all professional sport but also from attending any events.
      Australians fought hard for a reputation of sportsmanship and we should fight equally hard to regain it.

      • February 8th 2013 @ 9:09am
        Punter said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        During the Olympics some US swimming fans complained of drug cheating by the Chinese swimmer (the medley swimmer) & yes they have a history of it due to her amazing performance. Some other fans said other countries may suspect Michael Phelps & the American fans were stunned that anyone would suspect Phelps, it was not the American way. Well, we all know about Mr Armstrong.
        As sport gets more professional, more & more sportsmen & women are willing to take the risk in America, China, Brazil, Russia & Australia to get that extra edge.

        • February 8th 2013 @ 9:26am
          Fred said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:26am | ! Report

          Yes I remember that furore quite well. Many opinions came out. You could suspect Phelps as he is so much more successful than other swimmers who train ridiculously hats as well.
          The Chinese were looked at because of their significant improvements within small time frames.
          We however must not lay blame on anyone that has not been PROVEN to have done anything wrong. It is unsporting to do so. As Australians we should once again aim to be at the forefront of keeping cheats out of sport. But also at the forefront of making sure the temptation is hidden from them as much as possible.
          Australians can still lay claim to being a country who values sportsmanship, just not one where our athletes all display the same values.

      • February 8th 2013 @ 9:53am
        Pete said | February 8th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        Yeah. I still venerate the Australian cricket team’s reputation for sportsmanship(sic!), especially the fine example set by Shane Warne.

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